Nick Richardson, ceo of The Insights People, talks trends and challenges for 2019.
Tell us about The Insights People, who are you and what do you do?
We are a marketing intelligence company that specialise in kids, parents and family market research and insights. We currently operate both in the UK and US, with plans to expand into Europe and Asia in 2019.
We are responsible for producing the most dynamic and comprehensive market intelligence on kids in the UK and US by surveying 400 different UK kids and 400 different US kids every week (a combined 40,000 a year).
By surveying children continually, we can make the data available to our clients in real-time, and in a way which our clients can view, filter and interrogate to their own specific needs through our award-winning portal, which is updating with 300,000 data points every week. In addition, by surveying 5,000 kids a quarter, we can produce four insight-led reports every 12 weeks, which utilise not just our own data but hundreds of other sources which provides additional context.
Following a similar methodology, we also have Parents Insights UK, which surveys 200 expecting and new parents (up to the age of 4) every week.
Our data is then used by brands in both inform strategies across their business and assist with day to day activities and decision making.
What have been some of the trends you have discovered?
Firstly, one of the great things about what we do is that we produce a Future Forecast (www.kidsinsights.co.uk/futureforecast) at the beginning of every year with ten predictions, and it’s fair to say of the ten predictions we made in 2017, nine of them have turned out to be accurate and the one we didn’t get right, I still think will happen – maybe just not for a year or two.
But in terms of actual trends, we saw Fortnite in September 2017. As far as I am aware, we were the first research company to be talking about Fortnite. Not only did we see Fortnite’s epic rise we also predicted (in April 2018) the arrival of Fortnite YouTubers and could see them become one of the most influential personalities…. And a few months later we saw Ninja and Ali-A establish themselves in the top ten most influential YouTubers in the UK.
We have also seen the arrival of Slime, which we feel is part of a bigger arts and crafts trend, which is being driven by the evolution of how kids interact with the screen. Historically the screen has been a destination for kids, with children passively consuming content on the screen. But now we are seeing the screen becoming a gateway, as platforms such as YouTube provide children with the opportunity to self-educate and be able to actively learn and develop a broad range of new skills and interests – from how to do football skills, making slime and complete computer games.
There are many more, from how Go Henry unlocking online spend with younger kids, to how esports has become one of the most popular sports with kids.
How would you describe 2019 in one sentence?
An over-the-top revolution which has the potential to make or break your business.
What do you think the challenges and opportunities are for retail?
There is no doubt 2018 will go down as one of the darkest years for the retail sector. We have lost several beloved brands from the high street, who have been such important aspects of our communities, not just from a consumer perspective but from an employment and economic perspective.
The challenges are not going to disappear overnight. It’s quite clear that traditional retailers cannot compete on price with the non-traditional online specialists. And as we head into such an uncertain time with Brexit the challenges may even increase.
However, there are also a number of exciting opportunities – both based on the latest trends which we are seeing, and our wider research – such as how traditional retailers can embrace innovation and technology to provide more than a product-based transaction, but more of a product and service-based experience, which encompasses significant added value.
And we look forward to continuing to work with the Association of Retail Management to provide Government, town centres, BID, shopping centres and Retailers with access to the most comprehensive and dynamic market intelligence on kids, parents and families.
What do you think the challenges and opportunities are for TV?
I believe we are entering a very exciting time for the TV industry, driven through technology innovation and specifically through interactive TV content, which has the opportunity to be the biggest revolution since the advent of cable TV.
But what excites me so much about interactive TV, is how the timing is perfect. We are seeing how children want to control content and how gamification is a big trend at the moment. That, coupled with personalisation and co-creation, provides the opportunity for TV to transform its current causal relationship with children to become a more immersive and meaningful experience.
What do you think the challenges and opportunities are for gaming?
We have been saying that 2018 has been the start of a gaming revolution and I think we are going to see that revolution really take off in 2019. While computer games have always had an impact, I don’t think any other will have the legacy that Fortnite will leave behind. It has pioneered cross platform play, (something I debated in 2017 with my colleagues as being the next big thing) and has also challenged the commercial model by becoming an OTT game, i.e. being sold direct to consumers in masses without physical or digital intermediaries.
The opportunities for game developers are to embrace this, the challenges for the console market is how to respond.
I also think we will start to see more legislation around computer games and apps. There have been a number of reports in the last two years which have raised concerns linking this generation of computer games and gambling, and I think it’s likely we will see more scrutiny in this area.