10 Aug

Trendswatch | New Business Insight From The Past Week

If there’s one thing last week has showed us, it’s that the retail landscape is changing by the day! Mike Ashley, one of the high-street’s most well-known tycoons is stepping down from the Frasers Group and announced that he is set to hand over his empire to prospective son-in-law Micheal Murry. This was then followed by the announcement that The Hut Group will be taking over the much-loved beauty retailer Cult Beauty, adding to its whopping portfolio of popular brands such as Look Fantastic and Glossybox.  

In terms of trends, today I will be focusing on music-based dating technology, the continuing rise of buy-now-pay-later apps and the UK’s love of bakeries.  

Music-based dating technology 

The days of simply using tinder to find a potential romantic partner are well and truly over.  

Nowadays the choices are endless, from Hinge to Bumble, Happn to the Inner Circle – there’s literally a dating app for everyone. And now to add to this long list of dating choices-…an app for music lovers.    

Entre POM. This week the music-based app gained £1.5 million in a pre-launch angel investment. The app uses intelligent algorithms and psychology to match couples together based off their music preferences. 

Although POM will have to compete with the bigger more well-known dating apps such as Tinder and Bumble, it already has around 25,000 members and a large number of pre-registrations. And with many still isolating due to the pandemic (or pingdemic!) apps like POM are perfect for individuals having to isolate and unable to get out and meet singles.  

This arrival marks a turning point for the ‘dating-app culture’ after years of apps that simply focus on appearances- it could even be the beginning of a new sub-sector of creative dating apps.    

Hopefully, this will allow singles to have a more enriched experience than the usual ‘How’re you?’ and ‘What’s your favourite colour?’.  

The continuing rise of buy-now-pay-later apps  

I’ve spoken a lot about buy-now-pay-later apps, but I thought they’re worth revisiting due to the news surrounding the ‘buy-now-pay-later’ company Afterpay.  

Afterpay is a Melbourne based company which allows retailers to offer customers four individual instalments without interest. This week it was announced that US fintech giant Square is set to buy the Australian payment service for an eye-watering $29bn! 

The deal follows the explosion of buy-now-pay-later providers that have popped up during the pandemic. However, even with Square’s backing, Afterpay will be competing with the likes of Klarna who were one of the original pioneers of the trend and remain a force to be reckoned with in the buy-now-pay-later sphere. Klarna recently increased its valuation to $45.6bn after receiving investment from SoftBank’s vision fund, and it will be hard to knock it from the top spot!  

Alongside this, there is also PayPal’s own service Pay in 4, Sezzle (for students) and Affirm (for large purchases). There’s even talk that Apple is looking to get involved. So Afterpay will have to be on its A game with such hefty competition out there.  

The UK’s love of bakeries  

Pasties, cheese straws, bacon rolls and of course the vegan sausage roll. We all love a bakery, and I think I speak for most when I say they were greatly missed during lockdown.  

This week we found out that the UK’s favourite bakery, Greggs, is set to open 100 new stores by the end of the year as the retailer has returned to profit due to a rebound in sales. In 2019 Greggs ruled the high street, so much so that the bakery ended up being talked about on breakfast television after selling out of vegan sausage rolls! 

The brand struggled during lockdown as the high street was basically decimated overnight, but fortunately the news this week has shown that our love of the vegan sausage roll has not subsided.  

But why do we love bakeries so much? Well the UK’s devotion to bakeries such as Greggs comes down to the fact that although we love a trendy restaurant, we also love our home comforts, and what’s more comforting than a nice cuppa with a fresh muffin!?  

And even with the arrival of American exports such as Kombucha and quinoa salads, it is clear that the UK still remains a bakery loving nation.   

Come back next week for further trends and brand news!