Hotspots brings you the Mintel Trend team’s top observations on product and service launches from around the world.

MicroChippy, UK

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Created by the Dog’s Trust in a bid to raise awareness about changing legislation surrounding microchipping, London’s MicroChippy diner has been designed to appeal to both dogs and their owners. Open on Valentine’s weekend, the 1950s themed pop-up had a human menu provided by Bubbledogs, with a dog friendly hotdog available for any four-legged friends.

The connection that owners feel for their pets is growing stronger, with pets now regarded as an integral part of the family unit. MicroChippy’s focus is equally directed at creating an enjoyable experience for both humans and dogs, setting it apart from restaurants that merely tolerate dogs and acting as a creative way to engage and inform dog owners about legislative changes. Foodservice brands could follow this example and introduce more integrated dining experiences for people and their pets.”

Catherine Cottney – Manager of Trends, Europe

Pay to Fit, China

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Fashion lovers in Chengdu are storming “Just Fitting Room,” a newly opened retail space that charges customers every time they enter the store. The “fitting room” is a showroom for merchandise from key brands available on Taobao and Tmall. Customers can try on any of the items and purchase them right away, or alternatively scan the attached QR code to place their orders and have them delivered free of charge the next day. The space also offers impeccable customer service and fashion advice as consultants are on-hand to advise customers on how to mix and match their outfits.

“Foreign and domestic brands in China have been opening stores to deliver the experience that consumers crave but are lacking in online shopping. Over half of consumers in China say that physical stores offer high-quality products while less than one in five feel the same for online stores. For online retailers to be profitable, they need to focus both on better quality products and services and how to deliver these in a truly integrated experience that amalgamates the best of online and offline shopping.”

Philix Liu – Trends Analyst, Asia Pacific

Buy Me Once, US

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In the US, BuyMeOnce focuses on reducing wasted materials by finding and promoting products that were made to last. The company’s website explains its mission: to make finding built-to-last products easy, to help people take care of things they own, and to encourage people to buy just a few great things rather than lots of cheaper stuff.

BuyMeOnce serves as a hub for consumers who are looking to learn about how to extend the life of products and invest their time wisely. As people begin to reject the throwaway culture in certain ways, more businesses will have the chance to step up and provide quality, long-lasting items to fill the needs of those looking for more.”

Carli Gernot – Manager of Trends, North America

Virtual Love Locks, Brazil, France

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GOL Airlines is celebrating its two years of partnership with Air France with a digital platform where sweethearts can lock a digital padlock to Paris’ iconic Pont des Arts.

“When it comes to showing love and affection, digital platforms are certainly helping people to say it out loud to the online world. Mobile platforms and technology devices can be great tools to make things more affordable and attainable for consumers. Let’s face it, not everyone can afford a trip to Paris—not to mention that it has become impossible for people to celebrate their love for someone by tying a love lock on to the Pont des Arts. Brands and businesses which capitalize on virtual technologies have a very significant opportunity: to provide consumers with world class experiences at an affordable price.”

Graciana Mendez – Trends Analyst, Latin America

Khora VR, Denmark

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The World’s first virtual reality store has now swung open its doors in Denmark, offering customers a menu of VR experiences including ‘Enter a Van Gogh Painting’, ‘Visit Mars’ and ‘Shoot Zombies’. Customers can rent out the equipment for a session, as well as having the opportunity to buy their own.

Denmark is one of the most well-connected countries in Europe and such a technologically advanced population could jump at the chance to experience what Khora has to offer them. Alternative reality technologies give brands a whole new world of opportunity. Brands can use the tech to create immersive experiences, showcase their products and offerings in ideal scenarios and environments as well as create new and exciting ways to connect with their customers.”

Alex Strang – Trends Analyst, Europe

MealPass, US

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MealPass is a program available in Miami and Boston that allows consumers to get lunch every weekday from a participating restaurant for $99 a month. Each day, users will be able to choose what they would like for lunch from its list of over 50 highly curated restaurants. They will then be able to pick up their food, as their MealPass will allow them to skip the line and cover the cost of their lunch.

Time is money when it comes to dining out and consumers agree – approaching two thirds of US diners say the ability to get in and out quickly is a factor when deciding which restaurant for dining out. The MealPass offering is unique because it focuses on saving consumers time as well as offering flexible dining options. Such a model will likely attract the weekday worker who is focused on getting his or her lunch as quickly as possible.”

Jamie Barrar – Trends Analyst, North America

Bike Trikes for Toddlers, Australia

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A recent Christmas campaign by Harley-Davidson in Australia saw the company give away a uniquely customised Harley kids tricycle as an expression of the brand’s core values of youth, rebellion and freedom. The campaign sought to identify the “most deserving kid in Australia” and focused its search mostly through social media. The associated video, which depicts Santa’s elves working on something special for kids on “the naughty list,” has had over 1 million views on Facebook.

Innovative social media-led campaigns such as Harley-Davidson’s help raise the brand’s profile and affinity with a new upcoming consumer segment. In particular, customisation resonates with consumers, especially so if brands invite them into the process and allow them to express their unique identities and personalities.”

Delon Wang – Manager of Trends, Asia Pacific

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