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2019 highlights: The year in innovation news

2019 was a big year for innovation and the Current Daily has been tracking it all throughout – from the rise of 5G-enabled experiences to the continued push towards a circular economy. 

Here, we highlight some of the most interesting stories from the year, outlining why they are an important indication of where the industry is moving in 2020 and beyond.

5G will drive 100m people to shop in AR

Augmented reality took center stage this year as its user-friendly features meant a growing number of brands – and social media platforms like Instagram – started adopting it as a core engagement strategy.

In April, a Gartner report highlighted that 100 million people will shop in AR once high-speed 5G mobile services roll out more extensively. This means the experience is going to be more seamless than ever, giving it better real-time rendering, shorter download times and reduced latency. Retailers seem to be on board, as 46% of them plan to deploy either AR or VR. Check out our piece exploring what other benefits 5G will bring retail.

Fashion brands have only met 21% of their circularity targets for 2020

If there’s one thing to be sure, there’s no escaping the growing momentum around shifting to more sustainable practices as an industry. But is there really progress being made? In July, the Global Fashion Agenda (GFA) launched its second yearly assessment of fashion brands and retailers to find that only reached 45 (21%) of the 213 targets the industry has set for 2020 will be met. 

This means the 90 signatories of the GFA’s 2020 Circular Fashion System Commitment, which includes fashion companies like adidas, PVH Group and Inditex, will have to hurry if they want to achieve more in the next year. We talked a lot about the need for action in this space when a further collaborative group was announced: the G7 Fashion Pact. If you ask us, it’s time to say enough to the pledges, rather give us some tangible outputs.

H&M to trial clothing rental for the first time

Talking of sustainability, one are where we have seen a lot of action and experimentation this year is in new business models. Rental is making serious strides at all ends of the market, but perhaps most interestingly within fast fashion just recently as the H&M Group announced it will trial clothing rental at one of its H&M Stockholm stores. Members of its customer loyalty program can now rent selected party dresses and skirts from its 2012-2019 Conscious Exclusive collections.

Recently, its brand COS also launched a pilot where it is renting out clothes through Chinese subscription rental platform YCloset, which customers can access through a monthly flat rate. We also published a deep-dive into the different opportunities we see for the industry in rental, here.

Allbirds CEO calls out Amazon product copying

In November, Allbirds’ co-founder and CEO, Joey Zwilinger, wrote an open letter to Amazon’s Jeff Bezos after discovering the e-commerce platform was producing its own wool sneakers similar to the brand’s most popular style.

Instead of going the usual lawsuit route, the founder took this as an opportunity to highlight his brand’s sustainability mission. In the letter, Zwilinger highlights that Allbirds’ sustainable philosophy is open source, and it has thus far helped over 100 brands who were interested in implementing its renewable materials into their products, suggesting Amazon might like to do the same. It was a bold move but one that sparked a conversation around the role of collaboration once more, and its critical place in true innovation.

Gen Z loves TikTok. Can fashion brands learn to love it too?

Gen Z quickly adopted Chinese social media platform TikTok as their app du jour this year for its bite-sized video content. Currently, 66% of the platform’s 500 million global users are under 30, according to data analytics firm, Business of Apps.

Brands have started to follow suit, tapping the app to drive engagement and ultimately sales. Content varies from crowdsourced, as in a recent Burberry campaign that saw users challenged to create the brand’s logo with their fingers, through to more refined, such as in a snippet of an interview with singer Shawn Mendes for Calvin Klein. We explored various other brands setting TikTok precedent, here.

Lush abandons social media

While TikTok has been taking off, elsewhere social media is slowing for some. Vegan cosmetics brand, Lush, for instance decided to shut down all of its activity in the UK as it became “tired of fighting with algorithms” or paying to appear on news feeds. Instead, it suggested a hashtag where fans would still be able to speak to the brand.

Lush’s bold move speaks to fight playing out for anything still resembling organic reach. As consumers become jaded over being ‘sold to’, brands are having to find novel ways to reach them, beyond the influencer route. One other area we’re tracking here is those owning their own conversation channels, as with both Glossier and H&M of late.

Coty acquires majority stake in Kylie Jenner’s beauty business

2019 was the year of major acquisitions in both beauty and fashion. While LVMH recently announced it was snapping up Tiffany & Co for $16bn, other names included Farfetch buying New Guards Group, which operates streetwear favorite Off White for $675m; Shiseido acquiring cult skincare brand Drunk Elephant for $845m; and more recently, Coty acquiring a majority stake in Kylie Jenner’s beauty business, Kylie Cosmetics, for $600m. 

The latter served as particular confirmation of how brands build and grow in this day and age. Jenner, who was 18 when she started a single ‘lip kit’ line, used Instagram to form a direct conversation with her audience. In 2019, this seems like an obvious strategy, but the reality star’s foresight to do so in 2015 has undoubtedly been her recipe for success.

How luxury fashion learned to love the blockchain

Amid growing concerns over the proliferation of counterfeit goods, luxury brands also began to embrace blockchain as an important authentication tool this year. 

Earlier this year, we heard about how LVMH launched its own platform, Aura, which is currently being piloted with some of the brands in its portfolio and will further expand in the future. Kering and Richemont meanwhile are said to be exploring this too, while De Beers is using it to trace its diamonds. Once matured, the technology will undoubtedly make its way into the hands of the consumer, who will be able to better understand where their possessions are coming from. We also tracked some of the other innovations in the transparency space; an area that continues to heat up.

Automation in retail: an executive overview for getting ready

Automation was another big tech focus this year, particularly for its potential impact on retail, from supply chain management to last mile delivery. This shift is putting pressure on retailers to rethink their operating models, distribution centres and headquarters, with McKinsey warning that brands that fail to implement it into their strategy risk falling behind. 

Automation is something we’ve long been talking about for the sake of efficiency, but there also comes a significant ethics conversation to be had here, which the industry is exploring. We agree, now is the time.

What Fortnite could mean for fashion

The global gaming market is expected to reach $180bn by 2021, and fashion brands are realizing the valuable potential in this. Free-to-play video game Fortnite has grown into a multi-million dollar business by selling clothing to image-conscious gamers, for instance. This monetization of player aesthetics, more commonly known as ‘skins’, has opened the door for retailers to cash in on the virtual world. 

Going forward, we expect more brands to invest in digital garments or utilize gaming to drive product discovery. We accordingly explored how gamification is being used in the shopping journey by brands like Kenzo and Nike to both increase engagement and build brand loyalty.

How are you thinking about innovation? The Current Global is a transformation consultancy driving growth within fashion, luxury and retail. Our mission is to solve challenges and facilitate change. We are thinkers and builders delivering innovative solutions and experiences. Get in touch to learn more.

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LVMH’s $16bn Tiffany&Co deal, Coty’s Kylie Cosmetics takeover, H&M’s size-free denim

A round-up of everything you might have missed in relevant fashion, retail and tech industry news over the past week.

Top Stories
  • LVMH confirms deal to acquire Tiffany&Co for $16.2 billion (CNBC)
  • Coty acquires majority stake in Kylie Jenner’s beauty business for $600million (Retail Dive)
  • H&M’s Weekday Denim to sell ‘size-free’ jeans in 2020 (WWD)
  • The State of Fashion 2020 report (BoF)
Technology
  • Adidas AR activation drops shoppers into a trash-filled virtual ocean (Mobile Marketer)
  • 4 ways to address gender bias in AI (Harvard Business Review)
  • Chipotle rolls out Alexa voice ordering (Mobile Marketer)
  • Tesla’s new Cybertruck smashed during demo (BBC)
  • JC Penney rings in holiday proposal season with AR ad driving virtual try-ons (Retail Dive)
  • Amazon launches a Dash Smart Shelf that automatically restocks supplies (TechCrunch)
  • 3D configurators aren’t a gimmick – they’re the future of shopping (The Next Web)
Sustainability & Purpose
  • New senate bill proposes animal-testing ban for cosmetics (WWD)
  • Sainsbury’s opens ‘giving store’ to collect food and gift donations (Campaign)
  • Etihad, Boeing announce first-of-its-kind eco-friendly plane (Khaleej Times)
  • Gucci boos Marco Bizzarri urges CEOs to fight climate change (Retail Gazette)
  • Everlane has eliminated 75% of virgin plastics from its supply chain (Vogue Business)
  • Retailers take a stance on ‘dirty viscose’ (Drapers)
  • Air Co launches as ‘worlds first carbon-negative vodka’ (Dezeen)
  • Conde Nast to rethink plastic packaging (WWD)
  • Boots scraps plastic pharmacy bags for compostable bags (Retail Gazette)
Retail & Commerce
  • Patagonia opens first Worn Wear store (Retail Dive)
  • Cartier unveils digital platform: Cartier Care (WWD)
  • Mulberry to open new store concept at Victoria Leeds (Fashion United)
  • Amazon opens four-day Black Friday pop-up (Campaign)
  • Collagerie is a new online shopping platform that will take the confusion out of what to buy (Vogue)
  • Posti to open a new parcel centre, with fitting rooms, for online shoppers (Helsinki Times)
  • Whistles collaborates with Goldfinger Factory for sustainable Christmas window (The Industry)
Business
  • Estée Lauder companies to acquire k-beauty company Dr.Jart+ (Fashion United)
  • Nike invests in adaptive footwear (BoF)
  • Uber wants to deliver drugs to your home (Mashable)
  • PayPal acquires Honey for $4billion (Adweek)
  • After Barney’s Bankruptcy, ex-CEO joins Tiffany&Co (Bloomberg)
  • Jennifer Lopez named global ambassador of Coach (WWD)
  • Victoria’s Secret cancels fashion show amid ratings drop (BBC)
  • Arcadia appoints Andrew Coppel as new chairman (Retail Gazette)
  • Inside Iran’s underground fashion industry (BoF)
  • Il Makiage acquires Israeli tech start-up NeoWize (WWD)
  • Subscription bag rental service Cocoon launches (Fashion United)
Marketing & Social Media
  • Pantene teamed up with the Dresscode Project for Trans Visibility Campaign (Teen Vogue)
  • Dove drives change in beauty ads with ‘Project #ShowUs’ (WARC)
  • European Retailers Lure Chinese Shoppers with WeChat Pay (Jing Daily)
  • Oasis converts with social proof messaging (Retail Technology)
  • How to sell fashion on Instagram without traditional influencers (Vogue Business)
Product
  • Stella McCartney and Adidas are releasing vegan Stan Smiths (Teen Vogue)
  • Missguided extends brand into travel market with MISSGUIDED VACAYS (The Industry)
  • Victoria Beckham expands into skincare, plans fragrance launch for 2020 (Fashion Network)
  • Advent calendars are big business for beauty (Vogue Business)
  • Louis Vuitton debuts customizable sneaker trunk (Highsnobiety)
  • Serena Williams debuts first jewelry line (Fashion Network)
  • Prada & Adidas unveil first set of limited editions bags and sneakers (WWD)
Culture
  • Vogue Mexico spotlights transgender ‘muxe’ women (BoF)
  • Is ‘incubating’ influencers the future? (Glossy)
  • Why fashion needs chief diversity officers (Vogue Business)
  • The future is fluid as labels sign up for gender-free fashion (The Industry)

How are you thinking about innovation? The Current Global is a transformation consultancy driving growth within fashion, luxury and retail. Our mission is to solve challenges and facilitate change. We are thinkers and builders delivering innovative solutions and experiences. Get in touch to learn more.

Categories
business Campaigns digital snippets e-commerce Retail social media sustainability technology

ICYMI: Magic Leap revealed, Amazon Prime Day, Kylie Jenner’s $900m beauty fortune

Magic Leap
Magic Leap

A round-up of everything you might have missed in relevant fashion, retail and tech industry news over the past week.

TOP STORIES
  • How Amazon turned Prime Day into a dizzying shopping extravaganza [Wired]
  • Believe it or not, Magic Leap says its headset will ship “this summer” [Fast Company]
  • How 20-year-old Kylie Jenner built a $900 million fortune in less than 3 years [Forbes]
  • PrettyLittleThing suspends next-day delivery as it struggles to keep up with demand [TheIndustry]
TECHNOLOGY
  • Stella & Dot is using AI to guide its 30,000 global sellers into apparel business [Glossy]
SUSTAINABILITY
RETAIL & E-COMMERCE
  • US malls haven’t been this empty since 2012 [CNBC]
  • First Nike LIVE store opens with #NikeByMelrose Los Angeles [BrandChannel]
  • How Michael Mente took Revolve from an E-commerce start-up to a global powerhouse [Fashionista]
  • How Zalando is fighting off Amazon and building the Spotify of fashion [BoF]
  • John Lewis about to unveil biggest facelift in its 154-year history [ThisIsMoney]
MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA
  • Social commerce on the rise as more brands adopt shoppable content [RetailDive]
  • Snapchat is working on a feature that can find products you snap on Amazon [TheVerge]
  • Versace hires 54 models for fall ads [WWD]
  • Aerie uses new bra campaign to celebrate women with disabilities [FashionUnited]
  • China’s hottest new social media app [BoF]
BUSINESS
  • Prada is making progress [BoF]
  • UK retailers spend more than £1m on failed and cancelled digital transformation projects [Internet Retailing]
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Generation Z: 10 stats from SXSW you need to know

kylie

At SXSW Interactive this past week, conversation wasn’t just about big flashy new technologies – from VR headsets at numerous event pop-ups, to all sorts of conversations around artificial intelligence or autonomous cars. It was also about consumers and how to better reach them.

As the festival has drawn in more marketers and not just tech folk over the years, this has increasingly become the case. For 2016, however, it was one segment very specifically that stood out: Generation Z.

Defined as those born after the year 1995, or thereabouts, this is the generation that follows Millennials. It’s also the generation that’s still being born right now. For those in their teen years however, there are many healthy insights already to gain. Head over to Forbes to gain access to the top 10 stats and facts shared during SXSW.

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social media

Instagram likes: Kendall Jenner, Taylor Swift take 2015 prize

instagram-board

It’s a very shallow world and it’s also one that’s celebrity-obsessed. That’s pretty obvious from the list of Instagram posts that got the most likes this year.

Was it a triumph of inspirational imagery? Not exactly. The unstoppable Kendall Jenner and Taylor Swift were the influencers who rocked this most visual of social media channels.

Kendall’s sister Kylie also got in on the act and last year’s most liked Instagrammer, Beyoncé, was still there (but at number five this year). Taylor Swift had the most entries in the top 10, however – six of them in fact.

Come on own up, are you responsible for one of the combined 12.9m likes these five posts received?

1-kendall-jenner

2-taylor-swift

3-taylor-swift

4-kylie-jenner

5-beyonce

This post first appeared on Trendwalk.net, a style-meets-business blog by journalist, trends specialist and business analyst, Sandra Halliday