December is shaping up to be the new April, and brands should prepare for many media and consumer trends to re-accelerate

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Photo by Volodymyr Hryshchenko on Unsplash

December is the new April, judging by the way things are going. With new Covid-19 cases sharply climbing nationwide, some states such as Washington and New York have already reinstated some restrictions that were previously put in place to encourage social distancing and curb the third wave of outbreak.

Unfortunately, the timing couldn’t have been worse, given that it’s the season of holiday parties and family get-togethers. About 40% of Americans surveyed say they plan to gather in groups of 10 or more people this holiday season, and nearly 33% say they will not require friends or family to wear masks at Thanksgiving gatherings, according to a national survey commissioned by The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. …


Live video worked wonders for Alibaba’s Singles Day sales, but it still has a way to go from taking off in the U.S.

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Amazon leverages live video for Prime Day sales

If you have paid any attention to retail trends in China in recent years, you’d know that live video has become an integral part of online shopping. …


What toy brand marketers need to know about the future of toys

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Photo by stem.T4L on Unsplash

Toys have always held a central space in the lives of children as they allow kids to explore new ways of thinking, learn valuable skills via play, and most importantly, have fun while doing it. Toys are also valuable to parents, for they grant a respite from the stressful tasks of parenting and allow them to focus on themselves for a while.

This year, the value of toys to both kids and their parents has been amplified by the stay-at-home orders and school closures, with a special spotlight on educational toys. …


The future of fast food restaurants; New Floor 9 episode on holiday shopping trends; Plus, news and stats roundup

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Lab Originals

Six Key Innovations Reshaping the Future of QSRs

Accelerated adoption of new technologies and changes in consumer behavior during this pandemic will have a long-term impact on the future of the restaurant business. Here are the six key innovations that are reshaping the future of the QSR industry, and how QSR brands can strategically leverage them to future-proof their businesses.

In case you missed it…

Four Ways This Holiday Shopping Season Will Be Different

COVID-19 has considerably accelerated the ongoing retail transformation. Now the impact of that accelerated transformation is set to usher in a holiday season like never…


And how quick-service restaurants can evolve with them

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Photo by Courtney Cook on Unsplash

It’s no secret that the pandemic has been devastating to the restaurant industry. More than 100,000 restaurants and bars have permanently closed due to the pandemic, according to estimates from the National Restaurant Association. Fortunately, one particular sector has been rebounding faster than others. Thanks to an inherent emphasis on convenience and affordable takeout, restaurants in the fast food and quick-service category were able to quickly adapt to the new normal and serve their customers safely and efficiently. Technomic projected that the fast food sector’s market share will grow by 8% this year.

Despite some states reopening and resuming indoor dining at reduced capacity, most consumers remain cautious with heightened hygiene standards. After all, 77% of consumers recently surveyed by DataEssential say they feel the safest when getting their food from drive-thrus, quick service restaurants (QSRs) have a valuable advantage over other restaurants, and 74% of U.S. consumers have visited drive-thrus the same amount or more often than usual this year. …


Plus, Apple takes another stab at smart home with new HomePod Mini speaker, and other must-know announcements from the latest Apple event

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Editor’s note: This is an abridged edition of our Fast Forward newsletter, a fast read for you and an easy forward to your clients. If you wish to receive the full version a day earlier in your inbox, please contact Josh Mallalieu (josh@ipglab.com) to get on our mailing list.

On Tuesday, Apple held its second fall event dedicated to unveiling the iPhone 12 lineup, plus a new HomePod Mini. Much of the hour-long event went as anticipated, with no surprise announcement or changes. The four models of iPhone 12, with varying sizes and prices, are all 5G-ready, while the new HomePod Mini represents Apple taking another stab at the smart home space. …


Why co-viewing is here to stay, and how it will impact content consumption and unlock new brand opportunities

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Image Credit: Disney via Parentology

Last week, Disney+ became the latest streaming service to add a co-viewing feature called “GroupWatch”, which allows up to seven subscribers to watch Disney+ content in sync while sharing reactions via a preset selection of emojis. Prior to this, Disney-owned Hulu introduced a Watch Party feature in May, while Amazon added a co-watching feature with the same name to Prime Video in June. Besides the streaming giants, many other streaming services are also exploring similar features aiming to serve the rise of remote co-viewing behavior, which rose to prominence over the past six months due to social distancing measures.

Some may argue that virtual co-viewing is a “quarantine special” behavior that will not sustain once we put the pandemic behind us and can start socializing offline again. However, that argument overlooks two important factors that gave rise to co-viewing and will keep it relevant: one, even before the pandemic, younger generations already preferred to socialize online over meeting up in real life, and watching content together is a big part of online hangouts; and two, organizing a virtual viewing party from the comfort of your couch is far easier than planning an actual get-together, and user behavior tends to follow the path of least resistance. …


With Amazon Luna’s arrival, the shift towards cloud-based gaming has started in earnest, but the console giants are still holding court

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Source: Amazon

Last Thursday, during its annual press event for launching new smart home products, Amazon snuck in a surprise announcement of Luna, a cloud gaming service that puts Amazon in direct competition with Google Stadia and Microsoft’s xCloud, both launched last year, in the increasingly crowded cloud gaming space. …


And how brands can leverage retail innovations to prep for an unprecedented holiday season

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Photo by freestocks on Unsplash

If there is one thing that is still universally agreed upon in 2020, it is that the holiday season can’t come soon enough! Not only does it bring its usual (desperately needed) festive cheer, but it signals a definitive end to this exhausting year. As one of the many industries that have been severely affected by the pandemic, retail is especially looking towards the upcoming holiday season for signs of recovery and hope.

COVID-19 has considerably accelerated the ongoing retail transformation, compressing years of behavioral change and platform adoption into six months, and now the impact of that accelerated transformation is set to usher in a holiday season like never before. …


Facebook outlines its roadmap for AR and VR developments

Editor’s note: This is an abridged edition of our Fast Forward newsletter, a fast read for you and an easy forward to your clients. If you wish to receive the full version a day earlier in your inbox, please contact Josh Mallalieu (josh@ipglab.com) to get on our mailing list.

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Facebook has always wanted to be a platform company. Mark Zuckerberg is acutely aware that his company’s ad-based business model is always at the whims of the platform owners, most recently demonstrated by a blog post the company published last month decrying Apple’s decision to tighten privacy settings in iOS 14 could cut its Audience Network revenue in half. …

About

Richard Yao

Manager of Strategy & Content, IPG Media Lab

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