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

Tracking Muscle Intensity, US

In the US, a team of experts at the University of California San Diego have developed a prototype wearable patch that tracks how hard the user is exercising based on how much lactate their body is producing. Sensors on the patch can be synced to a smartphone or computer so data can be sent directly to a physician for immediate analysis.

As the internet continues to serve as an education platform for learning, consumers’ knowledge about health issues continues to increase. As a result, consumers want to play an active role in improving their health. Brands are identifying opportunities to move into this space and are delivering solutions via wearable technologies. As brands create more opportunities for consumers to increasingly track and monitor their health, they’ll also gain access to new forms of consumer insight and understanding.”

Iliana Alvarenga – Trends Analyst, North America

 Tracking muscle intensity


Lush Expansion, UK

Lush has announced that it will be hosting free fitness classes as well as beauty sessions in its Oxford Street store. It has partnered with Psycle and HulaFit to offer a range of workouts including hula-hooping.

Brick-and-mortar retailers are stepping up their game and integrating additional services into their offering in order to attract customers. Lush’s new venture is designed to encourage people to view its Oxford Street store as a destination where they can spend time, rather than just make a purchase and leave straight away. At the same time, this novel venue for fitness may appeal to young people who feel like exercise is a chore, rather than something to be enjoyed.”

Catherine Cottney – Manager of Trends, Europe



Pinterest Button, Brazil

In Brazil, furniture chain Tok&Stok has brought a physical Pinterest button into its outlets. The “Pin it” button, which was created by agency DM9DDB for shoppers to press, connects via Bluetooth to the customer’s Pin List app on their mobile.

“As per Mintel report The Time-Pressed Consumer Brazil 2015, half of consumers already use or are interested in using apps that indicate the location and stock levels of products in stores. Brands in Brazil will do well to explore new concepts which can enhance the shopping experience for consumers, saving them time when searching for goods and the best offers.”

Graciana Mendez – Trends Analyst, Latin America



Exotic Fashion Shock, Thailand

Consumers who walk into ‘The Leather Work’, a pop-up shop in Bangkok, are being confronted with the truth about the suffering that lies behind every fashion accessory made from exotic skins. The Leather Work—conceptualized and created by Ogilvy & Mather Advertising Bangkok—has shocked consumers looking for leather goods by presenting them with normal-looking products, but when potential buyers examine the items more closely, they were confronted with a snake or crocodile’s still-beating heart or the contracting and expanding intestines of an alligator. Meanwhile, shoppers who try on shoes or gloves soon realize that they have been smeared with fake blood. The campaign video reads: “For the exotic skins industry, cruelty is a daily business.”

“Consumers have become extremely ethical when purchasing and consuming products and services, and as such, brands and businesses across different sectors could look to provide information regarding how animals are treated in the manufacturing process and tap into this awareness to build trust and connection.”

Delon Wang – Manager of Trends, Asia Pacific



The Last Emoji, US

Sprint’s “The Last Emoji” campaign uses a yellow emoji sculpture as a statement against texting while driving in Miami. The Last Emoji was built for Sprint by ad agency Alma; Miami was chosen as the location because Florida is one of the few remaining states in the US that does not prohibit texting while driving as a primary offense. Passers-by are invited to take a selfie with “The Last Emoji” and to share it online with the hashtag #SprintDriveSafe.

“Sprint’s campaign makes use of visual communication, much like we’ve seen other brands in the automotive space do to pique consumer attention in new ways. Brands across industries can leverage the power of image-based communication to get a message across more quickly or in order to convey more emotion than words alone can carry.”

Carli Gernot – Manager of Trends, North America



Contactless Charity, UK

International charity Mary’s Meals is piloting contactless payment-enabled charity boxes. The charity’s contactless boxes allow people to donate 30p with just a tap of their contactless card. The boxes are being placed in cafés around England, and it is hoped the ease and relatively small donation size will make people want to donate.

Contactless and digital payment channels make it easy for people to pay for almost anything with a simple tap of a screen or swipe of a card. Brands should be recognising the opportunities that exist to create impulse buying opportunities for their customers—if paying is so easy, then brands should be taking advantage of this and offering consumers products and services in places and ways that would otherwise not be possible without digital payment solutions.”

Alex Strang – Trends Analyst, Europe