Amazon Curated Annual Holiday Toy Guide Comes at a Cost

Amazon released its annual Holiday Toy Guide featuring more than 1,700 “curated” items. In order to be considered for a spot in the well-regarded guide, Amazon charges toy companies millions of dollars, according to documents reviewed by Bloomberg. Amazon sells “Holiday Toy List” sponsorships for up to $2 million, and “the more sponsors pay, the more products they can nominate to be on the list and the more prominently their own products will be featured on the popular website.” Amazon’s summer toy list charged lower rates.

Continue reading Amazon Curated Annual Holiday Toy Guide Comes at a Cost

Report: About 16 Percent of Americans Own Smart Speakers

NPR and Edison Research released a report this week indicating that about one in six Americans (39 million people) now own a smart speaker, up 128 percent from last January. “Amazon’s Echo speakers are still in the lead, the report says, as 11 percent now own an Amazon Alexa device compared with 4 percent who own a Google Home product,” reports TechCrunch. Amazon and Google promoted their devices heavily and cut prices during the holiday shopping season. “The Echo Dot became a top seller across its site and by manufacturers through the Black Friday weekend.” Continue reading Report: About 16 Percent of Americans Own Smart Speakers

‘Pokémon Go’ Is Still Popular: Passes $1.2 Billion in Revenue

According to the latest figures from Apptopia, mobile AR game sensation “Pokémon Go” has reached 752 million downloads and has earned more than $1.2 billion in revenue. The freemium game supports in-app purchases; total revenues for last year topped $950 million. The game “had about 60 million monthly players in June, with 20 percent of them opening the game at least once a day,” reports VentureBeat. “While that’s down from the app’s peak last August, which was at 100 million monthly users, it’s still a huge number.” Apptopia breaks down the game’s players: 57.4 percent are male, 38 percent are millennials (ages 19-34), and 32.5 percent are 18 or younger. Continue reading ‘Pokémon Go’ Is Still Popular: Passes $1.2 Billion in Revenue

‘Deadpool’ Sets New Record: Sells One Million Digital Units

Already the top-grossing R-rated movie in history (earning $761 million worldwide), “Deadpool” has broken another record by selling one million units in Digital HD sales during its first week, the fastest of any superhero title. The film “holds the record as Fox’s best performing Digital HD title ever,” notes The Wrap. “In comparison, ‘The Martian’ hit the one million unit mark in three weeks over Christmas, which was a record back then.” Digital HD includes Comcast, Google Play, iTunes, Xbox, and other digital outlets. “Deadpool” will be available on Blu-ray, DVD and on demand starting May 10. Continue reading ‘Deadpool’ Sets New Record: Sells One Million Digital Units

New Features, Deals Could Turn Things Around for Apple Pay

Apple Pay is experiencing a rocky road to adoption. On Black Friday, it was used for about half the number of purchases as last year. On the plus side, Apple has added to the list of vendors allowing consumers to use Apple Pay, but the company is also entering the world of friend-to-friend payments, which are expensive to operate and hard to monetize. What could tip the balance is the deal Apple inked with China UnionPay to be used at Chinese cash registers. But only time will tell. Continue reading New Features, Deals Could Turn Things Around for Apple Pay

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

FAA Task Force Releases Recommendations on Policing Drones

The Consumer Technology Association estimates there will be 400,000 drones under the Christmas tree this year. Just in time, a task force created by the Federal Aviation Administration has come out with a report detailing recommendations on how to regulate them. The task force, comprised of drone makers, technology companies, an airline pilots association and the government, says drone owners need to be entered into a federal database and should display a government-issued registration number on their drone. Continue reading FAA Task Force Releases Recommendations on Policing Drones

Twitter Pitches Event-Based Ad Tools for Targeting Audiences

Twitter recently introduced new tools designed to help marketers identify events appropriate for their brands, create advertising content relevant to those events, and target users who would be interested in such events. For example, an advertiser could use Twitter’s event calendar to research the Oscars, the Olympics or Mother’s Day, and the users who would be interested in those events, and then review which tweets resonated best with those users in the past in order to help build an effective ad campaign. Continue reading Twitter Pitches Event-Based Ad Tools for Targeting Audiences

Apple Sells Nearly 75 Million iPhones, Posts Record Quarter

Apple’s quarterly profit jumped 38 percent to a record high, thanks in large part to demand for its bigger-screen iPhones. Apple recorded net income of $18 billion for the quarter ending December 27, an increase of nearly $5 billion over the same period the previous year, while earnings per share rose 48 percent. The company launched its iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus in September and sold 74.5 million units during the quarter, earning back market share it had slowly been losing to Samsung over three years. Continue reading Apple Sells Nearly 75 Million iPhones, Posts Record Quarter

Amazon Wheels Out Robots to Meet Holiday Shipping Demands

Two years ago, Amazon acquired robot manufacturer Kiva Systems for $775 million. The orange, wheeled robots have been used by a number of retailers in warehouses across the country. In an effort to improve efficiency, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has announced plans to deploy thousands of these robots across Amazon warehouses. The robot army is designed to bring stocked shelves to employees, reducing the time workers would have spent looking for items on their own.  Continue reading Amazon Wheels Out Robots to Meet Holiday Shipping Demands

Holiday Shopping Takes a Mobile Turn, Companies Respond

Cyber Monday, one of the busiest online commerce days of the year, is now extending to the rest of the holiday season. Consumers are no longer waiting until the Monday after Thanksgiving to surf the Web for deals. Rather, utilizing their tablets and smartphones, consumers are shopping online for a longer stretch. This is forcing companies like Amazon and eBay to compete with retailers to attract online buyers both before and after Cyber Monday. Continue reading Holiday Shopping Takes a Mobile Turn, Companies Respond

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