Are Americans Getting Less Taxes Back in 2019?

By Staff
Tuesday, March 19, 2019 2:38 PM Tax filing season 2019 is in full swing, and since the IRS reported its first preliminary numbers on Feb 1, there has been some outrage about the average amount of Americans’ tax returns appearing lower than in previous years. Some suspect Donald Trump’s tax reform to be the reasons why Americans could effectively be paying more taxes this year. But the IRS cautions that because of the recent government shutdown, processing of tax returns is behind and final numbers could show a different picture. On February 1, IRS numbers indicated that the average amount of tax returns filed by that time for 2018 was $1,865, compared to $2,035 by the same time the previous year.

National Retail Federation Forecasts 2019 Retail Sales Will Grow Between 3.8 and 4.4 Percent

By Staff
Tuesday, March 19, 2019 12:09 PM WASHINGTON—The National Retail Federation forecast that retail sales during 2019 will increase between 3.8 percent and 4.4 percent to more than $3.8 trillion despite threats from an ongoing trade war, the volatile stock market and the effects of the government shutdown, according to this story from the NRF. Preliminary estimates show that retail sales during 2018 grew 4.6 percent over 2017 to $3.68 trillion, exceeding NRF’s forecast of at least 4.5 percent growth. The number includes online and other non-store sales, which were up 10.4 percent at $682.8 billion. That met NRF’s forecast of 10 percent to 12 percent online growth, and online is expected to grow in the same 10 percent to 12 percent range again this year. The numbers exclude automobile dealers, gasoline stations and restaurants.

Expectations for Digital Capabilities Are on the Rise

By Staff
Monday, March 18, 2019 12:45 PM More than half of patients surveyed expect digital capabilities—from requesting prescription refills to booking appointments. These expectations increasingly influence who these patients choose in a provider. For instance, in 2019, 70 percent are more likely to choose a provider that offers reminders for follow-up care via email or text, compared to 57 percent in 2016. More than half (53 percent) in 2019 are more likely to use a provider offering remote or telemonitoring devices, compared to 39 percent in 2016.

Meet the Clean Beauty Consumer

By Staff
Monday, March 18, 2019 11:23 AM According to Stella Rising, a brand marketing firm, 50 percent of consumers report buying more natural products than they did last year, but the meaning of “natural” is constantly being redefined—especially in beauty. Lately, the natural beauty consumer isn’t just examining beneficial ingredients in products, she’s looking at the label to make sure harmful ingredients are not included, indicating a shift in prioritizing safety over source, and a transition from “natural” to “clean.”

One in Five Consumers Have Purchased an Item Based on Influencers’ Advice

By Staff
Friday, March 15, 2019 4:02 PM “Word of mouth” has always seemed to be a good tool for driving sales, and the big shift to “influencer” marketing bears this out. In 2019, it is estimated that roughly 72 percent of brands will have influencer marketing built into their marketing budgets, and some projections show that influencer investments will reach $10 billion by 2020, according to market research firm CivicScience. “Given the important role social media plays in the customer journey, brands turning to influencers more isn’t surprising,” the firm noted in a recent announcement. In an effort to discover more about “influencers” and their impact on brands CivicScience studied the experience Americans have had with products pushed by influencers, bloggers, or celebrities. The firm said it polled more than 1,800 respondents to determine if they’ve ever been motivated to purchase something from an influencer or celebrity recommendation. The findings of the survey revealed that nearly one-fifth of American consumers have bought something because of an influencer or blogger, compared with 10 percent who have made a purchase because of a celebrity, the firm noted. “Considering the fact that celebrities have been featured in advertising for decades, this difference highlights the turn that brands might be taking towards lesser-known influencers and bloggers who may be more relatable than a celebrity,” the announcement explained.

The (Not So) World Wide Web

By Staff
Thursday, March 14, 2019 3:08 PM The World Wide Web recently celebrated a milestone—30 years ago, Tim Berners-Lee, a British computer scientist unwittingly made history by laying the groundwork of what would later become known as the World Wide Web. While working at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) at the time, he distributed a paper to his colleagues titled “Information Management: A Proposal,” in which he suggested creating a networked hypertext system to help CERN manage and share information within its organization. Despite its name and apparent ubiquity, however, 30 years later the World Wide Web is not nearly as universally available as its name suggests, according to this infographic from Statista.com. According to the latest estimates by the International Telecommunication Union, a UN agency specializing in information and communication technologies, only 51 in 100 world citizens used the internet in 2018.

Survey Reveals Contact Lens Wearers Are Not Always Following Doctors’ Orders

By Staff
Wednesday, March 13, 2019 3:14 PM Most contact lens wearers have room for improvement when it comes to following their doctor’s recommendations for maintaining good eye health, according to a new survey commissioned by Sightbox, Inc. among 1,000 U.S. adults. The survey found that while 81 percent of respondents say they are likely to receive an eye exam within the next 12 months, only half report being very likely to receive an eye exam. Comparatively, 85 percent say they are likely to receive a physical in the next 12 months, but 62 percent are very likely to receive a physical. In fact, those needing vision correction are more likely to receive a physical in the next 12 months than an eye exam. Of this group, Millennials are the least likely to receive an eye exam with 77 percent being likely and only 45 percent being very likely to do so.

Celine Dion Rules the Roost in Las Vegas

By Staff
Tuesday, March 12, 2019 11:09 AM Data journalist Felix Richter recently noted in Statista that British singer and former Take That member Robbie Williams kicked off his first residency in Las Vegas last Wednesday night at Wynn Las Vegas. Richter pointed out that Williams, who has sold more than 77 million records, and won 13 BRIT awards as a solo artist, is one of the most successful artists of the late 1990s and early 2000s. While Americans never quite warmed to him the way Europeans did, the former boy group star now has the chance to win them over. He will perform 15 shows in Las Vegas between March and July, probably netting him a nice sum to add to his pension fund.

Blockchain in Retail: Decentralizing the Digitalization of Retail Operations

By Staff
Monday, March 11, 2019 4:14 PM A new report by Coresight Research says Blockchain technology has the potential to disrupt retail as it can decentralize processes through which retailers interact with partners, industry players and consumers, making operations more efficient and secure. We looked into the implications for this technology and these are the key takeaways: According to Coresight, the decentralized and secure nature of the blockchain has the potential to disrupt operations in retail, including supply chain and logistics, customer data management, loyalty programs, payments and marketplaces.

Amazon Prime Membership Tops 50 Percent Household Penetration

By Staff
Friday, March 8, 2019 1:17 PM The year 2019 will mark a milestone for the Amazon Prime membership program. This is the year that 51.3 percent of U.S. households will hold membership in the Amazon Prime program, according to the latest eMarketer forecast. This penetration level will mean Prime has about 5.2 million more households in its membership in 2019 than last year. According to the eMarketer forecast, this sizable increase in membership will be driven by lower-income households and consumers attracted to the platform's new offerings. As it expands beyond the flagship Prime benefit of free shipping on Amazon orders, the Amazon Prime program has continued to diversify its value to customers, according to eMarketer. “New membership is driven by the company’s continuous expansion of Prime product categories, like groceries, apparel and pantry, as well as new options for media consumption, like books and video games,” eMarketer vice president of forecasting Martín Utreras explained.

Have Smartphone Makers Lost Touch With Reality?

By Staff
Thursday, March 7, 2019 12:45 PM When Apple released the $999 iPhone X in the fall of 2017, many people thought that the company famous for its premium pricing had finally overdone it, according to this feature from Statista.com. No way anyone in their right mind would spend that much money on a smartphone. And yet here we are, one and a half years later and other smartphone brands have followed Apple’s lead, making price tags in excess of $1,000 the new norm for top-of-the-line devices. According to a recent USA Today poll, the vast majority of smartphone users in the U.S. aren't willing to spend more than $750 on a new device. Only 3 percent of the respondents expressed their willingness to spend more than $1,000 on a new phone, with prices of $2,000 or more too absurd to even make it into the survey.

Women in Optometry: There's Apparently No Perfect Time for Having Children

By Staff
Wednesday, March 6, 2019 11:49 AM According to a recent Women In Optometry Pop-up Poll, about half of the respondents said that, in general, the timing of when to have children is not a factor. However, nearly 100 respondents were evenly divided on whether career-minded women were better off having children early in their careers or later in their careers. Indeed, 17 percent said career-minded women were better off not having children. A similar question about career-minded men seemed to show that timing was considered less of a factor on a man's career with nearly 72 percent of respondents saying that timing of when to have children was irrelevant.

New Survey Tracks Consumers’ Changing Health Care Preferences

By Staff
Tuesday, March 5, 2019 12:38 PM The Accenture 2019 Digital Health Consumer Survey found that health care consumers today are changing, and their expectations for convenience, affordability and quality are redefining how they engage at each stage of care. A key takeaway from the survey is that younger consumers are not satisfied with health care’s status quo and consumers of all generations are more willing to try non-traditional services. For instance, Gen Z and Millennials are least likely to have a primary care physician (PCP), compared to Gen X, Baby Boomers and the silent generation. Some younger generations say they would like to have a PCP but have not found one that meets their preferences for affordability and convenience. Gen Z is the most likely generation to seek out wellness practices (e.g. yoga, acupuncture) beyond Western medicine.

Western Europe Lags Behind Asia in Mobile Wallet Adoption

By Staff
Monday, March 4, 2019 12:11 PM While the Western European nations lag behind countries in Asia in terms of mobile wallet adoption, there is plenty of room for growth if mobile payments can offer enough to consumers to displace payment cards, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company. GlobalData’s 2018 Consumer Payments Insight Survey found that mobile wallet adoption in Asian markets such as China (64.9 percent), India (60.5 percent), Hong Kong (45.5 percent) and Taiwan (37.0 percent) is much higher than Western markets, including the UK (11.5 percent), France (5.1 percent), Germany (10.4 percent) and Spain (10.5 percent).

Mobile Video Consumption: Nowhere to Go But Up

By Staff
Friday, March 1, 2019 1:34 PM Video has become an integral and powerful part of what the IAB (or Interactive Advertising Bureau) refers to as the “attention stack” that brands need to be aware of if they are going to successfully reach today’s consumers. This is due, in part, to the ongoing convergence between traditional TV and digital video. To gain a better understanding of the new “video” landscape, IAB’s Digital Video Center of Excellence developed a “landscape report” that provides some perspective on the burgeoning video market. The report was compiled after a review of existing industry research reports and publications, as well as discussions with several industry executives and subject matter experts, across broadcast, cable, digital pure plays, agencies and brands, IAB noted in the background section of the report. The complete report can be downloaded here.