Ear to the Ground Trends: Tablets, Fingerless Gloves, Shavers & More

Posted on 06. Dec, 2011 by in Stats & Trends



An ear to the ground assessment of trends, including touchscreen mobile phones impact on fingerless gloves, shaving in a financial crisis, travel toiletries, and more importantly, the tablet revolution.

It’s winter, it’s cold, you’ve gloves and hat on, standing waiting for the bus. The bus is late so you turn to your touchscreen mobile, iPhone in my case, to check when the bus is due. It is at that moment when you realise those heavy-duty Thinsulate gloves aren’t fit-for-purpose, having to take them off to finger your way about your touchscreen mobile phone. Wishing you had an keypad mobile now, eh, as your fingers turn blue.

Fingerless Gloves

Fingerless gloves are the solution; keep your hands warm, yet still be able to use your touchscreen.

Of course, fashion and tech savvy readers don’t need me to tell them that; looking at Google Trends, the first winter after the iPhone’s release in June, 2007, you were already all-over fingerless gloves.

Google Trend for fingerless gloves

Google Trend timeline for fingerless gloves

Plus, LA Times covered a similar story too, of course with less digitalism like mine. That aside, there’s a lesson to be learned here – spotting emerging trends.

Keeping Your Ear to the Ground

Keeping your ear to the ground is an English saying that suggests you:

“…pay attention to everything that is happening around you and to what people are saying.”

A HSBC television advert sums up the saying perfectly – a man is sent to India to find out why washing machine sales are up. He soon finds out they’re being used to mix juice.

I think keeping your ear to the ground is easy; you just need to be perceptive. Here’s two further examples that I like:

Travel Toiletries

When flying, one must meet travel regulations by only carrying 100ml (or less) liquid toiletries, such as toothpaste and aftershave, and be kept in a see-through bag.

When that rule was enforced (April 2010), Google Trends represents the demand for travel toiletries surges.

Google Trend for travel toiletries

Google Trend timeline for travel toiletries

Shaving in a Financial Crisis

Employers suggest they prefer job candidates who are clean shaven when attending job interviews. With unemployment at an all-time high in Britain, male candidates looking to shave for job interviews resulted in an increase of shaving searches.

Google Trend for razors

Google Trend timeline for razors

Digital Trend: Tablets

If you’ve been keeping your ear to the ground, you’ll have noticed another interesting trend – mobile phone retailers like Carphonewarehouse offering free tablets as part of their mobile phone contract bundles – buy a contract mobile phone, get a free tablet.

Carphonewarehouse Advert

Advert from the Carphonewarehouse website

Mobile phone retailers need to keep reinventing themselves to makes sales. Mobile phone contracts are rising; they were once 12 months, there now 18-24. That means as more people take out contracts, opportunity for growth is reduced – everyone’s already on a contract. Introduce a product bundle where you get a free tablet (or games-console in the past) and you’ve a new ‘hook’ to attract consumption. I think it will work.

As mobile phone contracts begin to expire, or new mobile phones are released, I believe this will result in greater tablet use – people will have tablets accessible free, as part of a product bundle. Tablet increase will then in-turn impact how users view, use and convert on ‘traditionally’ desktop websites. If your website isn’t optimised for tablet or you’re not even at the mobile stage, then act or struggle in the future. The BBC has invested; check out their new homepage – touchscreen focused.

Google Trend for tablet

Google Trend timeline for tablet

What do you think; are mobile phone retailers going to spark greater tablet use? Can you name any other trends that have emerged based on the actions of others?

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