A bi-weekly newsletter diving into the concepts, people and brands shaping the future of retail, entertainment and connectivity.
Welcome back to Foresight!
For the first edition of 2022, we’re discussing an exciting acquisition for Nike and its potential impact on where fashion and culture. It’s an innovative move and a natural next step for the brand.
As we begin a new year, it’s prime season for predictions for the year ahead. Below we’re focusing on key augmented reality trends—all big developments in AR but on track given the current speed of innovation.
Questions or comments? Reply to this email—let’s chat!
IDEAS, INSIGHTS & FORWARD-THINKING PERSPECTIVES
Nike invests in web 3.0 with RTFKT acquisition
In a move that signals where fashion and culture are heading, Nike has acquired two-year-old digital fashion startup RTFKT Studios. Aiming to build the “Supreme of digital fashion,” RTFKT has made waves in the digital fashion space creating sellout NFT projects in partnership with artists and tech platforms. The brands’ digital sneakers have sold for the equivalent of $90,000 in October 2020, 600 NFTs selling out in seven minutes for over $3 million in April, and a recent avatar partnership garnering almost $65 million in transaction volume. When announcing the acquisition, Nike made note of the platform’s “next-generation collectables that merge culture and gaming.” “This acquisition is another step that accelerates Nike’s digital transformation and allows us to serve athletes and creators at the intersection of sport, creativity, gaming and culture,” said Nike’s president and CEO John Donahoe, with the intention to grow RTFKT while expanding Nike’s digital footprint.
Nike has been exploring its presence in digital spaces more recently with the launch of Nikeland on Roblox, on top of filing for several metaverse-related trademark applications last month signifying a move into making and selling virtual branded collections. Earlier this year there was also the appointment of a director of metaverse engineering, a clear signal as to where Nike is betting some part of the future of retail lies. Despite virtual worlds only appealing to a small portion of the market, Morgan Stanley estimates NFTs and metaverse gaming will represent 10 percent of the luxury goods market by 2030 and RTFKT could support Nike in this next phase. Cathy Hackl, chief metaverse officer of the Futures Intelligence Group and one of my favourite experts in the space commented, “Nike has led in culturally impactful videos that took branding and their brand to new heights in the web 1.0 and 2.0 eras. This acquisition signals their desire to continue to be leaders in the web 3.0 era.” “The company understands where culture is heading, how community is being built and shows they are looking to embrace and encourage evolution in the metaverse.”
2022 AR predictions
Augmented reality continues to advance at a rapid rate and shows no signs of slowing down. Based on a few trends that will capture the interests of businesses and consumers, the technology is expected to grow exponentially. The selection of trends below stood out on the basis of a few compelling actionable insights. If you’re looking for more on the overall XR landscape in 2022, check out this article by AR Insider.
Metaverse ‘mania’ fades
The arrival of the fully actualized metaverse is years or possibly decades away and when societies’ immediate gratification for these worlds isn’t satisfied right away, the conversation will cool off. The discussion will continue in tech circles however headlines from global news outlets will trickle off, along with mainstream public discourse.
AR ad revenue gets closer to $3 billion
Paid AR ad placements take shape by way of branded lenses that brands pay to amplify and increase awareness on AR networks like Snap and Facebook. Lens popularity is primarily driven by Gen-Z’s affinity for camera-based experiences combined with brands’ attraction to 3D visualization. Developments in LiDAR will allow for increased and higher-quality rear-facing lens campaigns pushing the evolution from front-facing lenses to those that augment the physical world. AR advertising today can be compared to periods where advertisers moved budgets to emerging ad formats, such as in 2005 (search) and 2010 (social).
Further investments in visual search
Pointing a phone at physical objects to identify and contextualize them possesses utility and range across many industries while appealing to camera-native Gen-Z’s mentioned above. With spending power for this group continuing to grow, visual search will advance into an ad-supported medium. The evolution from lenses to visual search is also on a similar path to the evolution of web ad formats.