Moodie Davitt NEXUS brings you a fortnightly quickfire summary of (and links to) key stories from the related worlds of travel, retail, luxury, brands and beauty. All have been chosen for their relevance to (or repercussions for) travel retail.

NEXUS is available on dual platforms, both via The Moodie Davitt Report.com and via a regular e-Newsletter.

Curation and editing by Hannah Lewis.

#01 – Jing Daily

Year of the Pig: What to Expect from the Chinese Luxury Market?

Commentators may be heralding the end of the Chinese economic boom but Jing’s Daniel Langer begs to differ. When it comes to luxury, he says, the customer is still there and still willing to spend. But creating the right product and the right brand message is more important than ever before.

Soundbite: It is typical that consumers become more rational when they perceive times getting tougher. And growing more rational means brands come under more scrutiny when purchasing decisions are made. And more scrutiny means that brands with issues in their offering will lose and risk becoming obsolete. 

#02 – CNN

The world needs to start panicking about Brexit

How’s that for an attention-grabbing headline? James Ball’s opinion piece argues that the world should be far more worried about the possibility of a no-deal Brexit than it has been so far. It would, he says, “crash the world’s economy”. Scary stuff.

Soundbite: Britain is an unimaginably sophisticated economy and is in many ways the world’s financial services provider. Its ties across the world economy would take years, if not decades, to unravel. And it stands on the very brink of an economic crisis never seen in living memory.

#03 – South China Morning Post

Luxury goes local as Chinese shoppers gravitate towards home-grown brands

For years, wealthy Chinese shoppers have favoured high-profile international brands over local labels. This is beginning to change, especially among young female consumers. Small and niche Chinese brands are becoming more and more popular. What’s encouraging this, and will they come to rival the big-hitters?

Soundbite: In a report released last month along with US and China-based public relations company Ruder Finn Group, CSG found that 74% of affluent Chinese consumers are aware of at least one Chinese designer, and 45% intend to buy more Chinese designs over the next 12 months.

#04 – Forbes

How Could Changing Consumer Trends Affect Fast-Fashion Leaders H&M And Zara?

Sustainability and environmental impact are growing concerns among consumers. But where does this leave fast fashion? Big players such as Zara and H&M have built their businesses on low prices and an almost mindless consumerism. Can they adapt to meet the needs of the modern consumer?

Soundbite: Contrary to the forces behind fast fashion, there is evidence of movement by consumers of all ages and demographics toward investing in fewer, but higher-quality basics that can be mixed, matched and re-worn, even with the addition of some great vintage accessories.

#05 – Retail Dive

6 key components of the store of the future

Retail conference Future Stores was held in Miami this month. Among the trends predicted by speakers were showrooming, experiential retail and, interestingly, a move away from tech-heavy store design. Another key takeaway was the need to invest more heavily in staff training and satisfaction; a happy staff makes for a happy customer.

Soundbite: “We don’t have tech in our showrooms and it’s intentional, and it’s because she [the customer] is inundated by it… to feel familiar I’m not going to put a nine-foot screen in there. I want her to feel like she’s at home trying on clothes with her best friend.” – MM.LaFleur Director of Experiential Design Caroline Brown.

#06 – Business of Fashion

Why High-Tech Beauty Is a High-Stakes Game

Skincare is big business in China, with the nation’s millennials willing to invest far more than their Western counterparts. Right now, at-home beauty gadgets are trending in a serious way. But, says Business of Fashion, only the very best impress these highly discerning consumers.

Soundbite: At Alibaba’s latest 11 November Singles’ Day shopping festival — which hit a record US$30.8 billion in gross merchandise volume — five of the top ten digital appliances sold were at-home beauty tools. And of the festival’s top ten best-selling products across all categories in 2017, three were beauty devices sold by Swedish firm Foreo, whose Luna Mini 2 silicone facial cleansing gadget came second only to Apple’s iPhone 8.

#07 – The New York Times

A $950 Bong? A $1,475 Weed Grinder? You Can Find Them at Barneys

This is certainly one of the more surprising retail stories of late. Famous US department store Barneys is opening a shop-in-shop at its Beverly Hills location dedicated to cannabis paraphernalia. The aptly named High End aims to elevate recreational use of the drug (legal in California) to new levels of luxury.

Soundbite: The High End will offer all manner of luxe smoker’s paraphernalia: Devambez rolling papers made from organically grown French hemp; handblown water pipes by Siemon and Salazar, a glassware studio in California; stash boxes by the jewellery designer Martine Ali; and joint holders (otherwise known as roach clips) by Good Art Hlywd. Prices will tend toward the premium. A sterling silver pot grinder, for example, will sell for $1,475.

#08 – Jing Travel

Travel Hacks: Hong Kong Is Losing Popularity Among Mainland Tourists, and More Chinese Travel Trends

Jing Daily examines recent trends among Chinese tourists, from movements during Lunar New Year to the destinations rising in popularity. Why is Hong Kong seeing fewer visitors? Where are travellers going instead, and why?

Soundbite: It isn’t just destination marketing organisations that want influencers to help them attract more Chinese tourists — smaller online travel agencies are playing the game as well. Mafengwo, the online travel agency best known for its user-generated reviews, has enlisted the popular idol group ONER as influencers to help boost interest in New Zealand travel among its younger users. 

#09 – Ireland Before You Die

Doolin Hotel Manager Gives EPIC RESPONSE To Negative Review On TripAdvisor

We’re ending on a positive note this week, sharing an article that truly made us smile. We are all welcome – even encouraged – to leave online reviews of our travel experiences. But bear in mind, those who you’re reviewing can see what you write, and they can also write back. Stretching the truth may not be the best idea…

Soundbite: From the title of your review, other readers would think that you inadvertently stumbled into Hitchcock’s Jamaica Inn and that Hotel Doolin was full of brigands and cutthroats, that our staff wear eye patches and pantaloons and are hiding behind the pillars in the lobby, cutlass clenched between our teeth, waiting to jump out and pillage