Happy Sunday! We're sending you this newsletter from the midst of a hurricane right here in the Big Apple 🌀. Here are the bite-sized summaries of 5 inflection points shaping today's world:
1. NWO.AI’s data indicates multiple supply chain shocks are in store for the remainder of 2021 ⚡
NWO.AI's signal for "Port Closure", which was pretty much flat for most of this year, suddenly hit several inflection points in June 2021, indicating a heightening strain to global supply chains. The closure of a terminal at the world's third-largest container port is straining already stressed supply chains. Operations at Meishan terminal at China's Ningbo port, suspended last week after a single Covid-19 case, aren't expected to resume fully before the end of the month. Dozens of ships are lined up to take on cargo for Western markets ahead of the year-end shopping season, and the congestion is spreading to other ports like Shanghai and Hong Kong. Interestingly, NWO.AI's city-level location metrics reveal the top cities with the most significant amount of chatter related to "port closure" across various languages. Three cities in China, namely Ningbo, Yantian, and Meishan, made it to the top 3 in the list.
Some 10% of all containers are stacked on ships waiting at ports around the world. Perhaps, it might make sense to order your holiday gifts now, given the already backed-up shipping channels.
2. The four-day workweek is shaking up global work culture 📋📌
In 2019, a Perpetual Guardian study of the four-day workweek went viral. However, the concept only really started catching on last year when white-collar workers began working from home during the lockdown, coinciding with NWO.AI's signal peak of the four-day workweek in 2020.
Recently, Iceland released a report of its successful shorter workweek trial, resulting in 86% of Iceland's entire working population either permanently working shorter hours or gaining the right to negotiate for shorter working hours. Japan and Spain are also backing the four-day work week, while companies in New Zealand and the U.S. are trying it out. With the spread of the Delta variant, major U.S. companies like Amazon, Google, Apple, and Lyft have delayed the return to the office, perhaps sounding the death knell of the five-day workweek. Our forecast suggests that the four-day workweek will gain more traction in 2022.
3. The unstoppable rise of Buy Now Pay Later 📈
Over the past year, NWO.AI detected multiple inflection points in the Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) model, which reached an impact score of 100 in January 2021. BNPL is essentially a point-of-sale lending service that allows customers to pay in installments. Its recent growth is fueled by millennials and Gen-Z, the biggest market drivers seeking financially convenient ways to shop online during the pandemic. With digital payments company Square acquiring Afterpay in a $29 billion all-stock deal, Apple teaming up with Affirm to launch an installment program for devices bought in Canada, and Klarna being valued at $46 billion, the BNPL trend is expected to skyrocket past its 2021 peak next year.
4. Is furniture rental the model of tomorrow? 🛋
Interest in furniture rental saw a massive spike during the pandemic, especially among people working from home who wanted to update their living spaces without investing too much into buying furniture. Furnishing a home for the long term has also become difficult for millennials who tend to pack their bags for new cities whenever better job offers beckon, further driving the growth of the furniture rental market. While the trend has declined this summer, it’ll be picking up again in the winter when consumers start sprucing their interior for the festive season.
5. One furry fact: US demand for dogs > supply 🐶
NWO.AI recently detected multiple inflection points in the signal for Foster Dogs. With increasing regulation faced by dog breeders and the crackdown on the import of dogs due to a recent spike in rabies records, the demand for furry friends has far outstripped supply. While the U.S. imports more than 1 million dogs a year, the annual demand for dogs — imported or not— is 8 million. NWO.AI’s forecast indicates that the demand for dogs isn’t going to wane off anytime soon, with another projected spike incoming around March 2022.
NWO.AI's predictive platform enables leading Fortune 500 companies and government agencies to anticipate and track global cultural shifts by aggregating, analyzing, and producing actionable reports on human-generated data. We are leveraging petabytes of external, noisy, and unstructured data from various sources - including search, social media, blogs, news, patent databases, SEC filings and we are continuously adding more sources. Our mission is to answer the what, when, and most importantly 'why' behind a consumer trend and enable our customers to detect these shifts as early as possible.
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