The urge to splurge
Is it just me, or does it seem like more and more companies are offering “premium” versions of their products and services?
From “specialty” lululemon socks labeled with “L” and “R” to Hulu without ads, brands are hoping to attract customers who are willing to pay extra for what they perceive as higher quality goods and services. This trend is called “premiumization,” and it’s not just limited to luxury brands anymore.
🍩 Krispy Kreme has added premium products like glazed crullers, mini doughnuts, and fruit-filled pastries that cost more than its original glazed doughnuts. Don’t I know it.
🚲 WD-40 launched a line of products that target specific needs like rust removal, electrical contact cleaner, and bike chain lubricant.
🍅 Heinz created a blended line with Balsamic Vinegar, Sriracha, and Caramelized Onion & Bacon varieties to appeal to customers who are looking for that extra flavor kick to pair with their favorite foods.
While premiumization has been around for a while (hello Starbucks), it’s become more widespread recently. According to The New York Times, executives from top performing companies have been talking about the concept in their earnings calls and investor meetings.
So why the sudden focus on premiumization? One reason is that companies are looking for ways to boost revenue and growth, and targeting wealthier customers is one way to do that. Another factor is that the pandemic has created a desire for self-care and pampering, leading some people to splurge on nicer products.
But there’s a downside to premiumization, too. As companies put more emphasis on their high-end offerings, they may neglect developing more affordable options. This could mean that lower-income Americans have fewer choices when it comes to basic necessities, which isn’t the best look. Already, the auto market is becoming less accessible for many people. In 2017, 36 car models were priced below $25,000, but by the end of 2022, that number had dropped to just 10. Ouch.
As fun and alluring as the pull of premiumization can be, this trend runs the risk of leaving a lot of people behind in the long run. I’m hoping this paves the way for competitors offering affordable alternatives to step in and fill the gaps. Besides, at this point, all of our wallets could use a little self-care.
The TikTokification of Spotify
Noticed that your Spotify app looks a little different lately? Well, you’re not crazy. The popular audio streaming app just underwent its biggest revamp in a decade.
The most obvious change? The new home screen has switched from featuring a traditional album cover layout and adopted a vertically scrolling feed, which plays like a digital smorgasbord of music, podcasts, and audiobooks. Sound familiar? That’s because (surprise, surprise), it looks a whole lot like TikTok.
The popular music streaming app also introduced a “Smart Shuffle” mode for premium subscribers that recommends new songs for your queue if you’re listening to a playlist. Sorta like having your very own DJ, except without all the cringy commentary. Plus, once you finish listening to a podcast episode, similar podcasts will autoplay, which is supposed to make discovering new content a more seamless experience.
Spotify’s move to adopt a TikTok-like feed follows the trend of many social media apps, including Reddit, Netflix, Instagram, and YouTube, that have embraced bite-sized content for mobile users. With over 500 million users and a goal to reach 1 billion by 2030, Spotify’s changes aim to keep the app relevant and engaging for both users and artists.
It’ll be interesting to see how these changes affect user engagement and whether the new design becomes a hit or miss. But for now, it seems like Spotify is committed to keeping up with the times and evolving with the needs of its audience.
Slack integrates ChatGPT
The Salesforce-owned messaging platform just announced the addition of ChatGPT integration, which could change the way businesses communicate as we know it. Here’s how it’s going to work:
When you hit the three-dot icon on a thread, ChatGPT’s advanced algorithms will analyze messages in real-time and provide you with suggestions for replying to your coworkers. This streamlining of communication is designed to save time and ultimately boost productivity, but can it replace the sharp wit and a perfectly timed dad joke? That’s the real question here.
The tool can also help you find answers to questions about your projects and even summarize threads so you can stay up to date on the latest developments if you’re short on time or need a refresher.
It’s exciting to see the potential benefits of this collaboration, especially in a time where remote work and virtual communication are becoming par for the course. Google, Meta, and Microsoft are already off to the races to integrate AI tools into their products. It’s safe to say that for better or worse, we can expect that AI is going to be baked into almost everything we do in digital spaces.
As for Tegan’s Friday GIF wars on Slack, I’ll have to report back. I’m not sure anyone–or any-bot–can beat our Gen Z cohort.
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