Over the last decade or so, the Experience Economy has crowned itself as one of the most important themes in the Asian consumer arena. The unrelenting quest for collectible experiences has seen consumers go from public square dancing a la Chinese grandmas to seemingly death-defying swings over Balinese forests.
Some of the drivers propelling the experience parade: consumers’ continual shift of preferring experiences over products, social media’s unstoppable penetration of societies, the maturing of technologies like AR and VR allowing for more immersive experiences, and more.
Feeling like you can’t keep up already? We’ve got you covered. Especially if your work takes you anywhere near the sphere of in-person consumer experiences – everything from cycling classes to retail pop-ups to all-inclusive resort stays – you have come to the right trend briefing!
1. SENTIENT SPACES
Experiences dished out in environments that know and adapt to the inhabitants
2. CONNOISSEUR CLUBS
Experiences that help consumers learn more about their consumption
3. ZERO-IMPACT EXPERIENCES
In 2019 and beyond, guilt-free experiences are the most impactful status symbols
Ready to explore the future of the experience economy? Scroll on!
Japanese beauty brand offers tech-driven retail experience
Open in Singapore’s Orchard Road during December 2018, the Future X smart store from SK-II helps consumers find the perfect skincare. Visitors start by getting their skin analyzed at a smart mirror, which then uses AI to recommend the correct products and treatments. Once the facial scan is complete, the store uses facial recognition and a smart bracelet to offer each customer a personalized journey as they move through the space. The store also features a digital installation that creates unique artworks based on an individual’s facial expressions and movements.
Coffee shop gives personalized drink recommendations
RATIO coffee shop / cocktail bar opened first as a pop-up in Shanghai in June 2018, serving AI-crafted drinks. Consumers placing their order via WeChat can customize their drinks down to the smallest detail, such as the measurements of spirits in their cocktail to the proportion of espresso to milk in their coffee. The in-store robot will then craft the drink, while the AI will remember a customer’s order for subsequent visits, and use the data for personalized drink recommendations. The team at RATIO believes no two taste palettes are the same, so no two drinks should be the same.
Billboards capable of facial recognition to be installed in South Korea
In November 2018, UK-based adtech firm Bidooh entered into an agreement with Seoul-based media agency DBDB Labs to install 10,000 facial recognition-equipped billboards across South Korea. The billboards identify characteristics of passersby, including age and gender, and use that information to deliver tailored advertising messages. The billboards will be installed in book stores, corporate offices and shopping centers across the country.
Facial recognition technology employed to offer recommendations to shoppers
Set to open in Q2 2019, the Funan mall will use facial recognition technology to provide recommendations to shoppers. Billed as Singapore’s first online and offline shopping center, features include a smart interactive directory using facial recognition to sort shoppers into profiles and then recommend relevant stores and products. The six-story mall will also use video analytics to study shopper traffic and crowd density. Funan mall also includes lyf: a coliving complex.
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Customers experience coffee-making in Bali sanctuary
Starbucks launched its largest, immersive coffee destination in Bali, Indonesia, in January 2019. The 20,000 square foot Dewata ‘coffee sanctuary’ invites visitors to de-pulp and wash beans, dry and rake green coffee beans, and observe budding seedlings in the nursery. An interactive video wall shows how coffee is planted, processed, roasted, shipped and brewed. Customers can taste from a selection of more than 100 different types of coffee. The store, inspired by traditional Balinese architecture, features local craftsmanship and art. Starbucks has been serving Indonesian coffee around the world for over 40 years.
Virgin Active —
Workout combines life-saving skills and fitness
Virgin Active‘s CPROBIC class combines fitness with learning life-saving skills. Launched in Thailand during April 2018, the exercise class is taught by CPR-certified trainers. Members can burn more than 400 calories in the class, while learning essential first aid skills. CPROBIC was created after research revealed that only 6% of patients needing on-the-spot CPR receive it before reaching the hospital, as most Thais have very little CPR practice.
Chanel exhibition to open in Shanghai
The Chanel Mademoiselle Privé exhibition will open at West Bund Artistic Center in Shanghai in April 2019. Previously displayed in London, Seoul and Hong Kong, the showcase features designs by Gabrielle Chanel and Karl Lagerfeld, as well as haute-couture items and products from the brand’s beauty and jewelry branches. Chanel will draw on multipurpose Chinese messaging and payments app WeChat to offer a seamless onlineto- offline experience.
MAC Cosmetics —
Makeup outlet optimizes purchasing for Generation Z
MAC China, an Estée Lauder-owned company, opened an immersive retail space in Shanghai in February 2019. Blending digital and online experiences, it uses research into Generation Z’s makeup purchasing habits. Consumers check into their WeChat account upon arrival to launch a mini-program that guides them through the store. Shoppers can sample 18 MAC lipstick colors in 30 seconds via a virtual mirror, and personalize and 3D-print their own eye-shadow palette. Product stations display trends and reviews, and a dedicated floor event space will host masterclasses.
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In the coming weeks and months, they'll be using the platform to ensure their plans remain deeply aligned with what their customers want next.
Zero-waste restaurant opens in Bali
Ijen, Indonesia’s first zero-waste restaurant, opened in September 2018 at the Potato Head Beach Club in Bali. Offering local seafood caught by hand, the restaurant features furniture made from foam offcuts and recycled wood, and a floor created from cement, broken plates and smashed glass. Candles made from wine bottles burn used kitchen oil, while organic waste is recycled as local pig food or animal fertilizer.
SAMMAKORN COCKTAIL BAR —
Mixologist creates cocktails from food waste
In December 2018, mixologist Mark Lloyd opened the Zero Waste Bar at Thailand’s Wonderfruit Festival. The pop-up bar served cocktails made from waste food donated by vendors at the festival, which celebrates sustainability and wellness. Lloyd also hosted masterclasses to teach attendees how to make their own zero waste cocktails. The mixologist is also known for hosting the Sammakorn Cocktail Club, a ‘secret’, inviteonly pop-up bar selling zero-waste cocktails. Open only once a month, the pop-up is located in Bangkok’s Sammakorn suburb.
TATA MUMBAI MARATHON —
‘Zero-waste’ marathon held in Mumbai
The Tata Mumbai Marathon, held in in January 2019, was managed as a ‘zero waste’ event. Participants and spectators were urged to bring their own water bottles and reusable food containers, and entry forms and handbooks were digitized. Vendors at the event were banned from selling single-use plastics and all waste generated on the day was segregated and processed. The move followed a 2018 petition, initiated by marathon runner Shilpi Sahu, which called for a ‘greener’ event and received more than 114,000 signatures. Over 46,000 runners took part in the 2019 event.
The Social Space —
Concept store promotes low-waste lifestyles
Opened in Singapore in April 2018, The Social Space is a sustainable concept store combining a café, retail space, a florist and a nail salon. The café uses metal and glass straws, and serves coffee in cups made by Center Pottery, a Singapore-based social enterprise that works with people with special needs. The retail space also sports a ‘reflillery’ area where customers can buy packaging-free household goods using their own containers, and many of the products available to purchase support marginalized communities – for examples cakes made by a local social enterprise that trains young people with disabilities.
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Phew, that was intense. Hope you enjoyed the ride 🚀
But in truth this moment should be the beginning of a journey, not the end of one. Now is the time to act.
And that starts with remembering that each of these trends is an innovation opportunity. That is, an opportunity to create your next magical, compelling, shareable, must-do (and do again!) in-person experience.
So take these trends and featured innovation examples back to your team, and challenge them. What can we do with this? How can we adapt this trend around our brand, our market, our customers, our values? What can we do to meet and exceed these emerging customer expectations?
For those of you who want to take this even further – we’ll see you at one of our upcoming events on the Future of Experiences.
Now, go – get started today! We can’t promise that creating the next generation of compelling in-person experiences will be easy. But it will be deeply worthwhile.
This Trend Briefing has many hands on it. A huge thanks to the team that pulled this together with such positivity and enthusiasm, especially: Vicky Kim and Nikki Ritmeijer (for design!), and also Maxwell Luthy, Vicki Loomes, Henry Mason, Alida Urban, Harry Metzger, Harvey Gomez, Jareth Ashbrook, Jonathan Herbst and Lisa Feierstein. THANK YOU!