Brainsnacks

Luxury Is Going to the Dogs

With the rise of DogTV and gourmet pet chow, it was just a matter of time before we extended canine luxury to living quarters. High-end doggie daycare has been around for a while, but only recently have the offerings become so numerous. In Manhattan, there’s the Ruff Club, which prides itself on being both exclusive [...]


Top Buying Power of the Middle Class

Of all the countries on A.T. Kearney’s Global Retail Development Index, Brazil might be the biggest success story—and not just because it has claimed the top spot. Unlike many of the other countries on the list, Brazil’s surge in retail has come primarily from its recent middle-class boom, growing from 2001, when 38 percent of [...]


Trendspotting: From Genghis Khan to Louis Vuitton

When you think of Mongolia, you probably don’t think of luxury retail, but thanks to an extremely lucrative and quickly expanding mining industry, perhaps you should. The sudden increase in wealth in the historically nomadic country has brought the likes of Burberry and Hugo Boss to the Mongolian capital of Ulan Bator, and the local [...]


Trendspotting: Not Just for Oil Anymore

Despite the roiling climate of an Arab Spring, two Middle Eastern countries still managed to make A.T. Kearney’s annual Global Retail Development Index. Boasting some remarkable retail and tourist attractions, such as the 1,200-store Dubai Mall that includes Michael Kors and Tom Ford, the United Arab Emirates’ seventh place on the index might not be [...]


Trendspotting: LGB TV

With a recent study showing more gay characters on TV than ever before, it has become clear that America and Hollywood have begun to embrace a new kind of family, one that embraces the LGBT community. Programs like “Modern Family” and “The New Normal” have led the charge, depicting gay couples, as both their names [...]


Trendspotting: Not the Retiring Kind

For many middle-income Americans, the golden years will be less about sitting by the pool in Boca Raton and more about getting progress reports in on time. With upwards of half of Americans saying that they don’t know if they will have enough savings to retire, it’s no surprise that 30 percent of middle-class Americans [...]


Trendspotting: The “Real” Model

With an increasing backlash against the unrealistic portrayal of women, a new Girl Scout study shows that 81 percent of young girls say they prefer to see “real-size” models. Some media personalities have been pushing for the “real” look as well, such as the cast of “The Talk,” who decided to forsake makeup for the [...]


Trendspotting: Cracking the Code

With all the noise about mobile ads, it would be hard to blame you for just assuming print ads had died and gone to marketing heaven. But smartphone-interactive codes, specifically QR codes, have taken the traditional ad market by storm; more than 10 percent of ads in the top 100 magazines in the U.S. now [...]



Trendspotting: A Story in Pictures

A few years ago, digital image programs basically meant Photoshop. But with the increasing number of picture-sharing sites like Imgur and Instagram, which now is now more popular on mobile devices than Twitter is, users have the freedom to manipulate and share photos like never before. This has led to a new type of storytelling, [...]


Trendspotting: Digital Stress

With our fast-paced lives and the current economic uncertainty, it’s no surprise that a new study shows that work-related stress is on the upswing. Living in this digital age and its expectation of constant reachability is partly to blame; a report from the University of Michigan said that most college students are physically unable to [...]


Trendspotting: Cutting the Cost of High Fashion

Designers might be showing off their news lines of the season, but as the economy continues to recover so very slowly, fashion-forward consumers aren’t able to afford what they used to. This has meant making the newest high-end designers as affordable as possible, with such businesses as Rent the Runway, where users rent designer clothing [...]


Trendspotting: Food That’s Not Just Fast

It seems as if not a day goes by that an unlucky patron finds something exceptionally off-putting in his fast-food meal. Fortunately, the fast-food industry has responded and begun moving in a pretty surprising direction for the business: quality. Industry leader McDonald’s has put out an ad campaign that focuses on its ingredients and puts [...]


Taking the Fight to the Cafeteria

Childhood obesity is back in the spotlight after a new report called “Still Too Fat to Fight” said the “junk food sold in schools” is a “national security issue.” Targeting cafeteria lunches as the root of the child weight epidemic has become a growing movement after British chef Jamie Oliver displayed the depressing quality of [...]


Trendspotting: Help on Wheels

About 76 percent of U.S. commuters make their trips alone, but new sites and apps like Zimride.com, Ridejoy.com, Avego.com, Nuride.com, Rideshare.com and eRideShare.com are making it simpler and safer to share rides—not only to work but also sometimes to destinations across the country. Meanwhile, smartphone apps like Waze (more than 20 million users across the [...]


Easy TV?

Netflix’s video streaming service hit a milestone this year, surpassing 1 billion hours of streaming in June. Although Netflix users report relatively low customer satisfaction, and its stock plunged by 25 percent over the summer amid concerns about slow domestic growth and too-fast overseas expansion, the service can now claim several million more subscribers than [...]


Trendspotting: Hobby Alert

Thanks to shows like “Project Runway” and a desire for custom clothing, sewing is making a comeback. Not only are baby boomers returning to the hobby during retirement, but they’re also bringing their children and grandchildren along for the ride. Sewing social network BurdaStyle grew by 47 percent in a year’s time, and NYC yarn [...]


Trendspotting: Soda Wars

Liquid calories appear to affect the body—and the conscious—differently than solid ones; we’re less likely to make up for the calories consumed in a beverage by eliminating calories elsewhere in our diet. So it’s little wonder that, as consumption of sugary drinks has ballooned, many organizations have set out to see that drink sizes be [...]


Trendspotting: Group Efforts

By now most of us have been hit up many times over to help bankroll a friend’s new album or book (or stackable soap!) through sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo, and the donation-based crowd-funding trend isn’t going anywhere, unless you count the surprising new directions entrepreneurs are taking it. Nearly $3 billion is expected to [...]


Trendspotting: The New Dapper

A new mantra for the fashion business might be “Men don’t shop; they buy.” Menswear accounted for 40 percent of the total luxury fashion market last year, growing 14 percent in 2011, compared with womenswear, which grew by just 8 percent. In Australia, the post-recession recovery phase paired with Gen X’s concern with its appearance [...]


Trendspotting: Chemical Free

If you’ve ever been put off by a high-and-mighty health nut, you’re not alone. A new study confirms that those who follow pristine eating plans—particularly when eating all-organic all the time—feel “self-righteous” about their “moral behavior.” Despite those drawbacks, organic foods have helped some family farms stay profitable in an age when agriculture has largely [...]


Trendspotting: Fast Times

The average American buys 64 items of clothing each year—more than one item per week—spending roughly $1,100 (just 3 percent of this goes to American-made clothes). It’s called “fast fashion,” and all those $10 tank top sales add up; fast fashion pioneers H&M and Zara netted $746 million and $540.2 million, respectively, in recent quarters, [...]


Trendspotting: Debt Sealing

Personal finance will be an “incredibly important” factor for more than half the U.S. (six in 10) during November’s presidential elections. Perhaps that’s because Americans will need the help getting them out of hot water, as consumer borrowing skyrocketed in March—up by $21.4 billion—thanks to auto financing and those locking in low interest rates on [...]


Trendspotting: Eau Dear

A new study has shown that the elderly do, in fact, have telltale body odors (not necessarily offensive ones), thanks to changes in chemical composition as we age. Perhaps you already knew that, because our sense of smell is even more powerful than sight—it makes people pay closer attention to things, inspiring consumers to linger [...]