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 into…
Are Smart Clothes the Real Future Of Wearable Tech?
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Quote of the Day: “Whenever I'm bored, I can always find something to do on my phone.”
—Male, 17, GA
Have teens have killed another retailer? Aeropostale has filed for bankruptcy, and plans to immediately close 154 of its over 800 stores. Young consumers’ preference for fast fashion and real-time access to trends has left “mall retailers” like Delia’s, Wet Seal, and Aeropostale in the dust. Last year the struggling clothing brand announced they were attempting to revive sales by “exploring strategic alternatives,” and focusing on a “flirty tomboy girl” consumer. However, it missed the mark, and “[t]he majority of the blame for poor performance lies squarely with [Aeropostale’s] failure to realign itself to the changing fashion demands of younger shoppers.” (Washington Post)
These days, Osh-Kosh-B’Gosh just won’t do for well-to-do kids growing up in a market that might just make them the best-dressed generation. The luxury childrenswear market continues to boom, with a forecasted reach of $291.5 billion by the end of 2018. Since we first wrote about the trend, more designer brands have launched lines exclusively for “pint-sized clientele,” and online stores focusing on upscale fashion for babies and kids have grown. Although considered a small revenue driver for companies, brands hope that childrenswear will inspire brand loyalty from a young age, and remind adults of their own “coming-of-age moments.” (Digiday)
Social network meets “college newspaper on steroids” Odyssey is racking up 30 million uniques a month, with a simple but challenging business model. The site lets any young writer contribute content, as long as they have a unique perspective and publish an article a week. The model results in about 10,000 articles each week from writers aged 18-28, who then share their posts through their own personal social networks. Although they are unpaid, the writers gain exposure from posting to the platform—two to 4.5 times more than if they self-published. (Business Insider)
Snapchat’s CEO Evan Spiegel’s ability to “speak Millennial” has been key to the app’s success. The platform’s appeal lies in the “less demanding” content it encourages. As the Columbia student who interviewed Spiegel put it, “If you want to take a photo of the beautiful day outside…you can put it on Instagram, but what about that huge space of photos that aren’t 10 out of 10 perfection.” Recently Spiegel declared that Snapchat is a “camera company.” Though messaging and content are part of the app, the camera is the focus because “[t]he thing that feeds a social network is content.” (International Business Times)
We recently broke down all the ways Millennials are updating and redefining workplace standards—and it looks like Millennials in the U.K. may also prioritize meaning over a big paycheck. A U.K. survey of 13-25-year-olds revealed that “44% equate happiness with success and 32% said that for them prosperity is more about achieving their personal goals.” The things that might have motivated previous generations were lower priorities: only 11% of U.K. Millennials said they are motivated by the prospect of owning a house, and 29% said they are motivated by being paid more for their work. (Elite Business)
Quote of the Day: “The type of commercials that stick in my memory are the ones that make me evaluate my life.”—Female, 28, SD