Pink and blue for all
In 2015, Target made headlines when it removed gender-based signs in its toy aisles. Gender neutral marketing became a trend in 2016, spurred by a younger generation that doesn’t adhere to rigid binaries (for more, see the Innovation Group’s Gen Z survey).
Gender-neutral toy marketing continued in 2016 and spread to clothes, furniture and more.
–In April, Mattell launched its first line of female superhero dolls called “DC Super Hero Girls.” Meanwhile, retailers including the Wonder Crew Buddies created dolls for boys.
–Celebrities including Ellen Degeneres and Jaime King launched gender-neutral clothing lines aimed at children.
–Target’s new kid’s line Cat & Jack also features unisex options. Pillowfort, the chain’s line of bedroom furnishings, skews towards “greater variety, more universal options that could fit in either a little boy’s room or little girl’s room,” a spokesperson told Mashable.
–Toca Boca, a Scandinavian company that makes gender-neutral apps for children, is now one of the largest developers of apps for kids, second only to Disney.
In last year’s trend report, we predicted that algae could make its mark as the next sustainable superfood—if consumers could overcome the “ick” factor. Thrive’s algae oil had just hit the market, a low-fat cooking oil without “any of the flavor ‘baggage’ you’d expect.”
Algae entered the superfood canon in 2016 as health-conscious consumers looked for new ways to enhance their bodies through food.
–Thrive’s algae oil was featured on Today and Vice, who reported “the world will probably be a better place once it does make the crossover based solely on the fact that you can get 425 gallons of the stuff in just one acre of land.”
–Blue Majik brought spirulina, a blue-green algae, to the health food sphere. The powder, which features six times the antioxidants of blueberries, showed up in health smoothies and juices like Holy Water.
–In Australia, Matcha Mylkbar makes a blue-green latte featuring spirulina powder.
–In Bangkok, startup EnerGai is harvesting spirulina on the roof of the Hotel Novotel Bangkok for use in the hotel’s cafe.
–Boston-based ENERGYbits appeared on Shark Tank selling a high-protein algae tablet for athletes.
In December 2015, we predicted that the coming year would see a rise in sound healing, a new form of relaxation and mindfulness practice useful for relaxation in which listeners tune in to the vibrations of tuning forks and singing bowls. If people were in need of new forms of relaxation a year ago, they’re even more motivated now after a year marked by dislocation and discord in many parts of the world.
While initially popular in Los Angeles and New York, sound healing has now grown worldwide and become more diverse:
–In Chester, United Kingdom, the local cathedral is offering a sound bath workshop that aims to “provide the perfect antidote to the stresses of Christmas this year.”
–The Conscious Dance Movement debuted in 2016 in Stockton, California. Participants dance to improvisational sounds from singing bowls, digeridoos and other unusual instruments. Organizers say “it’s about connecting to the prime source through rhythmic sound and vibrations.”
–The Daybreaker morning rave, which incorporates gong sound healing into its programming, moved into Hong Kong and other cities in 2016.
–In Santa Monica, California, Continuum Studio is combining sound healing with virtual reality and projected visuals in a more multisensory meditative experience.
–Sound healing began showing up in shamanic, “new age” rituals from Arizona to Miami Beach as wellness resorts and spas began to incorporate more practices rooted in ancient spirituality.
For more on new spiritual and health practices, download our Unreality report.