For the latest in consumer and industry news, top trends and market perspectives, stay tuned to Mintel News featuring commentary from Mintel's team of global category analysts.

Hotspots brings you the Mintel Trends team’s top observations on product and service launches from around the world. From apps that quickly coordinate medical appointments for those that might have COVID-19 symptoms to a live PSA spotlighting domestic abuse, check out the most innovative global initiatives happening this month.

COVID-19: One app for all – Brazil

The Brazilian Health Ministry launched an app that delivers information and treatment for COVID-19-related issues. The app offers guidance and redirects users to medical appointments if symptoms match those of COVID-19. The technology is being shared with Argentina, Ecuador and Panama. Other than offering information on prevention and what to do in suspected cases or infection, a geolocalized feature in the app redirects the user to the closest healthcare station, in order to get specialized treatment while limiting a patient’s time on the streets.

In times of uncertainty, all trustworthy guidance is helpful, but when it comes to health, further actions are needed in order to see results. As people will naturally search for specialized advice on their symptoms, geolocation and direct guidance on where to go is a necessary action to offer proper care while taking care to limit patients’ outdoor contamination time. The push to make this technology accessible across Latin America helps save money and time.

Vanessa Rondine – Trends Analyst, Latin America

Temporary help – China

Suning Logistics has introduced a talent-sharing plan to recruit people whose jobs are temporarily affected by the COVID-19 crisis. Successful applicants will fill roles in sorting and packing at the company’s warehouses, as well as driving and delivering parcels in the community, among other tasks. Based on their locations and interest, this additional manpower will be deployed to the company’s 46 logistical centers and 350 parcel delivery stations across the country. Applicants will go through an online interview, skills training and medical check-up before starting work. As this is only a temporary arrangement, the workers are free to return to their original jobs once the situation returns to normal.

The coronavirus emergency has caused a major slowdown in many industries. Ecommerce businesses and fresh food delivery retailers require additional manpower to fulfill the surge in orders as the majority of Chinese consumers stay at home. Other ecommerce players including Alibaba and JD.com have also offered temporary placements for idle staff from affected industries to ease the impact of the crisis on their livelihoods. This gesture of goodwill is yet another of many instances when companies have come forward to render assistance in different ways during the outbreak.

Joyce Lam – Trends Analyst, Asia Pacific

Amazon Shares – US

Amazon has plans to start selling its cashless tech to other retailers. Amazon’s Just Walk Out technology allows shoppers to enter with a credit card, grab what they need and walk out without needing an app or Amazon account. Amazon notes that even with this technology, store associates are still needed in order to answer questions, stock store shelves and check IDs for alcohol purchases.

Despite the seamless nature of this technology, adoption of this model won’t necessarily be as seamless. There are still select cities that ban cashless retail and the Amazon retail locations that leverage this technology are primarily secondary store options that serve the occasional or on-the-go purchase need. While it’s one thing for Amazon to offer this form of technology as a convenience for consumers, different obstacles emerge for major retailers that serve a wide range of people.

Diana Kelter – Senior Trends Analyst, US

Fight the good fight – Thailand

Dentsu Thailand has turned a recent boxing event in Thailand into a live PSA about domestic violence. Fans who had paid to watch a series of pro boxing matches were stunned when one bout turned out to be a husband savagely attacking his wife in the ring. In reality, the husband and wife were performers, and the fight was staged on behalf of the Women and Men Progressive Movement Foundation. The campaign, titled ‘The Daily Fight’, aimed to put out the message that domestic violence is just as unacceptable at home as it is in public.

As in many Asian countries, domestic violence in Thailand is viewed as a private issue or an internal family affair. Societal attitudes such as victim-blaming and refraining from speaking about private issues are still common, and as a result, the magnitude of the domestic violence problem in Thailand is often underestimated. ‘The Daily Fight’ campaign is significant because it addresses the importance of collectively overcoming the apathy shown towards domestic violence and its victims.

Melanie Nambiar – Trends Analyst, Southeast Asia

The future of generations – Norway

A new report from the World Health Organization, UNICEF and The Lancet, found Norway to be most prepared in ensuring a healthy planet for children, while acknowledging all countries globally are failing to properly ensure children’s health and future safety. The report finds children’s health and future to be under threat globally from ecological degradation, climate change and exploitative marketing practices. Data from 180 countries on survival, wellbeing, health education, nutrition and sustainability, greenhouse gas emissions and income gaps were also factored in. The report also highlights predatory commercial practices and links children’s exposure to fast food and sugary drinks marketing to rapid increases in childhood obesity.

Global school strikes and the ‘Fridays for Future’ movement show how children and young people are increasingly aware that their futures will be greatly impacted by climate change. Young people are experiencing strong environmental anxiety, and through these movements they are demanding that adults and companies take more responsibility in protecting them. Older consumers and brands alike are still coming to terms with what this means for them and considering how they can make a difference.

Liisa Kontas – Nordic Trends Analyst, EMEA