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This week's top 5 cultural insights and e-commerce trends: 18 January 2019

Business · 3 min read

AOB: 18 January 2019

What are the big stories in commerce? And what do they mean for your business? AOB helps you stay ahead of the curve – here are this week’s top five cultural insights and e-commerce trends from around the world.

Libor is changing

Libor, the benchmark interest rate that banks use to lend to each other, needs to be replaced with a whole new system. The Libor rate “underpins everything from credit-card loans to mortgages,” so if your company has a business loan, pays rent, owns property or is entered into any kind of financial contract, the new system could affect you. 

In the US the new benchmark will be known as 'SOFR' (secured overnight financing rate), and in Europe it will become 'Sonia/Eonia' (the Sterling/Euro overnight index average). As these new benchmarks will not be directly compatible with existing contracts, in some cases the changeover will come at significant cost. And according to a survey by JCRA, many companies still haven’t started preparing – so it’s important to keep your finger on the pulse. 

E-commerce boom in Indonesia

Making deliveries to the 13,466 islands of Indonesia certainly presents a challenge, but that hasn’t stopped a major e-commerce boom in the country. With the value of online goods virtually doubling every year since 2015, to US$8-12bn today, by 2025 the market is estimated to be worth US$53bn.

While Amazon is yet to brave the Indonesian shores, local competitors such as Lazada, Tokopedia and Bukalapak are providing online marketplaces for retailers to sell their products, each boasting monthly traffic of over 100 million users. For anyone looking to explore new international markets, Indonesia is certainly a great place to start. Why not take a look at our article on the Tiger Cub economies for more information on trading with the island nation.

The exhaustion economy

Too much technology, longer work hours, and the pressures of modern living – in 2019 it seems like everything is adding stress and reducing sleep. That’s why companies like Smartfuture are offering a better work-life balance. The Singaporean startup is bringing basic health check-ups to offices, using the Internet of Things and AI technology to design customized diet and fitness plans for employees. Since wellness programs have been proven to boost staff productivity and cut company costs, could your business benefit from this kind of initiative? For more tips on tackling productivity in the workplace, read our article.

Sometimes though, it doesn’t matter how many lunchtime meditation sessions or ‘cuddle-a-puppy days’ your office provides, your brain still can’t switch off when your head hits the pillow. To combat this, there’s been a rise in foods with sleep-inducing additives – with brands such as Nightfood and Moon Juice taking advantage of after-dinner sugar cravings with everything from ice creams and hot chocolates, all designed to help you snooze. Whatever your angle, wellness is the way forward.

The brogawear revolution

Yoga has been a growing activity for women for some time, but now more men are turning to the ancient activity to keep fit. That’s why brands big and small are upping their game when it comes to yogawear and yoga fashion – an old t-shirt-and-shorts combo doesn’t cut it when it comes to the perfect Vinyasa flow. 

Brands such as Nike, with its So We Flow line, are seizing the gap in the market and developing men’s collections. According to figures from men’s yoga brand OHMME, the men’s market is growing at 26% each year compared to 16% for women’s yoga. Lululemon, the high-end women’s yoga brand, plans to grow its men’s category to a US$1bn business by 2020. “Men all over the world are seeing the benefits of yoga, from improving strength and athletic performance to simply staying trim and active,” says Gabriel Cabral, OHMME’s head of marketing.

Clean eating for animals

As we all become more interested in improving our digestive health, we’re also starting to worry about the intestinal goings-on of our pets too. A recent survey by BENEO shows that 58% of pet owners are choosing diet instead of medication to solve digestive problems. 

This trend opens up a huge opportunity in the pet-wellness market, with brands offering popular grain and gluten-free alternatives to traditional pet foods. So, if you’re looking to expand your healthy-eating business, it might be worth considering your customers’ furry friends as your next target consumers.

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