The Honey Industry Is Buzzing Worldwide

By Staff
Friday, March 31, 2023 1:52 PM Honey consumption continues to grow as Americans look for alternative sweeteners. According to Fact.MR worldwide consumption of honey is expected to grow by 5.4 percent CAGR (compound annual growth rate) by 2033. This will bring the total value of honey to from $9.7 billion to $16.4 billion during the same period. 

In the U.S., this number is expected to reach 6 percent CAGR. Experts believe consumer tastes are shifting away from traditional sweeteners to natural and organic sweeteners. This has caused the demand for honey to surge in recent years. The rise in diabetes and obesity has also helped drive the consumption of honey as people look for a safer and more healthy alternative to sugar.  

Honey demand has grown in the Asia Pacific region as disposable income in the area becomes more prevalent. India, China, Japan and Korea have all been named as prime markets for growth over the next 10 years.

Consumers Are Confused by Health Care Bills, Survey Says

By Staff
Thursday, March 30, 2023 12:12 AM Over half of consumers (54 percent) experience pain points for services and items related to health care, according to a recent survey. Further highlighting the need for a more seamless experience overall, 21 percent reported having difficulty with the payment process, and nearly as many had difficulty understanding their bills and keeping track of their credentials. Online portals may be useful in that respect, with 25 percent of consumers holding an account with one reporting the platform helped make it easier to access account information.

PYMNTS’ latest collaboration with Lynx, “The Digital Platform Promise: How Patients Want to Streamline Healthcare Payments,” focuses on digital platforms’ role in the payment of health care products and services. Research found that 29 percent of consumers used a digital portal at least once to pay a medical bill in the past year, and one-quarter of those who used a digital portal to pay during that period said it is their preferred way to pay.

The research also showed that 21 percent of those surveyed said they had difficulty navigating the health care-related payment process, while 18 percent stated that they had difficulty understanding medical bills. Another 17 percent indicated that they had difficulty keeping track of online accounts and login credentials and 16 percent found that their health care insurance covered less than expected.

Global Eyewear Market Is Expected to Reach $56 Billion in 2033

By Staff
Wednesday, March 29, 2023 1:16 PM The desire for luxury eyewear is growing according to the latest report from Fact.MR which shows that the demand for luxury eyewear is expected to grow by 3.4 percent CAGR (compound annual growth rate) between 2023 and 2033. 

Experts believe the rise is due to an increase in disposable income and fashion awareness among consumers. Paired with an increase in e-commerce sales and alliances between industry partners, experts predict the industry will continue to surge, reaching $56 billion in 2033. 

Industry insiders are concerned about the effects of counterfeit products, which may hinder the growth in the luxury eyewear market. The quality and accuracy of current counterfeit products are making it harder to tell the difference between authentic and fake luxury goods. 

Established luxury brands are also working with suppliers and distributors to provide a wider range of products at different price points to increase their market penetration.

Apple Dominates U.S. Smartphone Market

By Staff
Tuesday, March 28, 2023 1:52 PM Despite a wide range of smartphone options available to consumers, Apple remains the largest market shareholder in the U.S. According to a report from Oberlo, Apple now holds more than 55 percent of the smartphone market in the U.S. This means more than half of smartphones sold in the U.S. are Apple hardware. 

This is followed by Samsung, which has seen its market share grow to just over 29 percent, but is still well below Apple. Between the two companies, they control more than 85 percent of the U.S. smartphone market, or the equivalent of 8 out of 10 Americans. 

Cell phone purchases are on the decline in recent years, as users hold onto their devices longer. According to International Data Corp, worldwide smartphone shipments declined 18.3 percent year over year to 300 units in the fourth quarter of 2022. This marks the largest-ever decline in a single quarter.

U.S. Handbag Sales Soar in 2023

By Staff
Monday, March 27, 2023 1:35 PM Despite fears of recession, handbag sales continue to rise in the U.S. According to new figures from Statista, the handbag industry is expected to grow by 1.6 percent annually between 2023 and 2026. Experts are forecasting the U.S. handbag industry will reach $12.6 billion in 2023. 

Chanel, Hermes and Delvaux remain the most sought after bags in the luxury market, with prices reaching more than $10,000 per item. Chanel has garnered the most attention on social media, with more than 15 million followers on Weibo in China, and 55 million followers on Instagram. 

Online sales are also expected to reach record growth over the next few years as consumers move away from in-store shopping. Online sales channels are projected to grow by 8.8 percent between 2021 and 2028.

List of Banned Books in America Is Growing

By Staff
Friday, March 24, 2023 2:51 PM The list of banned books is growing in the U.S. According to a report from Gitnux, between 2021 and 2022, the number of banned books quadrupled with 1,651 books added to the list and 681 books under consideration or attempted to be banned. The biggest targets are books that contain content related to the LGBTQIA+ community. 

Experts believe that book banning can have adverse effects, such as limiting knowledge and reducing access to diverse stories and ideas. It is also believed that book bans create gaps in knowledge and create schools that are under-resourced. 

Many parents and advocates have stepped up to reduce the number of banned books. Approximately 42 percent of book challenges are initiated by parents, while 29 percent of challenges come from library staff and board members.

Easter Spending Expected to Reach Record $24 Billion

By Staff
Thursday, March 23, 2023 2:47 PM Consumers plan to spend a collective $24 billion on Easter this year, up from $20.8 billion in 2022 and the previous record high of $21.7 billion in 2020, according to an annual survey released by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics. Eighty-one percent of Americans will celebrate the holiday and spend an average of $192.01, the highest figure on record.

“Easter endures as an important holiday for many Americans, signifying new beginnings and a time of celebration with friends and family,” NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay said. “As consumers plan to mark the occasion through a variety of traditions, retailers are dedicated to making this year a memorable holiday.”

Spending is growing across several categories, and the top Easter items consumers say they are planning to purchase include candy ($3.3 billion), gifts ($3.8 billion) and food ($7.3 billion). Consumers are also expected to spend $4 billion on clothing, $1.8 billion on flowers and $1.7 billion on decorations, along with $1.1 billion on greeting cards.

The most popular Easter Sunday activities this year include cooking a holiday meal (56 percent), visiting family and friends (50 percent), going to church (43 percent) or planning an Easter egg hunt (34 percent).

As in previous years, most consumers (54 percent) say they will buy Easter gifts from discount stores. Other shopping destinations include department stores (42 percent), online (33 percent), local and small businesses (22 percent), and specialty stores (20 percent).

Those celebrating say they are inspired to shop for Easter-related items because of tradition (63 percent), it’s a social activity with family or friends (31 percent), sales or promotions (29 percent), store displays or decorations (23 percent), or exclusive or seasonal products (20 percent). About half (54 percent) of those not celebrating the holiday still plan to take advantage of Easter-related bargains. They anticipate spending $23.41 per person and are primarily looking to purchase candy and food.

Fashion Industry Is Expected to Reach $494 Billion in Retail Sales

By Staff
Wednesday, March 22, 2023 11:03 AM The U.S. fashion industry is growing at a slower rate. A new report from Oberlo found that the fashion industry grew 4.5 percent between 2022 and the beginning of 2023 and is expected to reach $494 billion in retail sales. 

These figures are down from 2022, where the industry grew at a rate of 8.3 percent. This was down from the year before, where growth reached 18.4 percent, the fastest growth rate between 2019 and 2023. 

The U.S. fashion industry is the fourth-fastest growing ecommerce category in the U.S. with sales forecast to grow by 13.8 percent in 2023, however, online sales are expected to fall slightly between 2024 and 2025, while still set to outpace overall e-commerce sales.

Coffee Sales Reach an All Time High in the U.S.

By Staff
Tuesday, March 21, 2023 3:42 PM Americans love a good cup of coffee, and according to the latest numbers from Statista, this has pushed sales to their highest levels ever. Revenue from the coffee segment has reached over $95 billion in 2023, with an expected annual growth rate of 3.5 percent between 2023 and 2025. This is equivalent to $283.90 per person, per year. 

There are now more than 37,000 coffee shops in the U.S., with Starbucks being the largest chain. 

Experts believe that as the fears and restrictions of the pandemic continue to fade, consumers will return to coffee shops in even greater numbers.

Vinyl Sales Outpace CDs for First Time in 17 Years

By Staff
Monday, March 20, 2023 3:03 PM Vinyl sales continue to reach record-breaking levels in the US. A new report from Statista found that vinyl sales have risen for the 17th consecutive year outpacing CD sales.

In 2022, more than 43 million LPs were sold, up 48-fold since 2006 when vinyl began to make a comeback. The recent pandemic is also believed to have had an impact on record sales as people looked for new ways to explore their favorite activities while in lockdown. 

Revenues from digitally downloaded music continued to decline in 2022, down 20 percent to $495 million. Individual album sales and individual track sales dropped by 20 percent, making up just 3 percent of U.S. recorded music revenues. This is down from 43 percent in 2012. 

Experts believe that LP sales are a significant factor in this change in music purchasing.

U.S. Import Prices Fall in February

By Staff
Saturday, March 18, 2023 6:39 PM U.S. import prices are on the decline, according to the latest figures from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Import prices fell 0.1 percent in February, following a decline of 0.4 percent in January. Lower fuel prices offset higher non-fuel prices, helping to drive import prices down. 

The price for fuel imports fell 4.9 percent for the second time this year, after a decline in January. These are the biggest drops since September 2022 and there has been no increase in import fuel prices since June 2022. 

Vehicle import prices also rose slightly by 0.2 percent in February, following a rise of 0.3 percent in January. Higher parts prices were one of the major factors in the increase in vehicle import prices.

Alcohol Consumption Is Above Average in the U.S.

By Staff
Friday, March 17, 2023 7:33 PM It’s no secret that many Americans love a glass of wine with dinner or a beer while watching their favorite team. According to a report from World Population Review, many people are having more than what is considered a safe amount to consume. 

In the U.S., one drink is considered 0.6 ounces of pure alcohol. This is the equivalent to 12 ounces of beer, 8 ounces of malt liquor, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof distilled spirits or liquor (40 percent alcohol proof).

The average American drinks 8.8 liters of pure alcohol per year. This exceeds recommended guidelines of 8.3 liters. Most states have set a goal of less than 2.5 liters of consumption per year. 

New Hampshire has the highest level of alcohol consumption in the U.S., averaging 4.76 gallons per person. Utah has the lowest consumption at 1.34 gallons per year. Experts believe this is due to strict alcohol regulations in the state. Nine states have a consumption level of less than 2.1 gallons per person.

Hybrid Workstyle Increasing Among Most Global Knowledge Workers

By Staff
Thursday, March 16, 2023 1:37 PM By the end of 2023, 39 percent of global knowledge workers will work hybrid, up from 37 percent in 2022, according to Gartner, Inc.   

“Hybrid is no longer just an employee perk but an employee expectation,” said Ranjit Atwal, senior director analyst at Gartner. “Many employees started to partially return to the office in 2022, but the hybrid workstyle will remain prominent in 2023 and beyond. To adapt, employers have been implementing a human-centric work design – including flexibility, intentional collaboration and empathy-based management – which suits hybrid employees.”

For example, IT workers are more inclined to quit their jobs than employees in other functions as they look for greater flexibility, improved work-life balance and better career opportunities. CIOs can maximize retention and attraction of talent by resetting their employee value proposition with a more human deal.

Gartner defines hybrid workers as workers who work in the office at least one day a week. Fully remote workers are those working from home all the time. On-site workers are those who work on-site full time, not working at home at any time.

The number of remote workers is expected to continue to fall year over year. Gartner estimates that remote workers will represent only 9 percent of all employees worldwide by the end of 2023. In the U.S., the hybrid work trend will be more pronounced than the rest of the world with 51 percent of knowledge workers projected to work hybrid and 20 percent to work fully remote in 2023.

Credit and Debit Card Spending Is on the Rise

By Staff
Tuesday, March 14, 2023 12:27 PM A shaky economy isn’t stopping U.S. consumers from spending. A report from Bank of America found that spending in households with a credit or debit card was up 5.1 percent year over year in January and there was a significant increase of December 2022 debt numbers of 2.2 percent. 

Experts believe that consumers took advantage of holiday promotions and discounts. Additionally, an increase in the minimum wage in 20 states has improved consumer confidence and encouraged spending. 

Another factor spurring on consumers was an 8.7 percent increase in social security payments in January by 8.7. This is the largest increase in more than 40 years, adding to the pockets of more than 70 million consumers. 

Americans are not making their retirement payments, however, with the rate of contribution to a 401(k) down to 6.6 percent at the end of 2021, falling even further to 6.4 percent in 2022. Experts believe people are putting funds that would have gone into retirement into covering short-term financial needs.

Workers Are Embracing Freelance Roles to Combat Job Insecurity

By Staff
Monday, March 13, 2023 12:00 PM U.S. workers are feeling less secure in their jobs, leading more people to take on side hustles. A new report from Fiverr International Ltd., (NYSE: FVRR), found that workers are taking on freelance work faster than ever before. 

A report, published in Business Newswire, found that of 2,000 workers surveyed, 66 percent were planning to join a freelancing platform to gain additional income. 

As Americans try to stem the tide of rising living costs, 29 percent of those surveyed said they were going to ask their boss for a raise, while 34 percent said they were going to have to tap into savings.

Fifty-six percent of respondents say they plan on earning more in 2023, that's up from 53 percent in 2022. In addition, 41 percent say they want to invest in 2023, up from 38 percent in 2022. Of those surveyed, 38 percent want to make a big purchase such as a house or vacation, up from 35 percent last year. 

According to Side Hustle Nation, most people who take on a side hustle are doing so to increase personal freedom and earn extra money to save, spend or invest. The most popular types of side hustles are online business such as blogging, podcasting, online courses, and affiliate marketing, freelancing and consulting, e-commerce and investing.