2014 was supposed to be “the year of wearable tech,” but four months in, it seems clear that it’s going to take some time for wearables to go mainstream. The majority of attention is being paid to smartbands and smartwatches, and new entries to the market keep coming. Google has announced their expansion outside of Glass with smartwatch Android Wear, Nissan has unveiled a watch concept that would pair wearable tech with the car industry, Disney has made headlines with their new smartbands for guests, even Will.i.am is developing a smartwatch. The competition to be the star of tech that lives on our wrists is intense, but so far it is unclear whether consumers—even tech-hungry Millennials— are going to embrace these innovations. Research suggests that one-third of those who have purchased wearable tech abandoned their devices after just six months of use, causing some to wonder if the “next big thing” in tech is a harder sell than brands previously suspected. One of the big issues of wristband and Glass technology is that currently it is very noticeable and not necessarily stylish. We wrote that wearable tech would have to be either beautiful or undetectable to be embraced by a broader audience than the techie crowd, and the makers of these devices are heeding the warning, with Google partnering with glasses-maker Luxxotica for more fashionable Glass frames, and Intel working with Opening Ceremony and Barneys New York to create a wristband that actually looks cool.
So what will the future of wearable tech actually look like? The answer may lie in the items that we already wear everyday. Smart clothes have the advantage of being less detectable and potentially more fashion-forward than current wearable tech items. The category also has the potential to be more naturally integrated…
Are Smart Clothes the Real Future Of Wearable Tech?
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Quote of the Day: “When I want relationship advice I usually check out good relationship blogs or online articles.” –Female, 32, TN
E-cigarettes are becoming increasingly popular with teens, and one reason could be that it’s “ridiculously easy” for teens to get them. A new study asked minors to order e-cigarettes online from 98 different vendors, and 75 of those orders were successful. Of the 23 orders that failed, only five were due to age-verification issues, and in many cases if a website did not accept a minor’s age, teens were able to use their parents’ identities. Kids who have smoked e-cigs are reportedly twice as likely to say they intend to try regular cigarettes, so this ease of access could lead to a larger issue. (The Verge)
Millennials are seeing food as the new status symbol and expecting everything on demand. Now a slew of startups areredefining food delivery to cater to their tastes. Gourmet food delivery service Munchery is a player in this trend, and has just expanded from San Francisco to New York City. Unlike services that deliver dishes from high-end eateries, Munchery provides a selection of over 300 pre-cooked meals prepared by Michelin-starred chefs, which are delivered cold and ready to be heated. There is a social good angle as well, as Munchery matches the cost of each order with a donation to City Harvest. (Forbes)
Young consumers have helped to make Scotch and whiskey cool again, and old-school brown spirits have become increasingly popular over the last decade. While the industry might have initially been ”perplexed” by the attention, it has seized the opportunity by targeting Millennial drinkers in new ways. The brand Balvenie is appealing to this new generation of Scotch drinkers by tapping Anthony Bourdain to host Raw Craft, a video series traveling around the country to showcase American craftsmanship. The Balvenie’s parent company has also released new brands, like Monkey Shoulder, that specifically target 20-somethings with lower prices and unpretentious branding. (Fast Company)
YouTube celebrities like PewDiePie’s Felix Kjellberg, Zoella, Alfie Deyes, and Jamal Edwards all made the list of the 500 most influential people in the country, and digital marketers could learn a few lessons from Generation YouTube. “Flawed is the new flawless,” thanks to digital celebs’ realness and transparency, and brands should embrace the authenticity of the medium. It’s also important to note that the stereotype of kids watching YouTube alone in their bedrooms is far from the truth: 90% of users are over 18-years-old, and 39% watch YouTube with their partner. (Marketing)
Sonic is planning to play up their retro style drive-ins to appeal to young consumers' nostalgia, while also giving those drive-ins a technological makeover. Soon the fast food spots will feature touch-screen menus, which offer suggestions and internet access, along with the carhop service that has helped to set it apart from its competitors. The brand was slow to launch a digital and social presence, but is ramping up their efforts, including a series of digital only clips that show a significant departure from their traditional TV marketing. The opportunity for Sonic to attract younger consumers could be big, considering their customizable menu and unique experience-driven locations. (Digiday)
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