Top 5 retail trends in 2019

Innovative advances in technology, coupled with seamless in-store shopping experiences, are among the top predictions for 2019’s global retail trends.

Toby Pickard, head of insight, innovation, and futures at IGD, said: “In 2019, we’ll see retailers think increasingly about making every moment shoppable. A recent innovation was easyJet making it possible for Instagram users to find and book holidays to new destinations, simply by clicking on a photo they have seen.”

“Whether through targeted marketing or simple ways to make purchasing more seamless, shopping is becoming not just more convenient but more instant as well,” Pickard added. “People will no longer need to visit a retailer’s online store. As they look at pictures, watch videos or TV they’ll be able to just add products to a shopping cart. This has the potential to change the way that retailers think about selling in the future.”

“2019’s biggest trend of all is likely to be the continuation of rapid and radical change in the food and grocery industry. We have already seen a significant pivot towards innovative new technology, and there is no sign of this letting up next year. Shoppers’ expectations have changed, and the retail and grocery sectors are working to meet those expectations in every area of business.”

IGD’s five key retail trends forecast for 2019
1. Data dictates the way: data will be one of the main building blocks of retail growth. 2018 has seen data become more valuable to the retail sector than ever. As well as helping to boost sales, accurate data will be vital for tools that allow retailers to understand customer behavior – reward their loyalty, and offer more personalized shopping.

Through customer datasets, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning in-store, retailers can target products and offers more effectively whilst maintaining appropriate stock levels and improving customer service. Insights gained through closer customer engagement will provide invaluable guidance to retailers looking to grow their businesses: making stronger connections beneficial to both groups.

2. Sustainability concerns will change the way retailers do business: firms will increasingly take the lead on sustainability Issues such as food waste and plastic pollution are headline news, and this has translated to changing attitudes across the generations. Nearly three quarters (74%) of UK shoppers say that they have become more aware of the environmental impact of plastic packaging over the past year, and this has led to innovations such as biodegradable wrapping and plastic-free supermarket aisles. Retailers are no longer thinking about just reducing waste, but want to make a positive, tangible contribution. The next wave of innovative and leading retailers and brands will move beyond reducing their impact.

3. Seamless shopping experiences is key. Physical stores will offer a much more digital experience in 2019, by using technology to make it easier for customers to find items and gain more product information. This should lead to a faster shop for many, where searching aisles and shelves for the right item is replaced by an app that guides shoppers to where they want to be.

Pickard said: “Physical stores offer customers a more tangible shopping experience, where they can see products before they commit to purchase. This gives these spaces an advantage over online providers, and we are seeing stores begin to capitalise on that and add in extras to incorporate more of the benefits of online.”

4. Healthy eating and wellness will grow in popularity. Retailers will play a more active role in supporting the health and wellness of consumers. Most shoppers aspire to eat and live well, with 85% saying they are actively trying to improve their diet, but aspirations don’t always translate into action. Supporting them to both look and feel good will be a major priority for retailers and their suppliers. This means that both consumers and businesses will be thinking more about wellness and the role of retail in promoting cleaner living going forward.

5. Shopping opportunities will increasingly be available anywhere, anytime. Social commerce will grow with more options for purchasing products “on the go”. It is expected that new innovative social commerce solutions to emerge throughout 2019. Retailers and suppliers will deliver targeted marketing, and new ways to make online shopping more social, instantaneous, and convenient.


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CBS folds film dept. to focus on streaming

Films will be folded into CBS Entertainment Group over the next 12 months, according to Variety.

In the meantime, the company will release its next four scheduled films in theaters: Five Feet Apart, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, Pavarotti and Lexi. Several of these movies are being distributed through the company’s partnership with Lionsgate.

After the last of these films debuts in cinemas, CBS will shift toward finding content for the company’s streaming services. These platforms could include CBS All Access, the media conglomerate’s initial entry into the streaming space, but there is no official statement.

Terry Press, president, CBS Films, is expected to continue to lead the division. CBS Films’ name will stay on CBS Films releases.

“As part of our ongoing optimization of CBS operations, CBS Films will be folded into the larger CBS Entertainment Group throughout 2019,” says CBS Corporation via statement. “This will allow the company to further focus its entertainment resources on its television, digital and streaming businesses. We are grateful for the continued leadership of Press and the passionate efforts of everyone at CBS Films.”



You Can Help Shape the Licensing Industry

Apply for the LIMA Board of Directors
Deadline February 8, 2019

Are you passionate about brands and consumer products?   Would you like to share your skills and expertise with a group of other leading licensing professionals who are shaping the industry for future generations?  We’re looking for diverse new voices to fill several openings on the LIMA Board of Directors. Board Members have an opportunity to:

  • Engage with other industry thought leaders who want to make a difference
  • Help drive the decision making that affects the overall industry
  • Have a stronger voice and increased visibility in the licensing industry
  • Give back to the community while growing your professional network

If you wish to be considered for nomination or know someone who would make an excellent candidate for a Board position, we encourage you to submit an application. To be eligible, applicants must:

  • Be a current active LIMA member and been involved in the licensing industry for at least five years
  • Have participated in at least one LIMA activity during the past three years (for example, serving on a Committee or as a speaker/panelist at a LIMA-produced event)

To apply, send an email to Maura Regan, President, detailing your qualifications, areas of interest, and what you feel you can contribute to LIMA and the larger industry as a Board Member.

Applications must be received by February 8, 2019.

Thank you for your interest, and Happy New Year!


Ciarán Coyle, Chairman
LIMA Nominating Committee


CES Notes: A Monster Move, Fashion Brands, Mascots Revamped

From fashion brands woven into electronics gear and time-honored labels revived for gaming and notebook PCs to companies adopting new designs for their mascots and strategies for their products, there were ample changes being made in licensing at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.


Monster Products Adopts Licensing Strategy

Monster Products, long known for developing, designing and sourcing its own high-end speakers, cables and accessories, furniture and other IL01122CESstoryMonsterCableproducts, is now licensing those categories Xtreme Cables/Jem Accessories will launch a full line of Monster HDMI cables, surge protectors, automotive accessories and other products starting this summer. The broad rollout of products follows a six-month exclusive Xtreme had at Walmart for Monster branded products (LED strips, automotive accessories had had last at Walmart, says Xtreme’s Elie Chemtob. Xtreme will position the Monster brand at a premium to its own Xtreme brand cables, surge protectors and other products, which are typically opening price point items, says Chemtob. Monster’s change in strategy follows several years of mounting losses and declining sales after the 2014 sale of Beats Electronics to Apple; Monster had designed and distributed. Beats headphones, speakers and other products, but Apple took that over.


Mascots Getting New Look

To meet a younger audience and the digital age, brand mascots Nipper and Chipper (for the RCA brand) and the Energizer Bunny are getting a make-over. The Energizer Bunny is being recast in an animated version and prepped for licensing, says Linda Morgenstern of Beanstalk, which handles licensing for Energizer. Licensee Funko is developing an Energizer vinyl figure and Beanstalk will seek agreements in apparel and other categories. The remake of the Energizer Bunny is part of redesigned packaging – the first makeover in a decade — for products to be rolled out this year. Nipper and Chipper also were redone for animation and the RCA logo has been redesigned to mark the brand’s 100th anniversary this year, says Claire Villeneuve of Technicolor, which owns the brand and is positioning the mascots for licensing in plush, t-shirts, bags and other products.


Fashion Brands Taking on New Style in Electronics

The fashion world gained some visibility at CES, with the brands of Hearst’s Elle and designer Isaac Mizrahi applied to electronic accessory ranges.

IMG_0038Sakar is readying Elle “Classy Chic” Bluetooth headphones and “All About the Ears” earbuds; beads that double as a cellphone charger cable; and a lipstick case and mirror that can serve as power banks. The Elle products are priced at a slight premium to similar products under Sakar’s own brands.

MiWorld’s Isaac Mizrahi line includes cellphone covers, headphones, ear buds and charger cables and will be targeted to department stores where Mizrahi apparel is sold, says MiWorld’s Judah Uziel. “If you look at Michael Kors, Coach and Fendi” all of which have higher priced electronics accessories, “smartphones and other items are part of everyone’s life and viewed as a fashion extension of the consumer,” says Uziel. MiWorld also fields Bebe headphones and cellphone cases.


What’s in a Name?

Technicolor and Curtis International were at odds over Technicolor’s display of the Thomson brand (marketed mostly outside the U.S. — at its booth. Curtis, which is a licensee for Technicolor’s RCA (TVs and appliances) and Proscan (TV and audio) brands, had also applied the Thomson label to a refrigerator and ice chest displayed at its booth and showed a Thomson sign alongside those for its other licensed brands. The only problem is, says Technicolor’s Claire Villeneuve, Curtis doesn’t yet have a license for the Thomson brand. A Curtis spokesman said product plans haven’t been set and declined further comment.


Rubik’s sells minority stake


Rubik’s Brand, the London-based brand that holds the rights to the Rubik’s cube, has sold a minority stake to European private equity firm Bancroft Investment.

RBL was created by the founding families of the original Rubik’s brand in 2013.

In the last five years, RBL has rolled out a licensing program that has led to collaborations with companies including Google, Red Bull and McDonald’s.

Bancroft’s investment will help the group to further the global awareness of the Rubik’s brand through new channels, products and markets. Christoph Bettin will serve as the company’s new chief executive officer.


ManU opens clubs in China

Manchester United, in partnership with Chinese property developer Harves, will open a series of club-themed entertainment and experience centers throughout China.


The first Manchester United Entertainment and Experience Centers are scheduled to open in Beijing, Shanghai and Shenyang by the end of 2020. They will use interactive attractions and exhibitions to bring the excitement of Manchester United and its Old Trafford stadium to the iconic club’s 100 million followers in China, giving fans a place to celebrate the team.

The Beijing center will be located within the Beijing FUN development, in the historic Qianmen Dashilan area right next to Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City.

Each venue will feature interactive and immersive experiences, using state-of-the-art technology to bring Manchester United to life. Visiting fans will be able to experience the thrill of a matchday at Old Trafford as well as learn the history and heritage of ManU.

Each Manchester United Entertainment and Experience Center will offer visitors a different experience and will include restaurants, along with a club retail store.

“We’re very excited to be partnering with Harves on the Manchester United Entertainment and Experience Centers concept, offering our millions of Chinese fans the chance to experience the club in a new and innovative way,” says Richard Arnold, managing director, Manchester United. “We first visited China in 1975, and we’re proud to have seen our fan base in the region grow and develop their passion for United over the years. This new concept will allow them to get closer to the club they love.”

“Harves is honored to partner with Manchester United and bring our property development expertise in the creation of these centers,” says Bo Zhang, chief executive officer, Harves. “They were the first club to broadcast games in China, and I can remember setting my alarm to watch the best players in the world play. Manchester United was also the first to tour China and the first to host fan events in the country. But they are so much more than a football club. They are always striving for excellence in the way they approach life. We are excited to bring the rituals and emotions of the Manchester United experience to the youth in China, capturing what it feels like to be a member of this elite club. Rooted in its unique approach to training, its storied legacy and leadership and its status as the most successful club in the world, we will create a fully immersive experience that entertains, educates and inspires the next generation of football fans.”


Holiday sales top $850 billion!

Holiday sales increased 5.1 percent to more than $850 billion in 2018, according to Mastercard’s latest Mastercard SpendingPulse report.

According to the report, which tracks retail spending trends across all payment types including cash and check, the uptick was the most substantial growth in six years.

Online shopping increased by 19.1 percent year over year.

“From shopping aisles to online carts, consumer confidence translated into holiday cheer for retail,” says Steve Sadove, senior advisor, Mastercard and former chief economic officer and chairman, Saks Incorporated. “By combining the right inventory with the right mix of online versus in-store, many retailers were able to give consumers what they wanted via the right shopping channels.”

Holiday retail highlights include:

  • Apparel performed well with a growth rate of 7.9 percent over 2017, the category’s best growth rate since 2010. Apparel sales experienced strong momentum from the back-to-school season through Christmas.
  • Home improvement spending grew across the U.S. and increased 9 percent over the holiday season. The trend started before the holiday period and continued through the end of 2018.
  • The amount spent on electronics and appliances fell 0.7 percent.
  • The home furniture and furnishing categories grew by 2.3 percent.
  • Department stores saw a 1.3 percent decline year over year, which follows two years of gains under 2 percent. Online growth for department stores measured at 10.2 percent.

Weather impacted some shoppers. On Black Friday, cold weather struck the East Coast, and wet weather affected both the West and East Coasts on the weekend of Dec. 15-16. Storms also impacted the East Coast on Dec. 21, potentially affecting sales.

Archana Anand, Chief Business Officer, ZEE5 Global

Zipping across the world – Zee5 Global’s Chief Business officer Archana Anand chats with ILP

ILP: You’ve been at the helm of Zee5’s international foray into 190 countries across the globe barring China and the US. Tell us about some of your early learnings.

Archana Anand (AA): It’s very early days yet as we’re just getting started with our campaigns but we’re seeing some superb traction so far. We launched our brand campaign ‘Dil Se Desi’ in November, officially announcing our arrival in APAC, MENA and Africa. This campaign taps into the insight that Indians and South Asians today, wherever they are, are fundamentally rooted in and proud of their culture, and are ‘Dil Se Desi’.

Our campaign vibrantly celebrates this emotion and has been wonderfully received among the South Asian diaspora across countries. We’ve also announced some key partnerships like Netrange, Zeasn etc that will help us reach millions of viewers across APAC, MENA and Africa. We have several more such partnership announcements lined up over the next few weeks. Our sponsorship of Northern Warriors as a new team in the Sharjah T-10 league helped us gain a lot of visibility, especially as they went on to win the tournament. We have a lot of exciting plans and announcements in the pipeline, so it’s a great start!

ILP: Are you targeting the Indian diaspora or looking to convert foreigners from friends to fans?

AA: The Indian diaspora is surely our core target audience given the direct relevance of our content. However, we have content across 12 languages including Hindi, Bengali, Tamil, Telugu etc which is relevant for not just Indians but South Asians in general, with content and stories and a cultural context that they can strongly relate to. OTT players across the globe are turning their attention to offering more localized content as more and more people coming online, especially in developing countries, want content in their local language. This is exactly the need-gap that ZEE5 fills. ZEE5 is that one-stop destination that not only Indians but South Asians across the globe have been waiting for where they can get over 1,00,000 hours of entertainment content across genres in their preferred language.

ILP: How do you navigate the sensitive matter of pricing & revenue models – for eg while countries like Pakistan and Bangladesh will have a combination of AVoD (advertising video-on-demand) and SVoD (subscription video-on-demand) with introductory offers for the latter ranging from $2 to $10, others like the United Kingdom, Germany and the Netherlands will work entirely on the subscription model? Is there a median pricing you are working on?

AA: Our business model varies by country depending on the size of the market and the propensity to pay. In most cases we are freemium ie we offer a host of content that’s free i.e. ad supported. However our premium content especially Originals is behind a paywall. Our pricing across markets is again basis the propensity and ability to pay in that market and ranges from $2-$10.

ILP: Prior to Zee5, Zee TV’s digital play was largely focussed around its LIVE TV service called Ditto TV/OZEE, which did gain some amount of traction, has that service been scrapped and morphed into the new Zee5 app?

AA: With the way digital was growing, it really was a natural transition for ZEE as a media conglomerate to consolidate its OTT offerings dittoTV and OZEE into one single, scalable offering that would be the single digital destination for the Group, which is ZEE5. ZEE5 has not only Live TV but also the largest bouquet of VOD content across languages. It offers 60+ live TV channels, as well over 1,00,000 hours of content across 12 languages, across TV Shows, Movies, Originals, Videos, Cine plays, Music and so much more, and is the largest destination for language content.


ILP: Another phenomenon that seems to have dominated the discussion around OTT services is the glut for original content. Is it just old wine in a new bottle? How does Zee5 plan to compete with services like Netflix, Amazon, and Hotstar on the global stage?

AA: The biggest strength we have is our language content offering across the board, be it TV shows and dramas or movies, and also Originals. We have over 1,00,000 hours of content across genres which we keep adding on to. We have a slew of Originals already launched and many more in the pipeline which are available across key languages. Our recent Original productions like Tigers and Rangbaaz have been extremely well received and appreciated. The digital platform allows for greater experimentation with bolder themes and storylines and that’s what viewers appreciate.


ILP: Tell us about some of the new content you’re creating as well as licensing for the service?

AA: We’re creating a host of originals across 6 languages. We launched our first Original film, Tigers in November. We’ve just launched another tentpole show, Rangbaaz, which chronicles the journey of one of the most feared gangsters of Uttar Pradesh from the ‘90s, and this has been superbly received. Rangbaaz will be available in Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Marathi, Bengali and Malayalam. We have a whole line-up of some very compelling Originals for 2019 – again across languages. All this content is exclusive to ZEE5.

ILP: Does Zee5 plan to bundle its service with cable operators or e-commerce players to ramp up subscribers?

AA: We will be exploring all relevant ecosystem partnerships in order to ensure the largest possible reach and potential audience base for ZEE5. We have recently announced a strategic partnership with NetRange & Zeasn for their line of smart TVs. We’ve also got a lot of other key partnerships in the pipeline and these will be announced over the next several weeks. These partnerships are across IPTVs, Telecoms and OEMs.


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LIMA to Induct Michael Stone and Pam Lifford into Licensing Hall of Fame

The International Licensing Industry Merchandisers’ Association (LIMA) today announced that Michael Stone, Chairman and Co-founder of Beanstalk, and Pam Lifford, President of Warner Bros. Global Brands & Experiences, are the 2019 inductees to the LIMA Licensing Hall of Fame. This year’s Hall of Fame Induction will take place on June 4, at the LIMA Licensing Awards Ceremony during Licensing Expo 2019 in Las Vegas.

“LIMA is proud to celebrate these two widely respected licensing veterans who have dedicated their careers to driving the success of licensing among the broader business community,” said LIMA President, Maura Regan. “Michael has been instrumental in the evolution of brand extension licensing as a highly effective corporate strategy and Pam is responsible for the domestic and international licensing of some of the most highly regarded entertainment franchises in the world. Their recognition in the Licensing Hall of Fame is well-deserved.”

Headshot ColorMichael Stone

Michael Stone is the chairman and co-founder of Beanstalk, an Omnicom-owned, global brand extension licensing agency and consultancy. Beanstalk is the recipient of 23 LIMA Awards and is responsible for some of the most successful licensing programs of all time, including programs for Procter & Gamble, Stanley Black & Decker, Harley-Davidson, The Coca-Cola Company, HGTV, Diageo, and Mary-Kate and Ashley, among others. In addition to teaching the first graduate course in the country specifically on trademark licensing as an adjunct professor for Baruch University, as well as an undergraduate course at Long Island University Post, Stone is an authority on licensing and frequently contributes to Advertising Age, Adweek, Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and other media outlets. Michael has recently authored his first book “The Power of Licensing: Harnessing Brand Equity”.

Untitled design (1) copyPam Lifford

Pam Lifford is president of Warner Bros. Global Brands & Experiences where she leads the alignment of large-scale brand and franchise strategies across the studio’s world-class characters and brands as well as overseeing Warner Bros. Consumer Products, DC, Themed Entertainment and a new Global Franchise team. Lifford’s vision for next-level development of fan-engagement drives the creation of business opportunities designed to reshape how Warner Bros. delivers fan-focused activities. Working in partnership with all divisions of the Studio, Lifford’s team ensures that every touchpoint for cross-company collaboration is maximized. Lifford joined Warner Bros. in 2016 as president of its Consumer Products division where she refocused the Division’s priorities and put strategies in place that increased the business by 47 percent in her first year alone. Prior to Warner Bros., Lifford held an executive leadership position at Disney and Quicksilver, Inc. as well as key roles at Road Runner Sports and Nike.


LIMA Awards 2.0 – Entry Submissions Open

The 2019 LIMA International Licensing Awards are going to be bigger and better than ever with a revamped online submission process, a judging panel made up of licensing executives from around the world and five new award categories, including Best Collaboration and a Newcomer Award. The submission period is now open, so head over to the brand-new LIMA Awards website to learn more about the categories and to start your entry. But hurry, because you only have until February 1, 2019 to throw your hat in the ring!

You can submit your entries here