Cyber Monday Sets Sales Records, Mobile Shopping on Rise

While retailers have extended their special online deals before and after Cyber Monday this year, yesterday’s sales are still poised to break records. Adobe reports that by 10:00 yesterday morning, shoppers had already spent a record $490 million. When the numbers are finalized, Adobe predicts the day will represent the biggest e-commerce day on record with $3 billion in sales. Mobile shopping is also on the rise; Adobe notes that 41 percent of shopping visits originated on smartphones and 12 percent from tablets. Continue reading Cyber Monday Sets Sales Records, Mobile Shopping on Rise

CTA: Tech Spending to Increase This Holiday Shopping Season

About 160 million U.S. adults — or 74 percent of holiday shoppers — plan on purchasing tech gifts this season, according to the Consumer Technology Association’s 22nd Annual CE Holiday Purchase Patterns Study, which predicts holiday tech spending will reach $34.2 billion this year. Top gifts include smartphones, headphones, tablets and portable Bluetooth speakers, while 12 percent of shoppers indicate they plan to purchase a wearable device. CTA has identified six types of tech shoppers that could help retailers better understand the preferences of today’s consumers. Continue reading CTA: Tech Spending to Increase This Holiday Shopping Season

Ranking Brand Awareness of Retailers on Today’s Social Media

According to Engagement Labs CEO Bryan Segal, “a retailer’s entire year is often determined in the months leading up to the holiday season.” While marketers are launching new online campaigns and tapping social media influencers, “it’s really the unprecedented power of word-of-mouth brands are really looking to leverage,” reports SocialTimes. Engagement Labs and market research firm Keller Fay have ranked the top retailers in social media and word-of-mouth. “Nordstrom, Macys and Hollister topped the list on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram respectively,” notes the article. Clothing brands are doing well with visual-centric social platforms, while retailers such as Costco, Amazon, Kroger and Target are leading in word-of-mouth.

‘Showrooming’ Often Leads to Purchases at Competing Stores

A new Interactive Advertising Bureau study suggests that “showrooming” is still a popular trend, especially with younger consumers. According to IAB, half of adult shoppers (and more than two-thirds of Millennials) will regularly perform research on products via their mobile devices while shopping in a brick-and-mortar retail store. “The study found that shoppers usually end up buying a product in a physical store after researching it on mobile while in store, but it is often not the same physical store where the mobile research began,” reports VentureBeat. “The next most likely scenario is to buy the product from another store’s website after leaving the store, using either a mobile phone or a personal computer.”

More People Shopped Online Than in Stores this Black Friday

Last week’s start to the holiday shopping season marked the most social on record with 1.4 million tweets during the week leading up to Black Friday. However, sales in retail stores on Thanksgiving and Black Friday fell about $1.4 billion this year, with more consumers opting to pursue deals online. Black Friday saw a 14 percent increase in online sales over last year, for a total of $2.72 billion, while Thanksgiving online sales jumped 25 percent. Adobe estimates that shoppers spent $4.45 billion online Thursday and Friday combined. Continue reading More People Shopped Online Than in Stores this Black Friday

Sony Milestone: 30 Million PlayStation 4 Game Consoles Sold

Sony announced that it has now sold 30 million PlayStation 4 consoles worldwide since the product’s launch, bringing this year’s sales up to 9.5 million. By comparison, VGChartz notes that Microsoft has sold 15.6 million Xbox One consoles since its launch. Both consoles continue to outsell Nintendo’s Wii U, which has struggled this year selling 1.9 million units for a 10.6 million total since its debut. According to Digital Trends, “Call of Duty: Black Ops III” is helping drive sales; “VGChartz claims over 3.7 million PS4 copies have been sold on the opening week, compared to 2.2 million on Xbox One. ‘Need for Speed’ is another better seller on the PS4, with 470,000 copies sold compared to 135,000 on Xbox One.”

LG to Build Factory and Develop OLED Over Next Three Years

Seoul-based LG Display Co. plans to spend more than $8.7 billion to build a new manufacturing plant and expand its “production of a newer type of display that can be used to cut power use, make thinner devices and show brighter colors,” reports Bloomberg. LG says that by 2018 it will produce new OLED displays for TV sets, smartwatches and automotive displays. Reports also suggest the OLED tech could replace smartphone LCDs, with Apple on board to adopt OLED for its iPhones beginning in 2018. LG explains that OLED offers a brighter and sharper image than LCDs in addition to saving space and power since they do not require backlight.


Apple Acquires Faceshift and Compelling Motion Capture Tech

Apple has acquired Zurich-based startup Faceshift, which could further Apple’s role in the virtual reality tech space. Faceshift’s motion capture technology creates animated avatars and figures in real-time that reflect an individual’s facial expressions. While Apple has confirmed the acquisition, specific plans have yet to be announced. However, TechCrunch points to three possibilities: for use in gaming avatars “for a more immediate and realistic experience,” as a tool in film production for “animating characters to more closely mimic the actors’ facial movements” (it was used in the latest “Star Wars” film), and even as potential enterprise applications that could incorporate “facial recognition for identification or security purposes.”

Mobile Banking is Predicted to Reach 1 Billion Users This Year

Juniper Research forecasts 1 billion people will access their bank accounts via mobile devices by the end of this year. The researcher suggests that banks should start directing their efforts toward wearable devices such as smartwatches, which are expected to reach 100 million banking sessions in five years. While the number of mobile banking sessions via wearable devices is expected to grow tenfold by 2020, Juniper predicts the number of mobile banking users will double to 2 billion. The Wall Street Journal reports: “Banks hoping to gain customers under the age of 30, or to prime the population younger than that, must expand into wearable devices, as well as develop a substantive social media strategy, said Nitin Bhas, head of research.”


CES 2016: ETC Begins Show Coverage with December Previews

ETC coverage of the upcoming 2016 CES begins on December 7 with a 3-week series of previews on the top trends and technologies expected to be on display. CES, presented by the newly re-named Consumer Technology Association (formerly CEA), runs from January 4-9 in Las Vegas. At CES, ETC will have a team of dedicated reporters and analysts preparing twice daily email briefs and delivering breaking news as it happens. Following the show, ETC publishes a comprehensive report that distills from the massive trade event the key themes most likely to impact the media and entertainment industry. Continue reading CES 2016: ETC Begins Show Coverage with December Previews

Encore Play, CW Seed, Smithsonian Earth Available on Roku

Starz announced that its authenticated TV Everywhere service for Encore subscribers, Encore Play (which launched September 1) is now available via the Roku Channel store for Roku players and Roku-enabled TVs, providing access to a VOD library of movies and TV series. The service is also available for iOS and Android devices, Web browsers, Amazon Fire TV and Fire tablets, and Xbox 360 and Xbox One consoles. Meanwhile, Roku announced “channel launches for CW Seed, the CW’s digital comedy hub,” reports Multichannel News, and Smithsonian Earth, a “new standalone, ad-free subscription streaming app that offers nature and wildlife documentaries and videos shot in 4K format.”

DisneyLife Streaming Service Offers Movies, TV, Music, Books

Disney has launched its subscription-based streaming service, DisneyLife — which offers Disney movies, television shows, music, audiobooks and e-books — in the United Kingdom (with plans to expand to other European markets). Families can stream to their mobile devices or TV sets via Apple’s AirPlay or Google Chromecast. According to TechCrunch, “Disney is rethinking how it manages the digital rights to its extensive library, which today includes not only the Disney brand itself, but also Pixar, Marvel and Star Wars.” While much of Disney’s library is presently tied up in deals domestically, the company “has not ruled out bringing similar streaming services to the U.S. in the future.”

Networks Cautious of Canceling Shows as TV Viewing Evolves

The television industry is experiencing an unusually long cancellation-free streak for its current season, as networks struggle to adapt to a changing landscape with more viewing alternatives than ever before. Network execs are being extra cautious not to drop a series that may have potential as consumers turn beyond the major broadcasters to cable, on demand, and online streaming alternatives. In addition, overall TV ratings are down and there are more shows than ever before (more than a record-setting 400 are expected by the end of the year across broadcast, cable and online services). Continue reading Networks Cautious of Canceling Shows as TV Viewing Evolves

Initial Stock of Samsung Gear VR Already Sold Out at Retailers

Although it was not revealed how many Samsung Gear VR devices would initially be made available once they went on sale yesterday, Amazon and Best Buy are already posting messages online that read: “temporarily out of stock” and “sold out online,” respectively. For those anxious to order the $100 virtual reality headset, it looks like they are still available directly from the Samsung site. “We are delighted with the overwhelmingly positive response Gear VR has received from reviewers and eager buyers alike,” a Samsung spokesperson told TechCrunch. “We are working hard to fulfill all orders as quickly as possible.”

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