Season 4, Post 1: Gifts for all

Happy 2022 to all our readers and welcome to the fourth season of the Future Trends Blog. We first started penning pieces on interesting topics that caught our…

Season 4, Post 1: Gifts for all

Happy 2022 to all our readers and welcome to the fourth season of the Future Trends Blog. We first started penning pieces on interesting topics that caught our eye in 2019. All previous posts can be found here.

Many of us are probably glad to be back at work again, the festive season now not only a blur but also a distant memory. In many households – particularly those with children – gifts form a centrepiece of the occasion. In a somewhat tongue-in-cheek opening Blog piece to the year, here are a few of the items your author ‘wished’ he had received. On a more serious note, they provide a very good indication into some of the themes that are likely to be topical over the coming 12 months.

1: Oculus headsets were all the rage this Christmas. Maybe it’s the ‘Zuckerberg effect’ that we are all now thinking of Facebook as Meta, but the number-one downloaded app in the US on Christmas Day was Oculus. Similarly, the most-downloaded game was Roblox. For those unfamiliar, the former is a virtual reality headset while the latter is an immersive gaming platform. Both represent segues to metaverse environments becoming a potentially bigger part of our lives. We believe that metaverses may be the new platforms in which consumers and businesses interact, but development is unlikely to be linear and it is far from clear at this stage whether Meta will emerge as the clear winner. 

2: Smart toys also proved to be very popular: like the sound of a toy kitchen and market set that is Alexa-enabled, or perhaps a smart globe that tells children handy facts about the world when they tap certain places? Well, you won’t be the only one. More and more companies are pioneering innovation in this direction with the smart toy market currently growing at a ~30% rate. This trend speaks to one we have discussed regularly, namely the digitalisation of everything. Software is eating (and will continue to eat) the world. While this clearly brings many convenience benefits, users need evidently to be aware of privacy and cybersecurity concerns.

3: 3D-printed salmon, anyone? The world needs to reduce its dependency on land animal-based protein. While bugs (an oft-discussed topic of ours in 2021) may not be to everyone’s taste, there is a compelling case for eating more salmon. It has a lower carbon footprint than other comparable proteins and is also high in vitamins and minerals. Even better, of course if no actual salmon are killed and you can produce a product that looks and tastes very similar. Revo Foods, an Austrian-based start-up has launched a range of products, made from plant-based substrates. Beyond selected stores and restaurants in Austria, the ‘fish’ went on sale in Denmark and Spain just prior to Christmas. Expect more geographic expansion in 2022. Sustainability clearly remains top of mind for many consumers and businesses With this in mind, the supermarket’s meat aisle may soon be a thing of the past, replaced instead by the protein aisle.

Finally, spare a thought for the fact that with an estimated 3bn+ parcels shipped in the US alone over the recent holiday season, there are bound to be a few disappointed people. Unprecedented online ordering naturally implies unprecedented levels of returns. UPS has said that it expects to process more than 60m returns before the end of this month. Crossing the digital Rubicon also highlights the need for better supply chain logistics and more warehouse space.

7 January 2022

Alex Gunz, Fund Manager

Disclaimers

The document is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute investment advice or any recommendation to buy, or sell or otherwise transact in any investments. The document is not intended to be construed as investment research. The contents of this document are based upon sources of information which Heptagon Capital LLP believes to be reliable. However, except to the extent required by applicable law or regulations, no guarantee, warranty or representation (express or implied) is given as to the accuracy or completeness of this document or its contents and, Heptagon Capital LLP, its affiliate companies and its members, officers, employees, agents and advisors do not accept any liability or responsibility in respect of the information or any views expressed herein. Opinions expressed whether in general or in both on the performance of individual investments and in a wider economic context represent the views of the contributor at the time of preparation. Where this document provides forward-looking statements which are based on relevant reports, current opinions, expectations and projections, actual results could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements. All opinions and estimates included in the document are subject to change without notice and Heptagon Capital LLP is under no obligation to update or revise information contained in the document. Furthermore, Heptagon Capital LLP disclaims any liability for any loss, damage, costs or expenses (including direct, indirect, special and consequential) howsoever arising which any person may suffer or incur as a result of viewing or utilising any information included in this document. 

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