Category

Lightbox Loves

Lightbox Loves: Accelerated e-Commerce

By | Featured, Lightbox Loves | No Comments

The start of lockdown heard the phrase ‘new normal’ countless times in relation to all areas of consumer behaviour. One of the most notable areas that was referenced was in relation to online habits (in part because there wasn’t a huge amount else to do in the height of lockdown); rising to an average of 4 hours and 2 minutes in April 2020 versus 3 hours 29 minutes in September 2019. However the area that saw one of the most notable growths online was consumer adoption of digital retailing channels, with bricks and mortar shutting.

This trend of shifting to online has been seen before. In the 2008 recession in-person retail stalled as consumers moved online to be more savvy in their shopping and seek out better deals than what was on the high street.

COVID-19 has seen half of Brits shop online, resulting in a 10% growth in the online customer base, following the same pattern that has been seen previously. The biggest contributor to this growth has come from online grocery, with Nielsen Data stating that it totalled £1.12bn in the four weeks ending May 16, a year-on-year increase of 103%.

What’s interesting about online shopping is that, unlike other behaviours adopted during lockdown, online shopping is already set to stay, with 80% of shoppers stating that their new behaviours are here for the long-term. Interestingly, this isn’t just driven by the more digitally native Gen-Xers and Millennials favouring online; data published in early August from eMarketer shows that 62% of US Baby Boomers will buy online this year.

What is different about this growth in online shopping in the pandemic to the 2008 recession, is that where the momentum slowed as the UK came out of the 2008 recession, this time round it is set to continue on an upward trajectory. The August wave of the7stars QT measured increased usage of online shopping; in May 38% had increased this behaviour, this grew in June to 48% and in August 50%, highlighting the momentum around this consumer shift.

The brands that look to understand this evolving consumer habit and embrace the online shopping space will place themselves in a really strong position, not only to retain existing customers but also attract new customers.

Sources

Ofcom, UK’s internet use surges to record highs. June 2020

Lost in transaction research

the7stars QT, August 2020

Lightbox Loves: The Growth of esports

By | Featured, Lightbox Loves | No Comments

“G2 are the greatest team we have ever produced in Europe and have gone back to back and won the summer season!” Unless you are a G2 or Fnatic fan you may be wondering which sporting final this line was captured from.  Sunday the 6th of September marked the final of the League of Legends European Championships (LEC) and this quote came as esports team, G2, closed out the match to become European champions. For those yet to come across esports, it is a form of sport competition using video games (e.g. Fortnite) and has turned previously casual gamers into serious stars.

This LEC event was streamed for over 10 hours and broke viewer records for the league, passing one million concurrent streamers. These record-breaking numbers, alongside the continued growth seen during this year’s pandemic, has encouraged many brands to seek out opportunities in the esports arena. In 2019 alone, esports had 454 million followers and was expected to grow to 646 million by 2023. Now, this viewership figure is expected to rise even higher. Our quarterly tracker, The QT, saw a 26% increase in online and mobile gaming in May this year.  So, who is getting involved?

A whole host of brands across multiple categories. The audiences that view and participate in esports are now seeing household names such as BMW, Pringles, Coca Cola, Audi and Red Bull advertising in streams and in-game, or even making larger moves to sponsor teams and events. The popularity of esports has also gained the interest of news publishers with the likes of Sky Sports and the BBC now regularly reporting on high profile tournaments and team updates. TV broadcasters are looking to gain esports eyeballs at an accelerated pace this year due to the absence of other sports, with Sky and BT both striking deals to show the official Premier League and Formula One esport tournaments respectively. Anyone watching the financial markets may also notice David Beckham’s esports team Guild Esports will be floated on the London Stock Exchange, looking to raise £20m and expand outside the UK market.

Whilst the events of this year have helped grow esports popularity, this is more than a passing trend. Four months into lockdown, we continued to see an increase in online/mobile gaming according to our very own QT (up 17% in August). Brands new to this space will have untapped opportunities when crowds return to packed arenas and stadiums, since many brands already have had to move to virtual or crowd-less events like other live sports this year. It’s time to leave behind any further assumptions that esports is a niche interest and start thinking about whether your audience are going to be streaming the next big event and how you can engage with them.

 

https://www.theguardian.com/football/2020/sep/09/david-beckham-esports-team-to-float-on-london-stock-exchange-guild

https://www.forbes.com/sites/mikestubbs/2020/09/06/fnatic-ceo-says-esports-is-growing-exponentially/#560fe4bf5e0c

https://www.thedrum.com/profile/grabyo/news/esports-a-close-look-at-industry-growth-and-future-trends

https://win.gg/news/5442/lec-hits-1-million-peak-viewership-for-g2-vs-dot-fnatic-finals-match

https://www.businessinsider.com/esports-ecosystem-market-report?r=US&IR=T

the7stars quarterly tracker, The QT

Lightbox Loves: The Fast-Track to Frictionless

By | Featured, Lightbox Loves | No Comments

If you ate out to help out last month, you probably interacted with a QR code more times than in the last five years put together. QR codes have popped up everywhere, from the check-in desk at the pub to the menu at Nando’s, allowing customers and staff to minimise contact with each other and reduce waiting times. As if overnight, COVID-19 has fast-tracked us to the frictionless world, where life is made easier through the automatic transfer of data.

Last year, the7stars Trends team predicted that frictionless technology would be a defining force in 2020. Back in 2019, wearable technology was becoming increasingly popular, as attested by Google’s £1.6bn purchase of Fitbit. This year, COVID-19 has accelerated the drive to track personal health data even further. Fitbit has just launched a new watch that has the added capability of measuring stress levels by tracking skin temperature and heart rate. Not to be outdone, Amazon has launched their own version of the fitness tracker called Halo. Halo measures a whole host of health indicators, including the energy and ‘positivity’ in users’ voices.

Retail is also getting a frictionless makeover. MasterCard is piloting its first check-out-free shopping technology that will work across a range of retailers, from shopping malls to airports. They are also piloting AI-powered, personalised drive-through menus. These smart menus suggest orders based on historical customer data, reducing the time taken for employees to take orders so food can be prepared faster.

Still, the unexpected winner of 2020 is the QR code. Designed with businesses in mind, the QR codes can be printed out to link customers to their pages. Businesses are already learning how to use QR codes better than before, by displaying them with a clear call-to-action. In the case of restaurants, it connects the customer with everything from their menus to track and trace forms. As consumers become increasingly familiar with using them, we expect that this time around they are finally here to stay.

 

The Seven Trends in 2020

https://www.wired.co.uk/article/qr-codes-coronavirus

Lightbox Loves: Lipstick on the Napkin

By | Featured, Lightbox Loves | No Comments

As the ‘Eat Out To Help Out’ scheme comes to an end, figures from the first 3 weeks show that Britons used the scheme over 64 million times. This staggering number accounts for people who have moved their chosen evening out to earlier in the week and those who would not otherwise have gone out. The offer has represented a real change in the UK’s restaurant behaviour; OpenTable, the online reservations platform, reported a 61% rise in Mon-Weds bookings vs 2019. This spending takes place against the backdrop of the worst UK recession since records began. Therefore it seems strange that consumers are so keen to spend their disposable income. However, the lipstick effect helps explain this phenomenon and provides an opportunity for brands to offer real value to consumers through this difficult period.

For those who have not come across the lipstick effect before, it is an economic theory that suggests a reduction in big-ticket luxury expenditure in times of a recession leads to an uplift in small ticket luxury expenditure. This explains why people are looking for affordable ways to treat themselves. ‘Eat Out To Help Out’ aligned the core aspects of the theory – treat and low price point – and combined them with ease of use to create value in the mind of the consumer.

As we’ve been confined to home for large portions of 2020, treat has become synonymous with being out and about, and with holidays less accessible than they once were, eating out is filling this gap for the time being.  the7stars quarterly tracker of UK adults, highlighted this month that Brits are planning to spend less on long holidays (24%) and short breaks (22%), while 8% plan to spend more on eating-out and takeaways in the year ahead. Food is, in fact, the only surveyed category that has seen an increase in plans to spend. Nonetheless, price, offers and deals are the most important factors reported for grocery selection over the next six months. It stands to reason that this price sensitivity effects their out-of-home food choices too, with the government framing the ‘Eat Out To Help Out’ scheme as a saving representing a powerful, time limited offer of value to consumers.

In combining high value propositions with messaging that speaks to the current moment, brands can steer consumer behaviour as they start to look for small luxuries. Recent research from TVSquared demonstrated that TV ads explicitly mentioning the Coronavirus Crisis are three times more likely to resonate with viewers. What that ‘value’ is for a brand will depend on the price sensitivity of their target audience, but combining this messaging with products that are considered an indulgence is an impactful way to acknowledge the challenging times we face and enable consumers feel good about treating themselves to life’s smaller luxuries this year.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-53911505

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/jul/15/the-lipstick-effect-britons-treat-themselves-as-budgets-tighten

The QT, August 2020

https://tvsquared.com/tv-talk-the-halo-effect-with-effectv

 

Lightbox Loves: Fashion Rental

By | Featured, Lightbox Loves | No Comments

If you are looking to become more ethical when it comes to your fashion footprint, then renting might just be the way forward. During the last 10 years social media has become more ubiquitous in consumers’ lives, combined with fast moving trends. This has given rise to this new rental market, beyond the previous wedding suit and fancy dress market. So instead of purchasing a new outfit for a wedding, you now have the possibility to rent the latest season’s fashion instead. During 2019, Bloomberg called renting clothes “the future of fashion“. It was predicted that the online clothing rental market could offer average returns of almost 11% between 2019 and 2023.

However, this was all before the pandemic. With so many of these key occasions now on pause, increasing concerns around hygiene, and consumers retreating to loungewear, meant the future of the fashion rental market started to look decidedly bleak. UK based fashion rental platform Hurr Collective told Vogue in May 2020 how the demand has definitely fallen in their sector since people were no longer were going to events, coupled with sanitation concerns.

Yet, could there now be change on the horizon for the future of fashion rental? Looking at Google trends data from the last year, it is evident that the clothing rental market took a predictable hit during the pandemic; however, there are already some positive signs that the sector is recovering, with the search terms creeping up again. Furthermore the drive to make the fashion industry a more ecologically responsible, greener and a less impactful industry has not gone away. It accounts for 10% of global emissions and 20% of waste water. To put that in perspective, fashion uses more energy globally than both aviation and shipping combined.

Recently, a number of brands have made efforts to address these issues and try to encourage consumers to rent rather than buy, in spite of the on-going pandemic.

Brands such as Levi’s who have teamed up with Danish brand Ganni to create a capsule collection for Ganni Repeat, a “rental platform that’s trying to create a more circular fashion system and help people rethink how they consume fashion”. This rental-only collection is a first for both brands.

Meanwhile, Selfridges has launched its first ever in-house rental collection in partnership with Hurr Collective. After a successful pop-up concession, it has now become a permanent fixture within the store. This is part of their new sustainability pledge, ‘Project Earth’, with the store changing the way we shop by addressing the environmental impact of materials and production methods used in products, launching a repair and resell retail model and working with customers to try and shift mindsets to become more earth friendly.

With so many uncertainties and people becoming increasingly risk adverse when it comes to their health, it is evident that the pandemic has had a negative effect on the demand for clothing and the clothing rental idea, in particular. Yet we have started to see a glimmer of interest again across this sector with the easing of lockdown measures. It will be interesting to see how this market reacts and evolves in the coming year.

Sources:

  1. https://www.vogue.co.uk/fashion/article/will-the-fashion-rental-market-recover
  2. https://www.businessinsider.com/startup-by-rotation-bucks-trend-rent-the-runway-struggles-covid-2020-7?r=US&IR=T
  3. https://trends.google.com/trends/explore?geo=GB&q=clothing%20rental
  4. https://www.elle.com/fashion/shopping/a33573693/ganni-repeat-levis-collection/
  5. https://www.harpersbazaar.com/uk/fashion/fashion-news/a33630593/selfridges-rental-collection-hurr/
  6. https://uk.finance.yahoo.com/news/clothing-rental-covid-19-demand-085800704.html
  7. The Future of Fashion Is a Rented Dress
  8. https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20200310-sustainable-fashion-how-to-buy-clothes-good-for-the-climate

Lightbox Loves: Bouncing Back

By | Featured, Lightbox Loves | No Comments

School is out, beaches are packed and despite there being no Wimbledon this year, pitchers of Pimms are back on pub menus. A first glance, it looks like a very British Summer is upon is, and whilst thousands are enjoying summer holidays and the great outdoors, it looks like not even the sunshine can stop the stay-at-home economy from booming.

Our latest wave of the QT (the7stars proprietary consumer sentiment tracker) has demonstrated that despite lockdown easing, brands cannot be too quick to assume Brits are breaking the habit that has become so engrained in us: staying at home. When asking the nation how they are planning to spend this Summer compared to last year – 64% still claim they are planning to spend more time at home, rising to 69% among those aged 55-64 and 70% for those in the South West. In similar vein, 1 in 2 of us are intending on spending less time enjoying UK day trips to indoor locations and for 2 in 5 of us, we are even planning to spend less time making the most of outdoor attractions.

This inclination to be at home is also reflected in our holiday plans. Although given the green light to enjoy Britain’s most attractive holiday destinations, only 10% plan to spend more time than last year on a staycation – although intention doubles amongst parents.

However, there are many glimmers of hope – the government’s ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme has resulted in a 19% increase in high street footfall across the UK. Granted, brands cannot be expected to be as generous as Rishi Sunak, but assuming consumers will bounce back to normal without a nudge is not always realistic. Even when financial incentives are not possible, demonstrating reassurance in other ways might be enough to show empathy – through the likes of creativity and messaging – as we slowly go back to old behaviours.

They say it takes longer to break a habit than start one, so whilst Brits adjust and recover, brands need to show patience and understanding in the meantime.

Sources: The QT, August 2020.
The Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/business/2020/aug/10/eat-out-to-help-out-scheme-increases-uk-high-street-footfall-covid-19

From Transparency to Neutrality: A Thought Piece From the7stars

By | Featured, Lightbox Loves | No Comments

From Transparency to Neutrality: From Single To Double-Glazing.

 

Why Transparency in Media Dealing Isn’t Clear.

 

Download this thought piece from the7stars by filling in the form below.

 

Lightbox Loves: Taking A Temperature

By | Featured, Lightbox Loves | No Comments

Last Friday saw a record-breaking day of hot temperatures in the UK, with Friday August 7th now reported to be the hottest August day since 2003. Here at Lightbox Loves we’re sure that we weren’t the only ones in Adland finishing up their afternoon emails with an ice cream in hand.

It’s commonly known that sales of ice cream spike in warmer months, and that advertisers plan their marketing around this seasonal trend accordingly. However warmer temperatures can also affect the sales of products less obvious too, such as hair removal products. In fact, there’s evidence to suggest that temperature can affect our receptivity towards advertising altogether, depending on its content.

Evidence suggests that our receptivity to emotional marketing can fluctuate according to our bodily temperatures in a way that mimics a homeostatic response; much like drawing for a cornetto to cool ourselves down on a hot day. One study found that “emotionally cold” marketing received a better response if a viewer is feeling physically warm, and conversely, “emotionally warm” advertising elicited a better response if a viewer was physically cold. Though viewers could also respond equally well to both forms of advertising if their temperature was close to their homeostatic ideal of 37C. Coca Cola might have picked up on this having produced different Christmas campaigns for different climatic conditions; opting for an “emotionally warm” campaign in cooler regions such as those within the northern hemisphere, and a “cooler” campaign in warmer regions such as those down under.

However, it should be stressed that temperature is just one small piece of the puzzle when it comes to consumer preference; the same research points out that ice cream advertisers shouldn’t necessarily opt for packaging with “cold” colours – as customers looking to pick up ice cream will be chilly if they’re in the frozen section of a supermarket. And any advertiser looking to test creative strategies with seasonal differences in mind should note that there can be significant variations in purchasing thresholds across regions. Terry O’Reilly, host of the advertising podcast Under the Influence, pointed out that in Scotland BBQ sales increase rapidly once the temperatures breaches 20C, though the same effect only occurs at 24C and above in London.

Ultimately, temperature can not only affect sales, but a consumer’s receptivity towards marketing of these products. Advertisers can and have leveraged this evidence to drive sales and gain an edge over their competitors. However there isn’t an off-the-shelf piece of advice that advertisers can apply at a macro level towards their campaigns; keen advertisers looking to leverage the power of temperature changes to boost the saliency of their adverts should grab a themometer – or several, and think about how these findings could be utilised in ways that might swing customer preference at every step of their path towards purchase.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-53694492

https://mediatel.co.uk/news/2015/06/30/how-does-weather-impact-advertising/

https://phys.org/news/2018-05-temperature-affects-response-advertising.html

Lightbox Loves: Sustainability During a Pandemic

By | Featured, Lightbox Loves | No Comments

Given the global pandemic, you might think it’s safe to assume that people have more pressing matters to contend with than the environment. Is it even possible to be sustainable during a pandemic, or perhaps a recession? Looking at 2008, it appears not. Sustainability was put on pause to aid competitive pricing and essentially survival. However, with the momentum the sustainability movement has had over the last few years, it will be harder for brands to ‘opt out’ this time around.

Admittedly from the offset, it does appear that the pandemic has somewhat stalled the sustainability movement. The United Nations has confirmed that Covid-19 has put the Sustainable Development Goals out of reach, which is disappointing news, especially given that most goals to protect the environment by 2030 were already unachievable before this all happened.

Granted, there are other pressing issues at the forefront of society; one of seismic proportions being the Black Lives Matter movement. Nonetheless, this movement indirectly drives sustainable practice. Vogue Business has found that companies with a more diverse leadership have better environmental compliance reporting, in addition to stronger financial returns. It goes without saying that increased empathy and an anti-violent stance radiates out to many other causes.

Whilst it is tempting to overlook sustainability in the face of uncertainty, Brits will not. Imagery illustrating the positive impact of lower levels of Co2 emissions across the world have been circulated widely and consciousness amongst Brits is actually rising. From January to April 2020, there has been a +13% uplift in concern about pollution and +24% uplift in people avoiding unethical brands (IPA TouchPoints). This, coupled with Brits enjoying buying less and a slower pace of life, as our QT showed, could be resulting in greater awareness of our surroundings and the impact we’re having as a consumer.

Proving that sustainability has the potential to gain customers in the long-term. H&M launched their ‘Let’s change. For tomorrow.’ campaign in June, promoting that half of their materials are recycled, organic or sustainably sourced, with the aim for this to be 100% of materials by 2030. Businesses who recognise that sustainability is an important deciding factor for consumers in the long-term look set to be the ones who stand-out from the crowd.

Whilst there’s no escaping the present reality, the effects of climate change are set to ultimately overshadow the effects of Covid-19 in the long run. Whilst it may be tempting for brands to scale back to a bear minimum, sustainability will become a pathway to recovery and resilience.

https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-02002-3

https://www.voguebusiness.com/sustainability/sustainability-in-fashion-relies-on-embracing-diversity

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/how-to-be-green/why-sustainability-strategic-business-imperative/

Lightbox Loves: Can ad bans make the nation healthier?

By | Featured, Lightbox Loves | No Comments

This weekend saw the UK PM announce further measures to tackle UK obesity. These measures include a pre-watershed TV and digital advertising ban, with further measures- a permanent digital ban and limits on promotions for unhealthy foods- still being reviewed.

Following the 1962 Molony report findings that problematic advertising should be “tackled by effectively applied voluntary controls”, the government have allowed the ASA, Ofcom, et al, to be responsible for ensuring standards are upheld. However, public health concerns have necessitated some government imposed regulations across categories seen to present potential issues. A blanket ban on cigarette advertising, and prescriptive ABV ranges for ‘low alcohol’ drinks are two such measures. Now, with 64% of the population overweight, advertising restrictions on HFSS products- introduced in 2010 and extended in 2017- have sought to combat this trend.

The new measures have actually been kicking around for some time in one form or another. David Cameron was set to introduce them in 2016, before Brexit stopped him in his tracks. Theresa May then abandoned the plans before a change of heart two years later when health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, started consultation on the measures. This too ceased when Theresa May’s time in No.10 came to an end. With the current PM previously declaring his views of tackling obesity to be “libertarian” many felt these measures would flounder once more. However, the Covid-19 pandemic has again thrown the nation’s health into the spotlight; evidence that being overweight is one of the biggest “co-morbidity factors” meant that Boris Johnson’s hands were somewhat tied.

Caroline Bovey, Chair of the British Dietetic Association, describes obesity as “a complex disease with many contributing factors” and adds that “any policy approach must take account of all of them”. If the challenge is so broad, how much impact can the advertising ban have itself? Not very much, is the answer offered by the Advertising Association who cited the Government’s own research that identified that the 9pm ban will only reduce children’s intake by 1.7 calories per day and have warned against the measure. Dame Carolyn McCall, chief exec at ITV, added that there is evidence that a wider ban on all ads between 5.30am and 9pm would have next to no impact on childhood obesity.

However, Sir John Hegarty, disagrees with the anti-regulatory call from the AA and others, stating advertising has “responsibilities beyond just selling us things” and that we “must be seen [as] a valuable partner in an evolving society”. He suggests that whilst the ban itself may not have a huge impact; the pressure it puts on manufacturers to produce healthier alternatives they can advertise makes the ban a worthwhile endeavour. The issue will continue to be debated publicly as we see the impact these measures have on the nation’s health in both the short and longer term.