Category Archives: Design and Innovation

How the Kitchen Industry is Tackling Food Waste


With food waste and saving the pennies high on the consumer agenda, kitchen appliance giants are helping householders understand their actions and change their attitude to throwing away food.  

Every year across the globe, 1.3 billion tonnes of edible food is thrown away according to the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations.  In the UK alone, we throw away more than 7 million tonnes of food every year and a typical family wastes £60 a month, or £720 a year.

In the UK alone, we throw away more than 7 million tonnes of food every year and a typical family wastes £60 a month, or £720 a year. Click To Tweet

This waste in turn amounts to a major squandering of resources, including water, land, energy, labour and capital, and needlessly produces greenhouse gas emissions, contributing to global warming and climate change.

According to research carried out for Whirlpool EMEA, in the UK we have a tendency to buy and cook too much, and then forget about our actions, letting food linger in the fridge or cupboard until it becomes inedible. In fact, the research reveals that about a third of all food produced is either lost or wasted through poor planning.

Hotpoint – Fresh Thinking for Forgotten Food 2018 – Food waste infographic

These stark figures are behind a campaign by Jamie Oliver and Whirlpool brand Hotpoint – ‘Fresh Thinking for Forgotten Food’.

Food waste is an everyday problem all of us face, and we’re often not aware that with just a little bit of know-how, a huge volume of the food we throw away can be transformed into delicious, tasty things,” says Oliver.

Along with sharing Oliver’s tips and recipes, in October Hotpoint also unveiled its Fresh Thinking Pop-Up Café in East London to help spread the word.



But behind all this is a message to consumers to harness the brand’s refrigeration technology. According to Hotpoint, maximising its precision temperature control, and Active Oxygen technology, and storing food correctly using the innovative 3-in-1 Zone, ensures ‘day one food freshness’ and helps keep food fresher for longer.

Hotpoint Active Oxygen Technology

Hotpoint isn’t the only brand raising food waste awareness in tandem with promoting its advancing refrigeration capabilities. Earlier this year, Grundig partnered with three-Michelin-star chef Massimo Bottura for its Respect Food programme. While not as high-profile as Oliver, Bottura’s restaurant in Modena, Osteria Francescana, was voted World’s No.1 Restaurant this year for the second time in William Reed Business Media’s World’s 50 Best Restaurants list.   And Bottura is already an established campaigner in this area having founded non-profit organisation Food For Soul, which helps raise awareness of food waste and social isolation.

“Our Respect Food programme spans both product development and working with partners to reduce waste and use surplus food for good causes,” says Grundig.  Its latest GQN21220WX fridge-freezer features a Full Fresh+ crisper drawer that controls humidity levels, which the brand says keeps fruit and vegetables fresh for up to 30 days, as well as a Vitamin Care Zone that preserves the vitamin C content in fruit and vegetables by simulating natural light.

Full Fresh by Grundig

As far as appliance manufacturers are concerned, food waste is the big story and things are advancing fast. At IFA this year, Sharp launched its VacPac Pro Four-Door fridge-freezer that enables consumers to pack and store food without air by placing it a vacuum sealer bag, and then using the automative vacuum sealer on the front of the appliance to suck out the air. The brand says that this preserves food for up to eight times longer.

Also at IFA, Haier revealed its combination fridge-freezers with technology that reduces oxygen in the storage compartment to slow down food ageing.

However, appliance manufacturers aren’t the only ones with an eye on food waste as an area where they can deliver solutions. A prototype of the Mimica Touch food freshness indicator, which enables consumers to avoid throwing food away unnecessarily, was showcased at this year’s 100% Design.

Meanwhile, connected home company Smarter has adopted a more direct approach and is tackling the wasteful purchasing behaviour itself. Its FridgeCam wireless camera takes a photo of the fridge contents every time the door is closed, and has a ‘best before’ tracker to show which items are about to expire. It can be remotely accessed via an app so the user can check the fridge contents when they’re out and about, and avoid buying items they don’t need.

According to Smarter, this simple – but effective – strategy can help reduce food waste by up to 50%.


The Psychology Behind the Popularity of the Hexagon


When it comes to wall and floor tiles, the hexagon has been having a moment, and according to Sam Waxman, managing director of Waxman Ceramics, this trend is “showing no signs of slowing down”.

We’ve seen an increase in demand for geometric shapes over the past few years with hexagonal patterns coming out on top, year on year,” Sam says. “They’re a firm favourite for a multitude of projects due to their ability to create both classic and contemporary looks with ease.”

Our current and enduring love of the hexagonal shape is beyond question. But could it be that it may stem from something far deeper and more instinctive than just our natural appreciation of pattern? After all, when you think of turtle shells and beehives, it’s a design that nature has favoured since time began.

Could the trend for the hexagon shape in interiors stem from something far deeper and more instinctive than just our natural appreciation of pattern? Click To Tweet

From honeycombs to pineapple skin, to the basal columns called the Giant’s Causeway, this naturally forming geometric shape is all around us,” says Justin Lashley, specification sales at Waxman Ceramics Architectural Tiles.

Giants Causeway, a natural hexagonal-shaped rock formation in Northern Ireland

In fact, the more you think about it, the more you realise that we’ve incorporated the six-sided polygon everywhere – we’ve added it to footballs, to bolts, to pencils. Are we hardwired to love the hexagon in spite of ourselves? And has the fact that we’re accustomed to being surrounded by it imbued us with an affinity that we can’t resist?

Lashley believes so.

There’s a simple reason this trend won’t go away – nature and science won’t allow it,” he says. “As tessellating shapes go, it’s supreme as it can circumscribe the largest area for a given perimeter. So from the gigantic hexagonal cloud storm on Saturn, to the microscopic heart of a snowflake, hexagons are here to stay.”

There’s a simple reason the Hexagon trend won’t go away – nature and science won’t allow it - Justin Lashley, Waxman Ceramics @WaxmanCeramicHQ Click To Tweet

It’s this surge in popularity that has led the Waxman Ceramics to introduce two exclusive new tile ranges – the Hudson and the Marseille. Both of these collections capitalise on the trend for textures in tiles, seen over the past few years, and also the current passion for all things hexagonal – and this combination is proving a hit with consumers.

Waxman Hudson Range
Trend-Monitor-Tile Trends-Hexagon
Waxman Marseille Range

Sarsen Stone brand Ca’ Pietra has also caught the hexagonal wave. Its patterned Lily Pad tile has become an Instagrammer’s icon, to the extent that as well as having the original cement encaustic version, the company has recently launched a porcelain version at a lower price point to capitalise on demand.

Ca’Pietra Lily Pad


Ca’ Pietra LilyPad Eucalyptus

“The Lily Pad pattern tile has earned its popularity thanks to its versatility,” says Hamish Smith, creative director of Ca’ Pietra. This versatility is purely down to its hexagonal shape. It’s possible to create up to three entirely different, striking patterns and effects by rotating the tile. “You can use it to make a shower area stand out or give floors the ultimate visual feast,” says Smith. “It can make a small bathroom feel larger than the space it occupies. It’s ideal for adding a splash of colour to any room, while making a design statement in modern and traditional interiors.”


Influencer Interview – Sian Parsons, Senior Lighting Designer, John Cullen Lighting


Recent Trend-Monitor research into kitchen purchasing trends highlighted a growing popularity for zoned kitchen lighting over the past two years, indicating that kitchen lighting has become a key trend in kitchen design.  We talked to Sian Parsons, Senior Lighting Designer at John Cullen Lighting, to find out how consumers are increasingly engaging with this trend.

Interview by Emma Hedges

TM. According to Trend-Monitor’s research into consumer purchasing trends, kitchen lighting has grown in popularity over the past two years. Why do you think that is?

SP. The emergence of LED technology with its miniaturisation of light fittings has helped lighting become much more accessible to the average home. Ceiling-recessed downlights regularly don’t exceed 70mm in diameter and require far less ceiling recess depth than their halogen counterpart, while under-cupboard lights have become smaller and cooler in temperature, making them easier to integrate into wall units.

With the huge technological changes in modern LED lighting, the benefits of a well-designed lighting scheme have made their way into the average consumer’s awareness, and the kitchen is an obvious place to start to experience the advantages.

TM. How has the trend for open-plan living affected the way in which lighting is used in the kitchen?

SP. Open-plan living has definitely led to changes in the way kitchen lighting is designed. In a space used for evening relaxation, it is possible to create a softer light in the kitchen to be left on when that space isn’t being used. Dimming under-cupboard lighting, or illuminating open shelving or glass-fronted units is a great way for consumers to achieve this, as well as low-level floor washing.

There is a strong trend for pendants over an island, which can also be used to create an intermediate warmth to the kitchen zone, while brighter lighting illuminates the living area. Zoning – circuiting – the different lighting layers allows for maximum flexibility.

Open Plan Living Room Light and Dark by John Cullen Lighting

TM. Are there any other factors that have affected the way in which lighting is used in the kitchen?

SP. Nowadays, dining tables aren’t necessarily just used for intimate evening dining. They can double up as a work space for adults and children alike, so ensuring it is possible to maintain a bright level of light over this surface has become important. This is often achieved by using downlights over the table to achieve a brighter uniform light.

Dimmers have become extremely popular, and can be used to soften a bright light over a work space so it can be transformed into an intimate dining area. Decorative wall lights or lamps are also being used to help boost light levels. If a desk is being introduced to a space as a designated work area, it is possible to give it its own task light, locally switched for maximum control.

Kitchen tables can double up as a work space for adults and children alike, so ensuring a bright level of light over this surface has become important - Sian Parsons, John Cullen Lighting @johncullenlight Click To Tweet

TM. What are the different types of lighting required in a contemporary open-plan kitchen design?

SP. Layering of lighting is key to open-plan kitchens. Now it’s possible to separate the kitchen working lights, such as downlights, from the dining table, and keep these separate to the more task-like under-cupboard lighting. A mid-level light source is often used, such as wall lights or lamps for a softer evening glow – again, making sure all lighting circuits are on dimmers makes an open-plan space more versatile, as the mood can be brightened or softened as required.

Kitchen in different moods by John Cullen Lighting

TM. Have you noticed any particular trends emerging in kitchen lighting?

SP. The main trend in kitchen lighting has been the introduction of more decorative light fittings. More usually found in living and dining rooms, lamps and pendants that create a softer lighting effect are increasingly being found alongside the more usual task lighting elements found in kitchens.

There is a wealth of different styles now available to the consumer, which helps link these items to the overall decorative scheme of the space. There is also an emerging trend for linear LEDs, which can be incorporated into open shelving, set on top of tall/wall units for a boost of light or at low level to create a floor wash effect. The miniature size of these strips helps their integration into joinery, and as a low-maintenance option with very little heat, they are a joy to design with.

Recent Trend-Monitor research into kitchen purchasing trends highlighted a growing popularity for zoned kitchen lighting over the past two years, indicating that kitchen lighting has become a key trend in kitchen design Click To Tweet



Recent consumer research by Trend-Monitor looks at kitchen purchasing trends 

Find out more

Lochside House – RIBA House of the Year 2018

Lochside House RIBA house of the year 2018

Lockside House, a beautiful new home in the West Highlands, has been named ‘House of the Year 2018’ by RIBA.

Designed by architects HaysomWardMiller Architects, Lockside House is a small-scale, sustainable home made from local materials, which sits on the edge of a lake in the West Highlands.

The house was chosen for RIBA House of the Year by a panel of judges made up of architects Takero Shimazaki, Niall Maxwell and Chantal Wilkinson, curator and journalist Laura Mark, and engineer Paul Rogatzki.

Shimazaki described the building as “a well-designed home that is an example of humble, grounded, contextual yet powerful architecture that people can aspire to and be inspired by.  It is astonishing that the remoteness and challenging weather did not prevent the client’s vision being achieved”

Photo copyright Richard Fraser

He said. “The architect’s off-grid solution seems almost effortless. Inside, the spaces merge with the artist owner’s art collection, and there is an overwhelming sense of comfort, warmth and homeliness.”

Photo copyright Richard Fraser

The house is formed of three crafted buildings grouped together, clad in burnt Scottish larch cladding and protected by drystone walls. The roofing echoes the mountains and the walls pick up the horizontal sediments of the rocks.


Bathroom Design Trends Spotted at Sleep+Eat 2018


It was a big year for the Sleep + Eat Event – not only was it the first time it had exhibited at Olympia, having previously been located at the Business Design Centre, but it was also the first time it had added the ‘+ Eat’ element to proceedings.

But while it’s now also about restaurant and bar spaces, the two-day show in November remains the go-to bathroom design destination for architects and designers from all over the globe – Trend-Monitor did a tour of the show to find out what’s trending in the bathroom sector.

Trend No.1 Wellness

Wellness has been at the forefront of bathroom design for some years, and is not going away any time soon. Dornbracht’s new Aquamoon ‘multisensory water experience’ was being shown for the first time in the UK and took centre stage on the company’s stand.

Dornbracht Aquamoon

Featuring three different flow modes, it also offers changing mood lighting, and marketing co-ordinator Alison Clarke explained that hotel designers are now incorporating spa elements in hotel suites, rather than reserving them just for the spa area of the hotel. She envisages this trend filtering through to the residential market and family bathrooms too.

Grohe, founder sponsor of the show, was highlighting its SmartControl shower systems. The Rainshower System SmartControl 360 DUO features a lozenge-shaped head shower that mirrors the width of the human body to deliver a shoulder massage, while the Bokoma Spray has two pulsating spray patterns to provide a head massage.

GROHE SmartControl Shower System



Hansgrohe was exhibiting its Intense PowderRain technology – a soft spray, which consists of dozens of micro-fine sprays, that is both completely drenching and extremely pleasant.

Hansgrohe Intense PowderRain
Wellness has been at the forefront of bathroom design for some years, and is not going away any time soon Click To Tweet


Trend No.2: Multigenerational

The trend for multi-generational products continued to be in evidence in the form of flush-to-floor shower trays, a wealth of new shower-toilet models that are making their way into the UK market, and products that could be adapted to suit different needs.

Also in evidence was the concept of the bathroom as a communal space. VitrA’s latest designer collaboration is the Plural collection by Terri Pecora, which envisages the bathroom as a social hub where people reconnect with themselves and those close to them. The organic-shaped elements can be used in multiple combinations, and angled to face each other, so several people can use the bathroom at the same time in a sociable way.

Plural 4 by Terri Pecora for VitrA

Trend No.3: Individualism

Consumer demand for products they can adapt and create a bathroom environment that is bespoke to them continues to grow. Grohe’s SmartControl shower system enables the user to preset the temperature and enjoy a tailored showering experience via the broad choice of spray options. It also offers EcoJoy – an eco-friendly/water-saving function.

Vado’s Sensori SmartTouch technology allows you to save your temperature, flow and operating time to create your ideal shower every time you use it.

Vado Sensori SmartTouch

The growing appetite for individualising interiors style was also evident at the show. The Axor MyEdition collection offers 15 special FinishPlus surfaces with which to adapt brassware. Crosswater was also trialling different marble handle options to customise its brassware, and shower manufacturers Merlyn and Roman were offering a broad selection of finishes to customise their hinges.

Crosswater Concept

Trend No.4: Soft Matt Surfaces

When it comes to colours, there was a tentative move into the grey and soft pastel end of the colour spectrum, with a particular emphasis on matt finishes.

Bette was showcasing its new Blue Satin effect on its BetteLux Oval Silhouette bath, which is also available in other colours and 22 matt options.

BetteLux Oval Silhouette bath by Bette

Kaldewei was exhibiting its Miena washbasins, which are available in a range of neutral matt shades, and it was also showing its Perfect Match bathroom solutions shown in Oyster Grey.

Kaldewei Perfect Match Oyster Grey Matt

Alape’s Terra group of delicate washbasins were being shown in four soft pastel shades with a matt finish. 

Alape Terra

Black – last year’s favourite finish – was still in evidence on the VitrA and Victoria + Albert Baths stands, and also in Crittall-effect shower enclosures in Roman’s and Novellini’s displays.

When it comes to colours in the bathroom, there is a tentative move into the grey and soft pastel end of the colour spectrum, with a particular emphasis on matt finishes. Click To Tweet

Trend No.5: Slim Shapes

As new materials and production techniques evolve, basins in particular are being produced with the slimmest rims that technology allows. On display on the Dornbracht stand were Alape’s Aqua range of washbasins, which are made from steel and then given a gloss glaze.

VitrA’s Plural washbasins also feature slim rims, and were on display accompanied by tall slender brassware to go with them. Meanwhile, Laufen was showcasing the capabilities of its SaphirKeramik in the new Sonar range designed by Patricia Urquiola. The material is extremely strong and is able to tolerate being shaped into thin but robust walls.

SaphirKeramik in the Sonar range by Patricia Urquiola for Laufen


Find out about the trends from all the UK and overseas Trade Shows here>


Influencer Interview – Carina Buhlert, Senior Design Manager Brand Environments at Grohe


At the Sleep + Eat event, which took place on 20 – 21 November 2018 at Olympia in London, Emma Hedges caught up with Carina Buhlert, Grohe’s Senior Design Manager Brand Environments, to hear about the trends that Grohe is tapping into, and how the brand is connecting with today’s consumer

Interview by Emma Hedges


TM. Do you think that consumers are starting to embrace technology in the bathroom more?

CB. Yes – technology is a big topic because it’s connected to the megatrend of health. If you think about the way we’re always trying to quantify ourselves and enumerate our height and weight and so on, it is not only about constantly improving ourselves but about us starting to have an understanding of our own self-care. This is something that people are more attentive to, and it’s going to be more relevant in both bathrooms and kitchens. Technology also has everything to do with sensorial experience and being able to customise a bathroom, to fit the users’ individual needs. This will also be more important in the future with multi-generational housing and adapting products to suit different needs at the same time.

TM. What are the key trends at the moment in bathroom design?

CB. Wellness is a key trend. The bathroom used to be a place where you just went to clean yourself. But now, when you look at all the digital products that we have surrounding us constantly in everyday life, the bathroom has become somewhere you go to find sanctuary and have a digital detox, and where you can engage in rituals and experience wellness in your home environment.

The bathroom has become somewhere you go to find sanctuary and have a digital detox - Carina Buhlert, Grohe Click To Tweet

TM. Is water efficiency an important factor?

CB. At Grohe we design products with sustainability and water management in mind – our SmartControl technology is one example of more dynamic control of water usage and water consumption. And our Sense & Sense guard product ensures water security by detecting micro leakage and ensuring whole home water efficiency.

TM. As Senior Design Manager Brand Environments, how do you set about connecting with today’s consumer?

CB. At Grohe, we design for people – and we don’t just design products, but engaging design experiences as well. We think about what consumers really desire when they visit a Grohe showroom and we want to inspire them. First of all we create a multi-sensorial experience for them with our AquaSymphony water installation, in order for them to have an emotional experience with our products. Then we welcome them individually with a glass of water with Grohe Blue and provide them with a beverage experience. And then as well as that, we give them lifestyle inspiration, and explain to them how our technology works. At the end of the process – at the moment when the customer actually commits to the brand – we supply a service that provides everything they need, from deliveries to planning their bathroom or kitchen.

TM. You’re expanding the number of finishes you have, and here at the show you’re exhibiting shower trays for the first time – what’s the thinking behind that?

CB. The number of products that we cover is expanding because we’re trying to give the consumer a full bathroom solution. We provide everything from the most spa-like showering experience to the most functional one, so we have to consider every little need the customer might have and react to that.

Grohe Bau Ceramics with Shower Tray

Even bathroom furnishings are changing – they actually make the bathroom look more like a living room than a bathroom, and we have to think about what this means for our colour finishes when we’re designing. Colours are a big trend as they’re connected to the whole trend of individualisation – we need to provide the consumer with the ability to create what they want without having to search for it because they’ve found everything they need at Grohe. When we think about the end of our journey with the customer in our showrooms, by then we want them to have a very good relationship with our brand so they feel right at home. And I think we’re doing pretty well with that.

Colours are a big trend as they’re connected to the whole trend of individualisation – we need to provide the consumer with the ability to create what they want without having to search for it - Carina Buhlert, Grohe Click To Tweet


Mimica Touch Freshness Indicator


The average UK household loses an estimated £470 a year because of avoidable food waste, and 34% of this household waste is due to the food going past it’s ‘use by’ or ‘best before’ date, when in reality the discarded food is still edible.

If food waste was a country, it would be the third largest producer of greenhouse gases in the world, after China and the US.  In the UK, 60% of all wasted food is perfectly edible.  The reason for this is cautious expiry dates which are kept short by the food industry to be on the safe side.

With this in mind, the Mimica Touch is being developed.  Spotted at 100% Design this year, this freshness indicator degrades at the same rate as the food it carries, meaning generic expiry date labels can be replaced with packet-specific labels, thereby helping to prevent the premature rejection of food and drink.

Mimica Touch is a patented tactile label that tells you exactly when food spoils, accurate to a few hours.  The label is activated as soon as it is attached to the packaging and contains a gel that is calibrated to spoil at the exact same rate as the target food.  The gel is made from waste materials from the food industry, meaning that it is actually experiencing decay, adjusting to conditions along the way and is accurate to one hour.





Interior Design Trends spotted at 100% Design 2018


100% Design is the cornerstone event of The London Design Festival. Held at the Olympia exhibition centre between 19th and 22nd September 2018, this trade event is a vast showcase for more than 400 architects, product designers and interiors specialists.

Dividing the exhibition centre into areas for the workplace, interiors, emerging brands and for those working in the construction and architectural industries, the fair hosts product launches for decorative lighting, furniture and fittings as well as providing a platform for newcomers.

Trend-Monitor went along to find out how the key trends in interiors are looking as we head towards 2019

Interior Design Trend #1. Plywood

The material of the moment at this year’s 100% Design was definitely Plywood.  It featured everywhere from kitchens to bathrooms, from furniture to screens, as the main feature or as detailing.

X-Ply Desk



Stacked Coffee Table by Studio Hemal Patel


Odd Dot


Interior Design Trend #2. Laser Cut Detailing

Another key trend which crosses the different areas of the home, laser cut detailing was seen at 100% Design this year in both interior and exterior applications.

‘Airflake’ deadens noise whilst letting in the light


Handcrafted lighting by Neb Abbot


Laser cut panels by Stark + Greensmith


Interior Design Trend #3. Curvy Concrete

Concrete is revealing another side to its nature; the softer, curvaceous and sometimes colourful side.  As the trend for concrete in interiors develops, the use of natural fibre concrete is moving this increasing popular material into thinner, more elegant shapes.  And the addition of colour extends its appeal to a wider interior audience.

Natural fibre concrete ‘Seater’ by Tina Rugelj at Concrete Garden


Waxed concrete based decorative surface by Design-Concrete

Interior Design Trend #4. Bamboo

As a beautiful, tactile and sustainable alternative to wood, bamboo is growing in popularity and at 100% Design the focus was on it’s suitability as a kitchen application.


Moso bamboo surfaces


Real Green is the UK’s first fully sustainable and accredited kitchen furniture range and it’s manufactured entirely from solid bamboo.  Real Green also carries globally recognised certifications for its use of sustainable materials and manufacturing processes.

Real Green’s bamboo kitchen


Interior Design Trend #5. Natural Embossing

Here we see two key interior design trends combined, the use of natural elements such as leaves and flowers to create detailing in the form of embossing.

Botanical Glass Casting by McGuire Glass


Lichen Carpet Collection by the Mohawk Group


‘Frozen Leaves’ metal finish by Metall-FX


And finally …

We couldn’t leave 100% Design without mentioning Pluck and Hug by guineapig.  These soft, tactile oversized bulbs are ‘huggable’ and the harder you hug the more they light up and glow.

And lets face it, who couldn’t do with a hug every now and again.


Pluck & Hug by guineapig


Pluck & Hug by guineapig



Dulux Colour of the Year 2019

Dulux names ‘Spiced Honey’ as their Colour of the Year for 2019.

2018 was an unsettling and unpredictable time,’ says Dulux,  ‘We were overwhelmed by the deluge of news, choices and demands upon our time, causing us to close up and retreat into spaces where we feel safe and cocooned. We pressed pause and took time to regroup.


Spiced Honey


‘As we move forward into 2019, we find this pause has given people time to re-energise and deal with the sense of unpredictability with positive action, optimism and purpose. If the unpredictability of last year forced people to retreat and regroup, 2019 is the time for their awakening. We are ready to “Let in the Light“.

Heleen van Gent, head of the Global Aesthetic Centre, who chairs the ColourFutures panel annually, explains: ‘Every year, we seek to transform a trend into a colour that responds to consumer needs and enables them to bring a mood, affecting their life, in to their homes.

‘In 2019, as a society, we want to reach out, engage with our communities, make things better and “be the change” – anything from supporting charities to small acts of neighbourly kindness. It’s time to act and Spiced Honey enables transformation inspiring a positive, emotional change.’

How Dulux’s Colour of the Year is decided

2019 marks the 16th year of the global ColourFutures annual trend forecast from Dulux, which involves an expert panel of colour designers, design specialists, trend forecasters, architects and editors from around the world joining together to discuss what we increasingly need from the spaces around us. Capturing a universal theme, they finally suggest a colour that suitably embodies the mood of the moment for the year ahead.

Source:  Dulux

Smart speaker ownership doubles


Smart speaker ownership among Britons has doubled since last autumn, with one in ten Britons now owning a smart speaker device

According to new research by YouGov, while just one in twenty (5%) Brits owned one of the smart speaker devices in Q3 2017,  in Q1 2018 ownership has doubled to one in ten (10%).

The Smart Speaker study shows that while Amazon remains the main player in the industry its market share is shrinking as new entrants come into the sector. Currently, Amazon smart speakers (which use the ‘Alexa’ digital interface), such as the Echo, make up three quarters (75%) of the market, but this is down from 88%. Close to one in ten (9%) smart speaker owners now have a Google Home Mini, 7% have a Google Home (full size), while 2% have an Apple Home Pod and 1% own a Sonos One.

YouGov’s report also analysed how smart speaker owners are using their devices. Seven in ten (71%) say that they use their smart speaker for playing music, nearing six in ten (58%) use it to answer general questions, while just under half use it to set alarms and reminders (49%), or access news or weather forecasts (47%). Notably, over a third (34%) say they interact with other smart devices using their speaker, while nearly a quarter (26%) said they bought their smart speaker specifically because it can integrate with other devices.

However, the study finds that there is not an overwhelming demand from the public for smart speaker, with just 5% of the UK population being in the market for one. Although, among those who are looking to buy a device, four in ten (41%) expect to get it within the next six months.

The research shows that older people are more likely to have a smart speaker. A third of owners (33%) are aged 55 and over, while 23% are in the 45-54 age group. Only 10% are aged 18-24.

While Amazon has lost smart speaker market share in the past six months, ownership of its devices continues to grow and it remains the dominant player in the industry. However, because demand among the public for a smart speaker is only modest, the brands that stand to gain most are likely to be ones who can either bundle ownership up with other services or can demonstrate how useful devices can be when it comes to accessing information, goods and services. From both standpoints, Amazon is well placed.

As more people adopt connected domestic devices, the usefulness of a connected speaker – which integrates with other area of a connected home – will become greater. While we are not yet at a critical mass for ownership, when we are, brands will have a great opportunity to market their products more effectively.

Source:  YouGov