Your daily mix of foresight & futures

You can scour the Internet in search of the latest consumer trends and cultural shifts, or you can let us do it for you. T&T provides a daily snapshot of the world’s most intriguing happenings and what they mean for the marketplace tomorrow.


For those of you who find carrying around and safeguarding your credit and debit cards a hassle, a high-tech, easier-to-use alternative is at hand. Apple has extended its mobile wallet service, Apple Pay, to the U.K., making it the first country outside the U.S. to get the platform. By adding your payment card details to Apple’s iAd platform, you can make payments in restaurants, on the high street and via online apps and adverts too. According to Kantar WorldPanel, there are currently 2.9 million devices compatible with Apple Pay in use in the U.K., which suggests that this service could be really popular. However, before iPhone 5 users get too excited, only those aged 13 and above and who own the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus or Apple Watch can make contactless payments.


Source: BBC




Would you take a selfie to make a purchase? MasterCard is testing this question with 500 cardholders who will verify payments with selfies.

The company is making two assumptions for selfie payments to succeed. Firstly, Pew’s survey highlights the selfie’s varying penetration across generations. Although 55% of Millennials have shared selfies on social media, only 24% of Gen Xers and even fewer Baby Boomers (9%) have done so. If MasterCard is courting only Millennials, the system has a better chance of succeeding than if the entire population is targeted. Secondly, privacy concerns might be problematic. Will consumers readily release facial data? Even the most eager selfie-takers are cautious about sharing personal data. In a survey by USC’s Center for the Digital Future, only 25% of Millennials said they would be OK with trading some personal information in exchange for more relevant advertising (19% of Gen-Xers). Millennials, often assumed to be much more liberal with their personal information, value their privacy as much as older generations do.

These assumptions have led MasterCard to tread carefully, although the stakes are not too high. If their pilot succeeds, MasterCard will pioneer a new payment format. If it fails, MasterCard will have other methods available, including an entire repertoire of existing biometrics like fingerprints, irises, and voices.

Sources: Pew Research Center, Business Insider, ACLU.org


beautyfoods2 beautyfoods3

“Bishoku” (beauty foods) is gaining popularity in Japanese cafés and restaurants. Bishoku has ingredients that are said to enhance beauty. Partnering with best-selling beauty magazine Biteki, Japanese confectionery company Kabaya has launched a special line of bishoku candy snacks. Kabaya’s “Get Beautiful” campaign positions these candies as good for women’s health and beauty—particularly the skin. It claims the gummies are a good source of fiber and iron, as well as collagen and hyaluronic acid, two widely used beauty supplements.

Following the beauty food trend, “athlete foods” are also becoming popular. Café 1406 in downtown Tokyo serves healthy food designed by an in-house “athlete food-meister.” The menu consists of high protein, natural and non-processed foods that help maintain lean muscle mass and provide energy for sports activities. The café also arranges social sports and athletic events for regulars to attend.



Co-housing, also known as communal living, is a trend gaining traction worldwide thanks to the sharing economy—a concept more and more people are becoming comfortable with, thanks to its utilitarian benefits.

There are several practical advantages, including the ability to own a house with other families (that perhaps you could not have afforded alone), where you have your own space and share living areas. It also provides access to a wider resource pool where duties such as cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping and even child-care are divided and shared.

Emotionally, it provides a reliable network for the cohabitants, a perfect antidote to the malaise of solitude brought on by the rise of single-person households. As we see more people postponing or abstaining from marriage, higher divorce rates and an aging population burdened by living alone, co-housing offers a solution.

There are also environmental benefits. One of the main drawbacks of leading a sustainable life is the financial cost, but what if an entire community is footing the bill? This is one of the goals behind environmental co-housing models, which are becoming a sound investment for developers, given the appeal of communal living values.

Because it is a simple solution for so many complex problems, co-housing is a trend we will probably see grow in the future.

Sources: New York Magazine, The Guardian



What was once displayed only in art museums is now out in public for all to enjoy. And what was once considered vandalism is now street art. Public art is popping up everywhere and is being embraced and enjoyed by the masses. In Detroit, the Museum of Contemporary Art has started a Kickstarter campaign (now fully funded) to transform the façade of the building into a large mural, adding color to the urban landscape via a major public art project. In Brooklyn, The Bushwick Collective has decorated the streets with murals by international artists who have traveled across the globe to display their art. The Collective now conducts tours of their art, demonstrating just how popular and wanted public art is.



The startup GiveDirectly is challenging the traditional approach of development aid by giving direct cash payments to the poor in Kenya and Uganda. They are innovatively reshaping the ways people typically donate to charity. While cash transfers are not a novel solution and are increasingly being adopted by aid organizations, GiveDirectly’s framework stands out for five key reasons:

1. First non-profit to focus solely on cash transfers
Rather than distributing small amounts of cash evenly over a particular time period, GiveDirectly hands out no-strings, large, one-time sums. The aim is to transfer investable wealth and generate long-term benefits.

2. Data and accountability drive everything
The focus is on an evidence-based approach to development aid with accountability at its core. Donors can track how each cent of their money is being used and can see concrete results by how the life of the recipient is improving. Charities traditionally cite “service costs” when breaking down how revenue is spent, but there is no requirement that they itemize these costs (and most do not), allowing for “necessary” spending to be explained away ambiguously. GiveDirectly wants to set a new standard for accountability, and as part of this, has calculated how much of a donated dollar ends up in the hands of a poor person; for GiveDirectly, it is about 80 cents (independently verified).

3. It reworks the traditional communications approach of “charity appeals to the public,” creating a new model which strives for a balance between the emotional and the rational
Rather than plaster its website with emotionally charged images of the poor, GiveDirectly focuses on numbers, transparently tracking whether the organization is meeting its performance goals. They are trying to strike the right balance between the emotional and the rational when discussing social issues and mobilizing public support—a problem many charities have struggled with.

4. Direct cash payments challenge common preconceptions about the poor
Common assumptions about giving cash to the poor are that they will simply spend the money on alcohol and drugs and that they will be incapable of wisely managing their assets. Results have shown that, rather than frittering away the money on vices, the poor are spending it on items that they need in order to create a better life for themselves. Each person has unique needs that they intimately understand and the cash transfers allow for personalized spending.

5. Cash payments provide a new standard against which traditional development aid projects can be measured
Rather than evaluating projects by comparing their impact to doing nothing at all (as we currently do), now we can measure the value of traditional aid against what would happen if we gave money directly to the poor.

Cash payments are not intended to be the sole solution to poverty or to fully replace other forms of development aid. However, GiveDirectly’s model does offer an innovative approach to development aid—one that places decision-making in the hands of the poor, puts accountability at the core of international giving, and challenges how we can get the best results for our investment.

Sources: Huffington PostGiveDirectly, Give Well



When it comes to digital retailing, all eyes are on China. C2C giant Taobao and B2C leaders Tmall and Jingdong are processing millions of transactions daily. Besides electronics, apparel and other consumer goods categories commonly seen on e-commerce channels, another industry is benefiting: alcohol. In 2013, wine registered 100% growth on the Tmall platform, and Chinese spirit Baijiu witnessed 120% growth.

Chinese consumers are curious about and thirsty for foreign spirits, wine, and beer. However, many of them don’t know how to enjoy these drinks properly. For example, you might see people drinking multiple shots of Johnnie Walker Blue Label the way they traditionally drink their Baijiu (to excess), or perhaps mixing a fine Bordeaux wine with cola. To narrow the gap between growing interest and lack of knowledge among Chinese drinkers, foreign liquor companies are attaching greater importance to internet retailing as a channel to educate Chinese consumers on how to better enjoy their products. For example, by pairing vivid pictures with detailed product descriptions, brands can demonstrate their brewing processes or the creation of different cocktails.

Sources: EuromonitorNielsen


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