News 17.07.2023

Need to Know

LS:N Global’s annual Innovation Debrief webinar, Prada invests in China’s women’s national football team and handbag usage is in freefall among young American women.

Join us for our Innovation Debrief 2023–2024 webinar

Global – At LS:N Global, we track the innovators, change-makers and boundary-pushers who have been developing unique products and services that not only stand out due to their out-of-the-box thinking but often work to produce long-lasting sociocultural and environmental impact. Every year our foresight analysts enjoy sifting through the incredible trailblazers, compiling 50 key standout campaigns, brands and ideas into our annual Innovation Debrief report.

Our 2023–2024 report covers a broad range of topics spanning a range of industries. From robotic farmers and lab-grown chicken to DIY smartphones and intergalactic champagne, we look at those pioneers who push the limits of human creativity while remaining considerate about the work we must complete to protect our planet and communities.

Please join our foresight analyst Simar Deol and creative foresight analyst Gabriela Białkowska on Tuesday 18 July for a free webinar through Zoom from 2:00pm to 2:40pm, when they will run through the key highlights from the report and answer your questions. You can sign up here.

Prada joins China’s women’s national football team as official partner

China – To celebrate the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, Italian fashion house Prada has joined forces with China’s women’s national football team as an official partner. Away from the pitch, the luxury brand will dress all 23 players and their representatives during their travel and formal event appearances.

The football team, also known as the Steel Roses, is getting more and more popular in mainland China and even won the 2022 AFC Women’s Asian Cup against South Korea. On Weibo, the announcement was praised as the hashtag 'This time, Prada picked the right person' topped the Hot Search List with over 470m views. Previously, several Chinese Prada ambassadors went viral after being embroiled in controversies. Singer Cai Xukun faced accusations of coercing a fan into having an abortion after a one-night stand while actors Ke Zhendong, Zheng Shuang and Li Yifeng all left the entertainment industry due to controversies.

It’s not the first time that Prada has endorsed Chinese athletes as the brand previously appointed basketball player Yang Shuyu and Olympian and table tennis player Ma Long as ambassadors. In State of Luxury: Post-lockdown China, we previously analysed how, given that Chinese shoppers take pride in seeing brands embracing national symbols of excellence, luxury businesses turn to Guochao (national trend) to increase their credibility locally.

Prada, China

Strategic opportunity

All brands eyeing Chinese consumers should consider how to channel Guochao with an authentic vision and find the right partners who embody a sense of national pride

Stat: Handbag usage is in freefall among young American women

Stone & Mason, UK Stone & Mason, UK

US – New data suggests that young women prefer being hands-free when they are out and about, a generational shift threatening to cause a slowdown in the handbag market.

Consumer behaviour analytics company Circana has explored the strengths and pain points of the market in new research, which uncovered growing generational differences. Among younger consumers, sales of bags have dropped by 2% in the past year, compared with a 7% rise among older shoppers in the same period. Data suggests that not only do American 18–34-year-old women purchase fewer bags, six in 10 do not carry handbags outside of school or work.

What can the sector learn from this? Despite a cooldown, certain styles are on the rise within this group – think totes (+11%), belt bags (+56%) and lifestyle backpacks (+7%). Earlier this year, a belt bag from Japanese high street brand Uniqlo even made its way to the Lyst Index, a ranking usually dominated by high fashion luxury products. The it-bag is certainly not dead, but manufacturers need to future-proof their strategies and make space for the very functional and fashionable styles that appeal most to Generation Z.

Strategic opportunity

Targeting Gen Z doesn’t have to entail neglecting your main consumer base. Audit your consumers’ tastes, preferences and lifestyle to develop lines with cross-generational appeal

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