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Hotspots brings you the Mintel Trends team’s top observations on product and service launches from around the world. From a digital platform that connects prospective car shoppers to an AR treasure hunt app guiding shoppers to hidden in-store promotions, find out the most innovative global initiatives happening this month.
EV Education – North America
GM has launched EV Live, a digital platform that connects prospective car shoppers with EV specialists and other resources to answer commonly asked questions about EVs.
The website covers topics such as ranges, charging, batteries and other issues relating to EV ownership in a move to promote widespread EV adoption. The platform also serves as a virtual showroom, and highlights the features and accessories available with GM’s electric models. Consumers are able to connect with live EV specialists to ask questions and speak directly to a representative. On the website, visitors can also learn more about the benefits of EVs, with features to help consumers estimate their potential maintenance and fuel savings. Video tutorials also walk consumers through how to use a public charging network and how to install an at-home charging station.
Legacy automakers are pivoting to EVs, with consumers driving demand for more environmentally friendly transportation options. Although sustainability is a key factor in driving EV adoption, consumers are also considering these vehicle models as a way to save costs on maintenance and fuel. GM’s EV Live platform encourages consumers to calculate their projected savings, while also educating them on the general benefits of switching to EVs. This educational platform gives consumers resources to help with the decision-making process and allows them to clarify any questions or misconceptions at their own pace, with the reassurance of having a 24/7 expert at their disposal.
As consumers look to make major changes in their lives to help them live more environmentally friendly lifestyles, brands will need to play a larger role in helping draft environmental education. Mintel’s 2022 Global Consumer Trend Climate Complexity highlights a growing need for brands to connect consumers with resources to help them understand environmental issues and solutions available to them. While governments will continue to play a large role in drafting widespread legislation to encourage sustainable behaviors, it will be up to brands to help clarify the specifics for consumers in order to help them understand their role in building a greener future.
Kimberly Hernandez – Associate Analyst, Mintel Trends, North America
Open: Virtual Hair Salon – China
L’Oréal put five virtual hair salon kiosks in popular Fortnite-inspired game, Peacekeeper Elite, bringing real-life products into the digital world through the game’s influencer, Gilly. The influencer, in her voluminous “fluffy” hairstyle exclusively styled by L’Oréal, would be giving away Gilly’s Limited Edition Styling Spray, and a hair makeover to the avatars of players who interacted with the kiosks.
In a promotional video called Everything is Fluffy on the Island, Gilly unleashed her secret weapon – L’Oréal’s hyaluronic acid for hair care – to win the battle in style. The video was released on Bilibili, attracting widespread discussions on co-branding marketing between games and fashion.
Over 50% of Peacekeeper Elite’s players were aged 25-35 with female players accounting for 40% of its gamers. In just two weeks following its release, the hyaluronic acid haircare series became the number one bestselling shampoo on Tmall and JD.com.
Games are a big part of young consumers’ lives where they make friends and build communities. As the idea of the metaverse continues to take shape, brands are leveraging young people’s eagerness to embrace life in the digital space to test product concepts and find novel ways of engaging new consumers. Games and the digital environment provide brands with a low-risk yet engaging channel where consumers can try on a large variety of new styles, which would be impossible in real life. Consumer data gathered here could help brands to continually improve the product while establishing the brand as a cool “friend” that plays with young people.
Consumers are always looking to disengage from real life to escape the mundane routine. Virtual worlds offer an opportunity to play freely, especially with the progress of technology. Brands will design how they want consumers to interact with them by offering narratives that resonate with consumers’ playful instincts, and which allow them to build connections with others through shared interests and values. As Mintel’s Consumer Trend Flexible Spaces explains, standards are being set and identities are formed in digital worlds, making it necessary for brands to make their first moves to establish themselves in this space.
Victoria Li – Senior Analyst, Mintel Trends, China
Augmented Supermarket Deal Hunt – Indonesia
Pasarina supermarket has launched an AR treasure hunt app guiding shoppers to hidden in-store promotions. A new Pasarina branch of the Supra Boga Lestari supermarket chain in Jakarta is trialing an interactive shopping game combining AI and AR.
Shoppers using the app keep their phone cameras switched on and make their way along the aisles. During their journey, animated characters and creatures appear in augmented form to guide them to discount offers they might otherwise miss. The app will be later rolled out to stores nationwide.
Food shoppers are seeking extra value as living costs rise. They are also looking for innovative ways to access special deals that make grocery buying less stressful. During tough times, supermarkets find that high-demand discount products sell out fast, leaving some customers disappointed. Using a gamified treasure hunt app to alert people to hot deals should provide extra flexibility to discount deals, and refresh value-added product bundles at short notice. This will help customers feel they are enjoying up-to-date shopping benefits mixed with purposeful adventure.
Consumers seeking fun and playfulness in all aspects of life embrace shopping experiences that entertain and add value. Mintel’s Technology Trend Driver explores how brands interact with consumers to create stimulating solutions that transcend the physical and digital worlds. Greater availability and a lower cost of mixed reality and metaverse technologies will enable brands to tailor digital activations and promotions to meet real-time needs. Consumers will embrace participative interactions and challenges that bring escapism and incentivization to their daily or weekly shopping trips.
Joey Khong– Analyst, Mintel Trends, Southeast Asia
Portable Dishwasher – Brazil
Macco has developed a portable dishwasher designed for smaller families. Perfect for apartments, small families or those living by themselves, the dishwasher features a built-in water pump. In addition to being compact, the device saves both water and energy and requires no additional installation.
Large cities are investing in building smaller homes as a solution to the challenge posed by limited urban space. People are choosing to downsize the spaces they live in, simplifying their lifestyles and living with less. Many are embracing the tiny house lifestyle as a reflection of their new flexible routines, and small-space living can be more efficient for singles and young adult consumers willing to blur the boundaries between their professional and personal lives. We are now seeing home appliance brands incorporate this minimalist and miniaturized living trend into their portfolios by offering portable, smaller and multifunctional products.
According to Mintel’s Trend Driver Surroundings, rapid urbanization will continue to shrink the amount of space that consumers have available to them in their homes, offices and retail spaces. As the effects of the pandemic subside, many consumers who left crowded urban centers will come back. At the same time, those who chose to stay in big cities now have more flexible lifestyles, meaning that many of them work remotely and expect brands to deliver innovative solutions to help them use their spaces more efficiently, in line with Mintel’s 2022 Global Consumer Trend Flexible Spaces. Household brands must offer more compact smart devices that cater to the new lifestyles of consumers. Brands can offer portable washing machines that don’t need installation or compact multifunctional products such as a microwave that doubles as an air fryer, for instance. Keep in mind that consumers want to recharge from their hectic lives, and they are willing to invest in things to make their living spaces more practical and easier to clean.
Beatriz Monteiro – Senior Analyst, Mintel Trend, Europe
Circular Fashion: Threat or Opportunity? – France
Hermès and LVMH have decided to shun the second-hand luxury market, whereas other luxury brands are betting on the future of circular fashion.
European luxury brands are approaching the second-hand luxury market in different ways. Chanel, Hermès and the brands owned by LVMH have no interest in offering their products on resale websites. Indeed, these brands do not sell their high-end leather goods online at all – consumers can only purchase a Chanel 11.12 or Hermès Birkin handbag in-store. According to Reuters, Hermès’ CEO Axel Dumas has said that selling its products on second-hand platforms “would be to the detriment of our regular client who comes to the store.” French luxury group Kering, however, has taken the opposite approach. The company, which owns brands such as Balenciaga, Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent, surprised the fashion industry in 2021, when it announced an investment in online luxury reseller Vestiaire Collective. And in 2020, Gucci established a partnership with US-based luxury resale marketplace The RealReal.
Circular fashion’s recent popularity has been driven by three key consumer motivators: to get luxury goods at more affordable prices, to score hard-to-find items, and to reduce waste and protect the environment. From a demographic perspective, the trend is being driven by Millennials: they purchase far more second-hand goods than either older or younger generations. Millennials are more tech-savvy and eco-conscious than Baby Boomers, but are also more nostalgic and have more disposable income than Generation Z. The brands that are actively engaging with the second-hand market are trying to appeal to younger consumers, while the brands that eschew the resale market are more concerned with controlling their distribution and maintaining their aura of exclusivity.
The way demographic trends are evolving, the smart money is on circular fashion. As the more eco-conscious Generation Z acquire more disposable income, they will embrace circular fashion as an alternative to fast fashion. Giving used items a new lease of life will appeal to them as a more sustainable way to shop. Responding to this consumer need, however, will necessitate a shift in the mindset of luxury brands: they will have to recognize the fact that if a luxury item can be worn, authenticated and resold, it is proof of its high quality and durability, not a threat to its exclusivity.
Daniel Takacs – Analyst, Mintel Trend, Europe