When it comes to all things cute, there’s no debate that it totally captures our hearts. Who can deny a photo of a cute puppy or even the likes of a stuffed animal? Whatever your cute desires are it’s a growing marketplace around the world. In NYC alone there are cute retail stores popping up left and right. Line Friends launched it’s the first flagship store in Times Square just two years ago. Smaller brands like Rilakkuma has opted for a pop-up shop while rumors swirl of a flagship retail store located in the Hudson Yards, NYC. Even more recently news broke that Japanese dollar store, Daiso which offers a plethora of cute items will also be making its mark in the New York City area.
With all this cuteness coming into New York City is there room for even more? Absolutely! The newest addition to the cute marketplace includes the launch of the first massive cute expo, The Cutie Con. The expo will make its splashy debut as the first to market all things cute launching in the Summer of 2020. The Cutie Con touts that it will attract over 100K in global attendees, influencers, and media while featuring 300+ exhibitors from food, beauty, media, film, books, accessories, fashion, toys, tech and more. In addition to new cute brands launching for the first time at the expo, Cutie Con will also showcase expert speakers in the cute industry.
The cute expo is already planning its stay in the marketplace looking to expand overseas within the next five years. There are no specific details yet as to which countries they are looking to target, but most likely Asia should be on their list. Asian consumers are those who make up the majority of the cute market.
So why the sudden surge in cuteness? There’s actually scientific evidence that proves cute objects bring feelings of joy to the users and that’s why so many brands use some sort of cuteness as part of their marketing initiatives. According to Google trends, the worldwide cute interest has exponentially reached its peak and popularity over the last 10 years. Natalie Angier explains in the New York Times, the features of cuteness are those that express “extreme youth, vulnerability, harmlessness, and need,” and those features elicit a nurturing response. In other words, stuff that reminds us of small, defenseless babies will trigger warm feelings that make us want to take care of whatever made us go “awww.”
It was even published in the journal PlosOne, the Japanese research paper, titled “The Power of Kawaii: Viewing Cute Images Promotes a Careful Behavior and Narrows Attentional Focus,” found that looking at cute images at work can actually boost attention and overall performance.
According to Gawker, students who viewed cute animals actually outperformed their peers by a significant margin compared to those who looked mainly at adult animals or food. Japan is also known as the capital of cute, there is an entire cute culture known as “kawaii,” where people share their affinity for all things cute.
There’s even an official phenomenon called “cute aggression,” dubbed by Rebecca Dyer, a graduate student in psychology at Yale University. This is phenomenon is prevalent when people look at cute things and just simply want to squeeze them. Dyer also suggests that “one reason why we have pent-up aggression over cute pictures or images is that seeing something cute, like a baby, drives us to want to take care of it. But we can’t reach through a photograph to cuddle it, so we get frustrated — and then aggressive.” With all this evidence pointing to the effects of all things cute, it’s no wonder that the cute industry is rapidly expanding.
To date, the expo has not officially announced where exactly it will showcase this massive event but we dare to suspect that it will take place either in Manhattan or Brooklyn. A representative from The Cutie Con stated, “We are currently in the planning stages looking for sponsors and locations that can offer at least 125K sq. feet in order to house the event. The goal of The Cutie Con is to bring massive joy to those who attend as well as creating a nostalgic and joyous experience.” So we will have to stay tuned to discover what The Cutie Con will bring to NYC. It’s probably safe to say that the cute business is here to stay forever and this 2-day Cutie Con Expo will definitely have many of us going “omg that’s so cute!”