Forecast for Direct-to-Consumer Commerce Model Shows ‘Steady’ Growth Through 2023

By Staff
Friday, April 9, 2021 4:35 PM NEW YORK — The direct-to-consumer (D2C) model – which counts Warby Parker as one of its pioneering brands – was a hot topic in 2020 and became more attractive as brands and retailers faced disrupted supply chains, delayed orders and store closures. As a result, D2C e-commerce sales – including both digitally native and established brands – increased 45.5 percent in 2020. And this sales growth generated about $111.5 billion, according to a recent analysis by eMarketer.

Overall, D2C sales made up 14 percent of total retail e-commerce sales, according to eMarketer’s estimates. “We expect relatively steady growth each year through 2023, with D2C ecommerce sales reaching $174.98 billion at that time,” the research firm noted in its report.

The success of the D2C model is attributable, in part, to two key factors: data and feedback.

“The D2C model gives brands the opportunity to collect first-party data on their customers," Cindy Liu, eMarketer’s director of forecasting at Insider Intelligence, explained. "And with this data, the possibilities are endless—brands can customize products and create new products, all with the customer in mind.”

Data and analytics are crucial for all brands to not only better personalize shopping experiences, but also get a fuller picture of who their customers are. As brands vet their collected data, they can also make more informed decisions, especially in regard to next steps in expanding or improving operations.

The Beauty and Tech Check

By Staff
Tuesday, April 6, 2021 4:37 PM In a 2021 white paper, “Beauty Trends,” market research firm Stella Rising observed, “Consumers are looking for the at-home beauty experience to be maximized, and digital education is an ideal way to make up for the loss of in-store.”

The company noted that the mass-adoption of livestreaming in 2020 was a trend that COVID accelerated—and that journey is only just beginning; it was also a wakeup call for brands as they realized consumers were craving this new format.

Gartner Forecasts Worldwide Social Software and Collaboration Market to Grow 17 Percent in 2021

By Staff
Monday, April 5, 2021 3:51 PM The worldwide social software and collaboration market is forecast to total $4.5 billion in 2021, an increase of 17.1 percent from 2020, according to the latest forecast by market research firm Gartner, Inc. The need to support remote work during COVID-19, as well as social software integrations within other enterprise applications, is driving significant growth. Even as some workers begin to return to offices, COVID-19 has caused a permanent change in workforce structure.

Forecast for 2021 Indicates a Decline in Time Spent on Social Media Networks

By Staff
Friday, April 2, 2021 4:46 PM NEW YORK—The latest eMarketer forecast shows that U.S. social network users will spend slightly less time on social platforms in 2021 than they did in 2020, while time spent among UK users will remain relatively stable. One possible factor in the way people use social networks such as Facebook and Twitter may have to do with the way the networks are now dealing with news and politics, according to eMarketer.

Both platforms made high-profile moves in this year’s first quarter to limit news and politics, including banning or suspending former U.S. President Donald Trump’s accounts.

Facebook also temporarily pulled all news content from its platform in Australia, and it began reducing the amount of political content on its News Feed in some countries.

In terms of other changes to social network features in the first quarter, Twitter expanded its social audio feature, Twitter Spaces, to Android users, beating Clubhouse to the punch. Facebook started a test to bring Instagram’s Reels to the News Feed.

The key stat, though, according to eMarketer: With the exception of Snapchat, daily time spent among U.S. adult users of every social network will dip in 2021 but remain higher than in 2019, before the pandemic took hold.

eMarketer’s new social media forecast is available to order here.

The report explores key developments for Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter, as well as the latest forecasts for U.S. and U.K. time spent with social networks. It also includes highlights from a new forecast for social network ad revenues.

Average Easter Spending Expected to be Highest on Record, NRF Survey Says

By Staff
Thursday, April 1, 2021 4:18 PM WASHINGTON—Consumers plan to spend an average of $179.70 this Easter, the highest figure on record, according to results of the annual survey released today by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics. A total of 79 percent of Americans will celebrate the holiday and spend a collective $21.6 billion, down slightly from last year's pre-pandemic forecast of $21.7 billion.

“With new stimulus funds from the President’s American Rescue Plan, positive trends in vaccinations and growing consumer confidence, there is a lot of momentum heading into the Spring and holiday events like Easter,” said NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay. “Many have figured out how to celebrate holidays safely with family and that is reflected in consumer spending this Easter.”

Easter gifts, food and candy are the biggest drivers of growth this year. Consumers plan to spend an average of $31.06 on gifts (up from $27.91 in 2020), $52.50 on food (up from $51.76) and $25.22 on candy (up from $23.30).

As more and more individuals become vaccinated, consumers are planning to celebrate in ways they might have missed last year due to COVID-19. The newest CDC guidance on gatherings means some families might be able to plan a festive meal with vaccinated family members or take advantage of warmer weather and gather outside.

Click here to read the full story from the NRF.

About Three-in-Ten U.S. Adults Say They Are ‘Almost Constantly’ Online, Pew Poll Says

By Staff
Wednesday, March 31, 2021 4:27 PM As smartphones and other internet-connected devices have become more widespread, 31% of U.S. adults now report that they go online “almost constantly,” up from 21 percent in 2015, according to a new Pew Research Center survey conducted Jan. 25 to Feb. 8, 2021.

Overall, 85 percent of Americans say they go online on a daily basis. That figure includes the 31 percent who report going online almost constantly, as well as 48 percent who say they go online several times a day and 6 percent who go online about once a day. Some 8 percent go online several times a week or less often, while 7 percent of adults say they do not use the internet at all.

Adults under the age of 50 are at the vanguard of the constantly connected: 44 percent of 18- to 49-year-olds say they go online almost constantly. By comparison, just 22 percent of those ages 50 to 64 and even smaller shares of those 65 and older (8 percent) say they use the internet at this frequency.

If you’re wondering what all this online viewing means for your eyes, read Digital Eye Strain—Another Pandemic Pain Point.

Click here to read the full story from the Pew Research Center.

Globalization’s Effect on Maritime Trade

By Staff
Tuesday, March 30, 2021 4:54 PM Now that the container ship Ever Given has been freed from the bank of the Suez Canal, where its massive bow had been lodged for nearly a week, let’s take a moment to reflect on what happened. The round-the-clock news coverage of the crisis focused largely on the mechanics of the rescue operation and the cost to global trade—$1 billion a day according to some estimates.

Tracking the Evolution of Recorded Music Media

By Staff
Monday, March 29, 2021 5:13 PM For those who grew up in the analog era, buying a recording of one’s favorite music, whether it was a shellac 78, a vinyl LP, a cassette tape or compact disc, was an exciting event. Owning that recording meant that you could hear the music you liked as often as you liked, whenever you wanted. Collectors, and even casual listeners, often recall their first purchases fondly.

Do today’s listeners, a growing number of whom buy their favorite music through a streaming music service, experience the same feelings when playing a track that’s stored on a cloud server?

As Statista’s Felix Richter recently commented, streaming services such as Spotify and Apple Music have revolutionized the way we listen to music. He cited recent figures published by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), streaming, both ad-supported and subscription-based, accounted for 83 percent of music industry revenues in the U.S. last year, up from less than 10 percent in 2010. At $7.0 billion, paid subscriptions accounted for the lion’s share of streaming revenue in 2020, which in total amounted to $10.1 billion. “To put that in perspective, all physical music sales combined amounted to just $1.1 billion last year, with downloads adding another $674 million to the music industry’s total haul of $12.2 billion,” Richter observed.

More Than Two-Thirds of Americans Say They Plan to Get a COVID-19 Vaccine or Already Have

By Staff
Friday, March 26, 2021 1:29 PM NEW YORK—Time flies, even when you’re not having fun it turns out. Yes, it has been more than a year now since the coronavirus first arrived in the U.S. And, according to research, it seems there are signs of growing public dissatisfaction with the country’s response to the pandemic.

Performance ratings for how top health and state and local officials have responded to the outbreak continue to decline, according to a recent Pew Research post.

Yet, as COVID-19 vaccine production and safety efforts in the U.S. continue to ramp up, a new Pew Research survey finds public intent to get vaccinated also is on the rise.

Overall, 19 percent of adults say they have already received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, Pew Research reports. Another 50 percent say they definitely or probably plan to get vaccinated. Taken together, 69 percent of the public intends to get a vaccine—or already has—a marked increase from 60 percent who said they planned to get vaccinated in November.

Differences across demographic and political groups continue to characterize public views of COVID-19 vaccines. Yet these dynamics are fluid, and there have been some notable changes as intent has risen and vaccines become more widely available in the U.S., according to Pew Research.

• A majority of Black Americans (61 percent) now say they plan to get a COVID-19 vaccine or have already received one, up sharply from 42 percent who said they planned to get vaccinated in November.

• Among older adults—who are at greater risk of a serious case of the disease and have priority access to vaccines in most places—41 percent say they have already received at least one dose; another 44 percent say they definitely or probably plan to get vaccinated.

• A smaller majority of women (66 percent) than men (72 percent) intend to get a vaccine or have already received at least one dose. Among those not planning to get vaccinated, women are more likely than men to cite concerns about the rapid pace of vaccine development and a lack of information about how well they work.

animated GIF test

By Staff
Friday, March 26, 2021 12:00 AM Test.

One Year Later: Majorities Say COVID-19 Has Had Pervasive Negative Effects, WO Poll Says

By Staff
Thursday, March 25, 2021 4:12 PM We hardly need a poll to tell us what we already knew: it’s been one tough year. A February 2021 Women In Optometry Pop-up Poll asked respondents to gauge the impact of the pandemic one year after it started. With some rare exceptions—where respondents say that creativity in the workplace and newfound discoveries about themselves are silver linings—generally respondents said that the impact has been a net negative on their work environment, their mental health and in their communities.

The pandemic’s death toll has cast a dark shadow over many. More than 72 percent of the respondents says that they know of people in the community who have died from COVID-19, and 35 percent said they know of a person or people close them to who have died.

Larger percentages have been affected directly or indirectly because of the virus.

• People I know well outside of work have: 78 percent
• Co-workers/members of my team have been sick: 64 percent
• Members of my family have been sick with COVID-19: 47 percent
• I have been sick with COVID-19: 12 percent

Click here to read the full story from Women In Optometry.

The National Retail Federation’s Top 50 Global Retailers

By Staff
Wednesday, March 24, 2021 5:16 PM The Top 50 Global Retailers from the National Retail Federation (NRF) takes a fresh look at the 50 most impactful international retailers based on their operations at the start of 2020. The rankings are not based simply on sales; rather, the methodology uses a system in which points are given to retailers based on their international revenues, their participation in franchising and alliances outside of their local region, and their ability to sell via online marketplaces.

To qualify for the rankings, retailers need to have a direct investment in at least three countries, at least one of which is not adjacent to their domestic market. The chart here shows the Top 10 retailers, according to the NRF. Explore the complete list or take a closer look at the rundown here.

With Retail Poised for Growth, 5G Will Blur the Line Between Physical and Digital

By Staff
Tuesday, March 23, 2021 5:36 PM During his keynote presentation at CES 2021, Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg remarked, “5G is an overlay for the entire global economy.” He cited 5G technology’s unparalleled upload and download speeds, enormous capacity and ultra-low lag, explaining that these features support more connected devices and mobile connection and provide faster, more responsive service deployment and “a new standard for energy efficiency and reliability.”

The powerful capabilities will give large enterprises the ability to operate in real time.

The Rise of Digital Wallets

By Staff
Monday, March 22, 2021 3:32 PM Juniper Research has produced a new white paper on the rise of digital wallets, and what this new form of payment means for consumers and service providers. As Juniper explains, digital wallets extend both to offline and online goods payments on service providers own storefronts and third-party storefronts, together with loyalty programs, bill payments and banking services. Furthermore, digital wallet payment technology has developed to the point where they make use of a variety of different payment technologies.

Pew Research Center Finds that Cable and Satellite TV Use in the U.S. Has ‘Dropped Dramatically’

By Staff
Friday, March 19, 2021 5:00 PM NEW YORK—The share of Americans who say they watch television via cable or satellite has plunged from 76 percent in 2015 to 56 percent this year, according to a new Pew Research Center survey of U.S. adults. Some 71 percent of those who do not use cable or satellite services say it’s because they can access the content they want online, while 69 percent say the cost of cable and satellite services is too high and 45 percent say they do not often watch TV.

The drop in cable and satellite subscribers highlights the changing landscape of connectivity and media in an era of “cord cutting,” particularly as Internet streaming services like Netflix and Hulu have grown in popularity, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the Pew research, among those who do not currently subscribe to cable or satellite TV, 61 percent report that they had done so in the past, while 39 percent say they have never been subscribers. When applying these findings to the population as a whole, this means 27 percent of U.S. adults are “cord cutters” and 17 percent have never had a cable or satellite subscription, according to the survey, which was conducted Jan. 25-Feb. 8, 2021.

The decline in cable and satellite TV subscribers since 2015 shows up across the demographic spectrum. The trends among different age groups are particularly striking.

Only about a third (34 percent ) of Americans ages 18 to 29 now get TV through cable or satellite, down 31 percentage points from 2015. Fewer than half (46 percent ) of those ages 30 to 49 currently get TV that way, down 27 points.