Trend Forecasting for 2018: Livestream Shopping, Honing our Heritage and the Growth of the Discerning ‘Tourist’
On Wednesday 1 November, our members gathered at the prestigious Royal Society of Chemistry for our Business Insights breakfast event on Trend Forecasting for 2018.
The highly acclaimed panel of experts spanned culture and entertainment, retail, fashion, technology and tourism. Each gave their own unique insights into the trends, ideas and new influences they are experiencing and exploring, unearthing some of the biggest changes being seen in global retail, travel and tech. From technology to tourism, social media to shop windows, and from live shopping to living room dining, we explored the zeitgeist and came away with a deeper insight into how we can translate these learnings into our own work.
Tom Upchurch a Director at WIRED Consulting and former journalist at The Economist opened the event by telling the audience about what he saw as the biggest digital game changers for business. Above everything, he saw the behemoth that is Amazon as the biggest competitor for the retail, luxury, food and fashion industry. For Thomas, there is no industry Amazon is not looking at as a potential new market. They moved into groceries with the purchase of Whole Foods, into our homes with Alexa and he anticipates the retail giant to be making strides into the luxury, fashion and pharmaceutical industries in the very near future.
The conversation moved onto the changing face of influence as Caroline Issa, Publisher and Managing Director at boutique magazine, TANK, explored the world of the mega and micro influencers, the importance of creating ‘Instagrammable’ moments in physical outlets and destinations, as well as the hidden influence of live-stream shoppers. Caroline talked about the sophistication of live steam shopping in the Asian market and how Chinese fashion bloggers in particular are travelling to London and sharing live shopping experiences with their armies of fans, who then buy online what they are trying on in the changing rooms.
As the panel dived into the tourism space, Jill Sinclair, founder of Sinclair & Partners talked about visitors becoming more discerning and demanding. They no longer see themselves as tourists but as explorers who want to get under the skin of a destination; we need to create experiences and moments that reflect that.
It was there that the discussion moved into an exploration of the immersive experience. Is it alive and well, or is there a new trend on the horizon? Overwhelmingly the panel agreed that the immersive experience was certainly here to stay, but that consumers are more than ever looking for authentic experiences. It’s here that brands across the Heart of London district can thrive. With such rich heritage, history and unique stories, brands across Piccadilly, Leicester Square and St James’s can dig into their archives and craft genuine experiences that celebrates the heritage that tells their brand story.
The discussion ended on the biggest food trends for the year ahead and Diane Wehrle, Marketing and Insights Director at Springboard said they are seeing a real upward shift in post-5pm footfall, showing that people are going out more. She added that there was also a big trend for at-home dining with the advances of Deliveroo and Uber Eats making it so much easier to get restaurant-quality food at home. Jill Sinclair added that food is becoming the thing that binds visitor trips together. It’s no longer an add-on; it’s a reason to travel with more and more visitors booking restaurants even before they have confirmed their travel. Caroline providing additional colour to the discussion, suggesting that the trend for vegan dining is only going to grow as millennials place increasing importance on the source of their food. The growth of vegan restaurants looks set to go from strength to strength.
CEO of Heart of London Business Alliance, Ros Morgan wrapped up the event focusing in on her key takeaways: the secret world of live streaming in London retailers, the importance of celebrating heritage and the ever-increasing need to focus on creating outstanding physical experiences for customers to draw them in off the street and inspire them to visit in person rather than explore online.