Monday, 23 April 2018

Booking.com has more than 5m property listings

"Booking.com announced Tuesday (April 10) that it has hit five million reported listings in homes, apartments and other unique places to stay.
In a press release, the company said that the number of reported listings within this category has grown 27 percent compared to the previous year, growing faster than traditional options, such as hotels, motels and resorts. The milestone of five million listings makes it the global leader, said the company, trumping Airbnb.
“We know that travelers are passionate about exploring a huge variety of different stay experiences, including everything from apartments to houseboats,” said Olivier Grémillon, vice president at Booking.com, who leads the business’ strategy in homes and apartments. “We’ve been pushing hard to add as many amazing homes and apartments to our platform as possible in order to guarantee that we’re providing the choice and diversity our customers crave. We’re definitely proud of this milestone and will continue to strengthen our leadership position in this space. No matter what type of experience our customers want, we aim to connect them with the unique stay that’s just right for them.”"

Teens in the US list Food, Beauty and Video Games as things they'd most like to spend money on

"Overall teen spending up 6% from fall and up 2% from a year ago.
Food, beauty and video games continue to dominate teen wallet.
Athletic cycle above historic average but streetwear cycle accelerates.
Teens opt for Snapchat and Instagram as Facebook stabilizes.
Spending & Shopping Behavior
Food reaccelerates as teens’ No. 1 spending category, returning to its 24% peak.
Male spending on video games reaches a new peak at 13%, closing in on fashion.
Beauty spending hit a new high for females at $368 per year led by skincare, up 18% year-over-year.
Department stores and legacy channels continue to shed share as online hits new highs.
Brand Preferences
Streetwear has seen the largest incremental gains led by Vans (No. 1 footwear brand) and Supreme (No. 7 apparel brand); 1990s revival underway with Champion and Tommy Hilfiger.
Nike mindshare declines; adidas is firmly No. 3 brand (14% share footwear, 6% apparel).
Ralph Lauren moves out of top-10 brand list for males, formerly a top-10 brand since 2002.
Intent to buy iPhone reaches a new high – 84% of Gen-Z will choose the iPhone next (compared to 82% last fall).
eBay mindshare declined to its lowest level recorded at 1.8%, compared to 3% in fall 2017."

Netflix has 125m subscribers

"Netflix once again beat expectations on subscriber growth, packing on 7.4 million net streaming customers worldwide for the first quarter of 2018.
The streaming giant added 1.96 million net U.S. streaming subscribers and 5.46 million internationally for the quarter ended March 31. The company’s total net gain of 7.4 million subs in Q1 — a new record for the first quarter — topped its previous guidance of 6.35 million by more than a million. The company counted 125 million subscribers worldwide as of the end of March.
Netflix reported $3.7 billion in revenue for Q1 and a net profit of $290 million (64 cents per diluted share)."
Source:  Variety, 16th April 2018

Netflix is adding 100,000 subscriptions a month in France

"Netflix is signing up more than 100,000 subs in France each month since the beginning of 2018 and is nearing on reaching 3.4 million subs according to daily newspaper Liberation.
The figures have not been confirmed by the SVoD platform, but the service has significantly enhanced its French-speaking catalogue over the last months, as awareness of the service increased. Recent exclusive agreements include one with French one-man show humourist Gad Elmaleh and major TV producers.
If confirmed, these figures would show the rapid change of usages of French viewers, as Netflix would surpass the other OTT and linear TV offers such as OCS, which is close to 3 million subs, and beIN Sports, which also cliams 3.4 million subs. Canal+ is still top ranked with 4.9 million subs in France, but could be surpassed in less than a year.
Netflix France has also revealed other data, saying that 55 per cent of French people acknowledged having found “a really good partner for binge viewing.”"

Friday, 20 April 2018

Amazon has more than 100m Prime Members

"Prime – 13 years post-launch, we have exceeded 100 million paid Prime members globally. In 2017 Amazon shipped more than five billion items with Prime worldwide, and more new members joined Prime than in any previous year – both worldwide and in the U.S. Members in the U.S. now receive unlimited free two-day shipping on over 100 million different items. We expanded Prime to Mexico, Singapore, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg, and introduced Business Prime Shipping in the U.S. and Germany. We keep making Prime shipping faster as well, with Prime Free Same-Day and Prime Free One-Day delivery now in more than 8,000 cities and towns. Prime Now is available in more than 50 cities worldwide across nine countries. Prime Day 2017 was our biggest global shopping event ever (until surpassed by Cyber Monday), with more new Prime members joining Prime than any other day in our history.
[...]
Marketplace – In 2017, for the first time in our history, more than half of the units sold on Amazon worldwide were from our third-party sellers, including small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). Over 300,000 U.S.-based SMBs started selling on Amazon in 2017, and Fulfillment by Amazon shipped billions of items for SMBs worldwide. Customers ordered more than 40 million items from SMBs worldwide during Prime Day 2017, growing their sales by more than 60 percent over Prime Day 2016. Our Global Selling program (enabling SMBs to sell products across national borders) grew by over 50% in 2017 and cross-border ecommerce by SMBs now represents more than 25% of total third-party sales.
Alexa – Customer embrace of Alexa continues, with Alexa-enabled devices among the best-selling items across all of Amazon. We’re seeing extremely strong adoption by other companies and developers that want to create their own experiences with Alexa. There are now more than 30,000 skills for Alexa from outside developers, and customers can control more than 4,000 smart home devices from 1,200 unique brands with Alexa. The foundations of Alexa continue to get smarter every day too. We’ve developed and implemented an on-device fingerprinting technique, which keeps your device from waking up when it hears an Alexa commercial on TV. (This technology ensured that our Alexa Super Bowl commercial didn’t wake up millions of devices.) Far-field speech recognition (already very good) has improved by 15% over the last year; and in the U.S., U.K., and Germany, we’ve improved Alexa’s spoken language understanding by more than 25% over the last 12 months through enhancements in Alexa’s machine learning components and the use of semi-supervised learning techniques. (These semi-supervised learning techniques reduced the amount of labeled data needed to achieve the same accuracy improvement by 40 times!) Finally, we’ve dramatically reduced the amount of time required to teach Alexa new languages by using machine translation and transfer learning techniques, which allows us to serve customers in more countries (like India and Japan)."

Friday, 6 April 2018

Chinese manufacturer Transson accounts for 30% of African phone sales

"No matter how many phones you sell, Yu Weiguo has learned, it’s tough to keep to a schedule when the government declares martial law. During his eight years in Ethiopia, Yu has helped turn little-known Transsion Holdings, owner of the sleepy Chinese brand Tecno Mobile, into Africa’s leading mobile device maker. Having sold at least 200 million phones on the continent, he picked the outskirts of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital, as the site for a 280,000-square-foot factory. It was supposed to be pumping out as many as 2 million phones a month by July, but things aren’t working out as planned.
Ethiopia’s ruling coalition declared a state of emergency in mid-February after the surprise resignation of Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn destabilized the rest of the autocratic regime. For Transsion, the fallout has been a lesson in risk. The company profits from China’s checkbook diplomacy in Africa but now faces the downside: public outcry against worsening inequality and repression. “There are many things that can’t be controlled in Africa,” Yu says. “Sometimes your plans don’t work.”
To say Transsion and its phones are little-known outside Africa is an understatement. Tecno has never cracked the top-10 smartphone brands in China and doesn’t sell in the U.S. or Europe. Yet its parent accounts for 30 percent of African phone sales, compared with 22 percent for second-place Samsung, according to researcher Canalys. Reclusive founder Zhu Zhaojiang controls the private company via a string of related backers and funds, as well as some government-backed investment. Zhu, 44, has said he plans to go public at some point through a reverse merger with Shimge Pump Industry Group, a Chinese manufacturer of stainless steel pumps."

The US self-storage industry generated nearly $40bn a year

"Despite recessions and demographic shifts, few building types have boomed like self-storage lockers. In fact, they’ve proven to be one of the surest bets in real estate over the last half century, while malls, starter homes, and even luxury commercial space in big cities, once safe and steady investments, have struggled. Behind the combination locks and roll-up doors lies a $38 billion industry.
One in 11 Americans pays an average of $91.14 per month to use self-storage, finding a place for the material overflow of the American dream. According to SpareFoot, a company that tracks the self-storage industry, the United States boasts more than 50,000 facilities and roughly 2.311 billion square feet of rentable space. In other words, the volume of self-storage units in the country could fill the Hoover Dam with old clothing, skis, and keepsakes more than 26 times.
Though the adage “sex sells” is hard to dispute, the decidedly unsexy self-storage industry made $32.7 billion in 2016, according to Bloomberg, nearly three times Hollywood’s box office gross. Self-storage has seen 7.7 percent annual growth since 2012, according to analysts at IBISWorld, and now employs 144,000 nationwide."

13m ARKit apps have been downloaded in 6 months

"iPhone and iPad users worldwide have installed more than 13 million augmented reality apps built expressly using Apple’s ARKit framework since they debuted on September 19 of last year, Sensor Tower Store Intelligence data shows.
As the following charts reveal, these downloads have been heavily concentrated around a few key App Store categories, including Games, Utilities, and Lifestyle. In addition to this, we’ve put together top 10 rankings of the most downloaded free and paid ARKit-only apps and games, along with the highest grossing offerings so far in this growing space."
Source:  SensorTower, 28th March 2018

Online alcohol delivery revenue grew by 33% in the US in 2017

"New data shows that online alcohol-delivery revenue grew almost 33 percent last year, increasing at an average rate of 3 percent month over month. According to Slice Intelligence, the growth of alcohol-delivery service Drizly helped give the market a boost, with revenue that grew by a whopping 62 percent in 2017.
Drizly is an eCommerce marketplace for consumers who want alcohol delivered to them the same day, connecting them with local retailers who are part of Drizly’s marketplace, available in over 40 markets across the U.S. and Canada.
“We have been collecting great data as a result of selling beer, wine and spirits online,” Drizly Co-founder and COO Justin Robinson told PYMNTS last year, “and for an interesting customer base — a base that everyone wants to know more about, one that skews toward millennials with an average consumer age of 33 — those are the consumers who are starting trends.”
The Slice data also shows that December is the highest revenue-earning month in 2017, comprising over 12 percent of annual sales, thanks to the holiday season."

Apple's app store shrank for the first time ever in 2017

"The Apple App Store endured its first ever contraction in 2017 — dropping from 2.2 million published iOS apps in the beginning of the year to 2.1 million by year-end.
The news comes from a new report from Appfigures, according to TechCrunch. The App Store’s contraction was paired with the Google Play stores’ expansion — in 2017, it reportedly grew 30 percent to around 3.6 million apps.
The drop off, according to Appfigures, comes as a result of a few issues. Apple has begun pushing for stricter enforcement of app guidelines — meaning more apps were categorized as spam and removed. There were also technical changes to the App Store that required developers to adopt 64-bit architecture.
The change also reflects a purge of apps that were considered abandoned, outdated, or those that were out of step with current app-development guidelines. That clean-up began in 2016, but analysts suspect that purge may well have continued into 2017.
Other explanations for the great app thin-out include a temporary move to template-based apps, but that policy was relaxed over SMB complaints that the requirement made the App Store inaccessible for smaller businesses."

Amazon 'isn't as appealing to Gen Z as to Millennials'

"Though Amazon’s retail stronghold continues to pose a threat to companies both large and small, there’s one demographic the e-commerce giant has yet to crack: Gen Z.
According to a report by Yes Lifecycle Marketing, Gen Z consumers, more than any other generation, choose to shop at other retailers besides Amazon, with 31 percent citing that they prefer the in-store shopping experience. Additionally, in a survey of whether individuals made a purchase on the platform in the last month, 79 percent of millennials reported they had, while just 62 percent of Gen Z said the same.
Ed Kennedy, senior director of commerce at Episerver, said Amazon isn’t appealing to experience-driven Gen Z shoppers, in large part because the platform’s main value proposition — namely convenience and cost — doesn’t speak to them. While older generations are busy managing careers and families, Gen Z has time and disposable income and is seeking unique retail experiences."

VR & AR start-ups raised $3.6bn in the 12 months to March 2018

"AR/VR startups raised a record over $3.6 billion from VCs and corporates in the last 12 months to the end of Q1 2018. Over three-quarters of a billion dollars was invested in the first 3 months of this year alone. A fundamental transition in the fundraising market towards AR from VR, as well as the very early-stage dynamics of mobile AR, are driving an acceleration of fundraising trends anticipated at the start of the year. As expected in a transitional year, overall deal volumes declined slightly in the short-term as VCs and corporates look to medium-term mobile AR and long-term smartglasses growth.
The investment dollar figures for the last 12 months and first quarter are impressive, but digging beneath the surface reveals what is really going on. As has become more expected in early-stage tech markets, mega-rounds take the lion’s share of dollars invested. In the last 12 months Magic Leap raised nearly $1 billion ($502 million in Q4 2017 and $461 million in Q1 2018), Improbable raised $502 million, Niantic raised $200 million and Unity did another big round."

Wednesday, 28 March 2018

Half of British children watch Netflix; only 29% watch BBC iPlayer

"This generation of children embody the digital transformation. They are the audience group that are changing fastest. Although TV continues to be the main platform for children’s viewing, what they consider to be ‘TV’ and how they access this is rapidly evolving.
As the trend shifts towards on-demand viewing, the BBC risks being overtaken by competitors. 82% of children go to YouTube for on-demand content, half to Netflix and only 29% use BBC iPlayer. Children aged 5-15 now spend more time each week online (15 hrs 18 mins) than they do watching TV (14 hrs).
43% of 12-15s now use their mobile phone to watch TV. At the same time, the market has become much more competitive. The number of specialist children’s TV channels has increased markedly in recent decades, from four in 1998 to more than 35 in 2016. Most of these additional channels are driven primarily by imported content, the majority emanating from North America, and much of it consisting of animation (Cartoon Network; Nickelodeon and Nick Jnr; Disney Channel, Disney XD and Disney Junior).
As a result, there has been a steady decline in the usage of our children’s services. The average weekly reach of CBBC among 6-12 year olds has fallen from close to 40% in 2011/12 to under 25% in 2016/17."
[...]
"The BBC’s output on TV and Radio is uniquely distinctive in its breadth and range, and in its focus on British content from across the UK. But sustaining the quality that audiences demand is increasingly difficult in a world where inflation in some genres is running at unprecedented levels. The BBC continues to seek out investment from other providers to reduce the demand on the licence fee, but these deals are not as available or as attractive as they used to be.
At the same time, maintaining the reach and time that audiences spend with our output is equally difficult, when they have so many other choices at their disposal. This challenge is most acute for young audiences. Our most recent estimates suggest that 16-34s spent similar amounts of time with BBC One, ITV and Netflix a week – around two hours a week for each. 16-24s spend more time with Netflix than all of BBC TV (including iPlayer). Similarly, for the first time, in October-December 2017 we estimate 15- 34s listened more to streaming music services than all BBC Radio (5 hrs vs. 4 hrs 30 mins a week)."
Source:  The BBC Annual Plan, 28th March 2018
PDF here - The text is from page 9 and page 11

Tuesday, 27 March 2018

Mobile devices account for 60% of video views

"Mobile devices were responsible for 60% of all video views worldwide in Q4 2017 as audiences were more likely to watch programming on a smartphone or tablet than a PC or TV, according to a study by video technology company Ooyala. As more premium sports programming moves online and can be viewed on mobile, this number may top 70% soon.
Smartphones (55%) topped PCs (36%) in Q4 for the percentage of pre-roll ad impressions shown on broadcaster platforms that distribute TV content online. Smartphone pre-roll impressions were highest on publisher platforms at 69%, which Ooyala defines as including news and media organizations. Broadcasters saw mid-roll impressions on smartphones rise to 28% in Q4 from 16% in Q3, while publishers experienced a jump to 51% from 44% for the same periods.
Mobile video plays have increased by about 20% in North America over the past two years as more carriers offered unlimited data plans to attract new users and younger consumers use mobile devices as their primary screens. New, high-tech phone models helped smartphones snag an additional 7.2% of video plays in the past year."
Note - data is taken from sites that Ooyala serves ads to - and does not include YouTube or Netflix for example

35% of American adults use Instagram



Source:  Pew Internet & American Life Project, quoted in Adweek, 1st March 2018
Link to full report here

26% of US adults are online 'almost constantly'



Source:  Pew Internet & American Life Project, 14th March 2018

YouTube is the top-grossing iPhone app in the US, thanks to YouTube Red

"YouTube  just became the Top Grossing iPhone app in the U.S. for the first time on Tuesday, after flirting with the top spot a number of times over the years, but never reaching higher than No. 3. The milestone was first spotted by the app store intelligence firm Sensor Tower, which notes that the U.S. is the only country where YouTube’s iPhone app has ever hit No. 1.
The app has been climbing up the Top Grossing charts for years, however, thanks to the launch of YouTube Red in-app subscriptions in fall 2015. In fact, YouTube Red’s arrival almost immediately pushed the app into the Top Grossing charts. The month after Red’s launch, the YouTube iPhone app jumped all the way up to No. 6, we noted at the time. It was then estimated to be bringing in more than $100,000 per day — and perhaps as high as $300,000, excluding iPad.
YouTube’s iOS revenue has grown remarkably since then, of course, as YouTube Red itself grew in popularity, combined with other trends, like the rise of cord-cutting, YouTube’s youngest users finally getting their own phones, streaming plans from mobile carriers that don’t count YouTube’s data or those offering cheap unlimited data, the growth of live streaming and the launch of other features to engage YouTube viewers — like messaging, Community, Reels and more."

US broadband households have on average more 7 devices to watch video on

"Parks Associates announced new research today showing U.S. broadband households have on average more than seven video access devices, including TVs, computers, tablets, and smartphones. At the inaugural Integrated Life Day, produced by Parks Associates and in partnership with AVIXA™, Parks Associates will share insights on the convergence of audio/visual and connected technologies as well as new business opportunities."

Kia's conversion rate is 3x higher with its chatbot than with its website

"At last count, Kia had more than 800 websites where a customer can ask about buying a car.
In November, to try and simplify the process, Kia launched Kian, a Facebook Messenger and chatbot, in order to have a direct source for all the information that users might search for. In the four months since its launch, Kia has gotten three times more conversions through Kian than through its main website, Kia.com.
The conversion rate through Kian is 21 percent, while conversions through Kia.com are at 7 percent, according to Nathalie Choy, national manager of digital, social and CRM marketing at Kia Motors America.
Customers aren’t shying away from asking their questions. Choy said Kia has seen an increase in engagement, mostly thanks to Kian. Kian has exchanged 600,000 messages, resulting in 50 times more engagement through Messenger, according to Choy."

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

70% of Netflix viewing happens on TVs



Source:  Data from Netflix, reported by Recode, 7th March 2018
(Follow the link to see data for Thailand, Italy, Colombia, South Africa and Poland)

Nearly $2bn worth of robots were bought in the US in 2017

"2017 was a milestone year for the North American robotics market as it surpassed previous high water marks in all four statistical categories: order units, order revenue, shipment units, and shipment revenue.
The amount of robots sold in North America last year surpassed all previous records. Customers purchased 34,904 total units representing $1.9 billion in total sales. These numbers show growth of 0.9% in units and 0.1% in dollars from 2016. While automotive-related orders were down compared to the previous year (-7.3% in units and -3.8% in dollars), non-automotive orders fueled the rise in 2017 with 20.5% growth in units and 7.3% in dollars.
The industry also set records for North American shipments in 2017: 33,575 robots valued at $1.94 billion shipped to customers last year. This is an expansion of 8.7% in units and 6.9% in dollars over 2016 levels, with non-automotive related shipments once again providing the growth. 2017 shipments increased 29.7% in units and 19.7% in dollars from 2016 results. The largest growth rates for units shipped came from the plastics and rubber (59.6%), metals (53.9%), and food & consumer goods (44.2%). Automotive shipments were flat in both units and dollars compared to 2016."

Mobile payments are approaching a tipping point in the UK

"Mobile payments are fast approaching a tipping point, with spending via smartphones accelerating according to the latest consumer spending data from Worldpay.
The number of in-store contactless transactions made via a mobile device totalled 126 million last year, with the amount spent topping £975 million. This marks a 328% year-on-year rise in in-store mobile spending; and with almost a third  of consumers now taking advantage of their phone’s payment capabilities, these numbers are set for exponential growth over the next 12 months.
Accounting for 59% of all in-store mobile transactions, the supermarket sector has been an important driver in the uptake of digital wallets such as Apple Pay, Google Pay and Samsung Pay, as time-poor shoppers grab groceries on the go. Pubs, bars and restaurants make up a further 12.5% of the total spend.
But according to Worldpay’s analysis, shoppers are now starting to purchase higher value items via their smartphones. In the second half of 2017, the average spend per transaction increased by 11%*, with a notable lift-off following the increase in retailers accepting ‘limitless’ Apple Pay transactions in May. Consequently, luxury department stores and high end boutiques are now one of the fastest growing sectors for mobile payments; although the volume of mobile transactions in this category still remains a small fraction of the total (2.9%), its share of the market has more than doubled since last year."

Nearly half of the ICOs launched in 2017 failed

"Of the initial coin offerings that blasted onto the scene in 2017 along with the price of bitcoin, 46 percent have failed.
That’s according to Engadget, which — citing data from TokenData — reported that of the 902 ICOs in 2017, 46 percent have failed. Among that percentage, 142 never got the funding and another 276 have faded away or were scams. What’s more, the report noted that another 113 ICOs have stopped talking about their project online or haven’t had enough adopters that success will be likely. Of the survivors, the report noted that only a few have raised more than $10 million via an ICO.
According to Engadget, excluding the ICOs that were outright scams, it’s not surprising that many of the ICOs and the virtual coins failed to take off. Many were focused on niches such as dentistry or trucking, while others were riding the coattails of other successful tokens and thus didn’t stand out enough to get traction. The report noted that ICOs remain popular this year, but there’s no guarantee that they will have a better go at it."

Fake news spreads more quickly than genuine news

"We investigated the differential diffusion of all of the verified true and false news stories distributed on Twitter from 2006 to 2017. The data comprise ~126,000 stories tweeted by ~3 million people more than 4.5 million times. We classified news as true or false using information from six independent fact-checking organizations that exhibited 95 to 98% agreement on the classifications. Falsehood diffused significantly farther, faster, deeper, and more broadly than the truth in all categories of information, and the effects were more pronounced for false political news than for false news about terrorism, natural disasters, science, urban legends, or financial information. We found that false news was more novel than true news, which suggests that people were more likely to share novel information. Whereas false stories inspired fear, disgust, and surprise in replies, true stories inspired anticipation, sadness, joy, and trust. Contrary to conventional wisdom, robots accelerated the spread of true and false news at the same rate, implying that false news spreads more than the truth because humans, not robots, are more likely to spread it."
Source:  Abstract of The spread of true and false news online by Soroush Vosoughi1, Deb Roy, Sinan Aral, reported in Science, 9th March 2018

Monday, 26 February 2018

Google sold an estimated 3.9m Pixel phones in 2017

"In the 16 months since its initial release in October 2016, Google’s Pixel family of phones has earned plenty of acclaim and scrutiny, but not very many sales. The latest update on Pixel sales comes from IDC’s Francisco Jeronimo, who notes that Google shipped 3.9 million Pixel and Pixel 2 devices in 2017. That’s no more than a rounding error when set against the global smartphone market that numbers 1.5 billion units, and it’s also less than a typical week’s worth of iPhone sales for Apple.
Though still comparatively tiny, Google’s Pixel sales are at least heading in the right direction. According to Jeronimo, the rate of sales has doubled in 2017, and the most recent data from Kantar Worldpanel agrees with this, indicating that Google’s share of the US phone market has gone up from 1.8 percent to 2.8 percent."

Things that have become cheaper, and things that have become more expensive


Source:  MarketWatch, 12th February 2018

China has more 'Unicorns' than all the other non-US countries put together

"More companies outside of the U.S. are reaching unicorn status at a quicker pace than ever before.
Membership in the Unicorn Club is exploding. These unicorns, or startup companies valued at more than a billion dollars, are increasingly based outside of the U.S.
In fact, nearly half of the 193 current members of the unicorn club (with a total cumulative valuation of $665 billion) are based outside of the U.S., according to data from CB Insights, a venture capital and angel investment database.
“Thirty-seven percent of all companies (current and past unicorns) that achieved a $1B+ valuation in 2014 were based outside the U.S.,” according to CB Insights. “The following year, 53 percent of all the companies that reached unicorn status that year were based outside of the U.S. In 2016, that number increased again to 58 percent. So far in 2018, there have been 11 companies added to the global unicorn club; 8 are based outside of the U.S.
China, with 46, has the most unicorn startups. In fact, China has more unicorns than all the other countries combined. China is also home to the five most valuable startups (Xiaomi, Didi Chuxing, China Internet Plus, Lu.com, and Toutiao), according to CB Insights.
India is the closest rival to China, with 9 unicorns, followed by the UK with 8; Germany with 4; and South Korea with 3."
Source:  Data from CB Insights, reported by Larry Kim on Medium, 13th February 2018

The Apple Watch can detect diabetes with 85% accuracy

"According to Cardiogram founder Brandon Ballinger’s latest clinical study, the Apple Watch can detect diabetes in those previously diagnosed with the disease with an 85 percent accuracy.
The study is part of the larger DeepHeart study with Cardiogram and UCSF. This particular study used data from 14,000 Apple Watch users and was able to detect that 462 of them had diabetes by using the Watch’s heart rate sensor, the same type of sensor other fitness bands using Android Wear also integrate into their systems.
In 2015, the Framingham Heart Study showed that resting heart rate and heart rate variability significantly predicted incident diabetes and hypertension. This led to the impetus to use the Watch’s heart rate sensor to see if it could accurately detect a diabetic patient."

A mention on the TV show Rick & Morty led to McDonalds re-introducing Szechuan dipping sauce

"If you’re going to ride a pop culture trend, you’ve got to ride it full send — and that’s why McDonald’s says it’s bringing back its Szechuan dipping sauce. Again.
McDonald’s originally introduced the limited batch of Szechuan sauce in 1998 to coincide with the release of the Disney film “Mulan.” Last fall, the sauce was referenced by Cartoon Network’s popular Adult Swim show, “Rick and Morty,” leading McDonald’s to briefly rerelease the sauce — and leading to full-on riots when the very limited supply ran out.
The fast food chain apologized after the fiasco, saying it had not expected such high demand."

Smartphone sales fell for the first time ever in Q4 2017

"Global sales of smartphones to end users totaled nearly 408 million units in the fourth quarter of 2017, a 5.6 percent decline over the fourth quarter of 2016, according to Gartner, Inc. This is the first year-on-year decline since Gartner started tracking the global smartphone market in 2004.
"Two main factors led to the fall in the fourth quarter of 2017," said Anshul Gupta, research director at Gartner. "First, upgrades from feature phones to smartphones have slowed down due to a lack of quality "ultra-low-cost" smartphones and users preferring to buy quality feature phones. Second, replacement smartphone users are choosing quality models and keeping them longer, lengthening the replacement cycle of smartphones. Moreover, while demand for high quality, 4G connectivity and better camera features remained strong, high expectations and few incremental benefits during replacement weakened smartphone sales.""

In-App transactions increased by 46% in 2017

"Marketers around the globe saw a 46% jump in in-app transactions last year, as shoppers continued to migrate toward mobile shopping platforms, according to a study by adtech firm Criteo.
North American retailers that offer a shopping app generate 67% of all e-commerce sales conducted on mobile devices, while in-app transactions make up two-thirds of mobile transactions for retailers that sell products in both an app and on a mobile site.
Shopping apps also had higher sales conversion rates of 21%, compared to the standard 6% on the mobile web. Retail categories with the highest share of mobile sales included sporting goods (44%), fashion/luxury (40%) and health/beauty (38%)."

Musical.ly users generated more than 10m Winter Olympics interactions in first weekend

"Musical.ly, the lip-synching video app with 60 million users, generated more than 10 million engagements during the first weekend of the Winter Olympics with broadcasts from social influencers Nia Sioux (@niasioux) and Ross Smith (@rosssmith) and the NBC Olympics channel (@nbcolympics), according to a news release. Muscial.ly partnered with NBC Sports Group to provide new ways for fans to experience the games, which opened last week in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
NBC Olympics is feeding content daily to Musical.ly users, such as event highlights, behind-the-scenes footage and GIFs. Musical.ly is also urging users to engage in the Olympics experience using two in-app hashtag challenges created with NBC and U.S. athletes such as skier Mikaela Shiffrin, figure skater Nathan Chen and snowboarder Chloe Kim."
Source:  Mobile Marketer, 16th February 2018

Monday, 5 February 2018

Mobile ad spend is higher than TV ad spend in the UK

"The UK’s ad market reached a new milestone during the third quarter of 2017 as almost one in four pounds spent on advertising went to mobile, which posted year-on-year growth of 30.7% to £1.3bn, according to Advertising Association/WARC Expenditure Report data published today.
Total ad market growth was recorded at 3.5% year-on-year, with £5.4bn spent during Q3 – the 17th consecutive quarter of market expansion.
The report found that total spend on mobile (including display, search, and other formats such as SMS/MMS) was higher than TV spend for the first time. Yet TV remains the leading display channel.
“The latest data indicate that total mobile ad investment during the quarter was higher than that for TV for the first time – though the two channels serve different roles for advertisers,” said WARC’s Data Editor, James McDonald.
“While TV remains the largest display medium by some distance, mobile investment is being driven by advertisers looking to reach consumers via search results and social feeds.”
New data show that the vast majority of mobile display spend is being directed towards advertising on social media, which rose 44.7% year-on-year. This, coupled with rising spend on paid search, is driving sector growth, as early estimates for the full-year 2017 put total mobile adspend above £5bn.
The latest verified data resulted in an upgrade to 2017 full-year estimates, with total ad market growth now believed to have been +3.4%, 0.3 percentage points higher than the last AA/WARC projections in October 2017. Advertising expenditure is expected to grow by a further 2.8% this year.
Though total TV saw a slight decline (-0.8%) year-on-year during the third quarter, within this, video on demand spend posted healthy growth of 13.3%. TV spend across traditional and digital formats is thought to have returned to growth in the final quarter of last year, culminating in a preliminary estimate of -2.0% for 2017 as a whole, the first annual dip since 2009. However, total TV spending is expected to turn positive this year (+1.5%).
Among the other media channels covered by the report, national newsbrands’ digital revenues rose strongly in Q3, up 21.5% year-on-year. While this was not enough to offset print losses during the quarter, the total market contraction of 5.1% was the best performance in three years, suggesting a slight easing of the intense business pressures newsbrands are facing.
Elsewhere, direct mail recorded its strongest quarter in six and a half years, as spend rose 5.9% to reverse a prolonged downturn. Radio (+5.1% year-on-year) also had a strong quarter, though annual dips were seen in out of home (-0.8%), cinema (-8.4%) and magazine (-11.9%) spend."
Source:  Data from The Advertising Association and WARC, published 31st January 2018

Apple sold $5.5bn worth of 'other' hardware products - inc watches and earpods - in Q4 2017

"Other than its iPhones and computers, Apple sells a bunch of other products, like the AirPods, Apple Watch, Apple TV, Beats products, iPod Touch and, most recently, the HomePod. In Q1 2018, Apple saw $5.5 billion in revenue for these other products, an increase of 36 percent year over year.
That increase suggests Apple’s Watch Series 3, which it launched this past September, and its AirPods are selling well.
In Q4 2017, Apple sold just $3.2 billion worth of other products. To be clear, these revenues do not include pre-sales for the HomePod, which starts shipping February 9 for $349."

Airbnb 'has driven up long-term rental prices in New York by 1.4%'

"The new study, conducted by McGill Urban Planning professor David Wachsmuth, offers some pretty striking data points. While its analyses were conducted independently, the study itself was commissioned by the Hotel Trades Council and the AFL-CIO, two entities with a vested interest in keeping hotel business booming, so bear that in mind.
For starters, the study estimates that Airbnb has driven up long-term rental prices by 1.4 percent, or $384 per year, for the median New York City renter. The research suggests that both restricted availability in the long-term rental market and increased financial incentives in the short-term rental market account for this increase.
To reach those conclusions, the study drew from a comparative model developed by UCLA to rule out confounding variables that, specific to New York, might be driving those increases."
Source:  Techcrunch, 31st January 2018

Amazon's ad revenue is the same as Twitter and Snap combined

"Advertising is still just a small piece of Amazon’s growing empire. But “small” is relative. In 2017, the company’s ad business generated $2.8 billion, making it bigger than the ad platforms managed by Twitter ($2 billion) and Snap ($800 million). Only three online ad platforms outrank Amazon’s: Google, Facebook, and Oath.
The bulk of Amazon’s ad revenue is generated by placements within Amazon.com. For example, sellers pay to appear in search results, or display custom banners above the results. Some, like toy company Melissa & Doug, shell out additional dollars for custom Amazon home pages. But the retail conglomerate has also started to explore ad placements across the wider web, as well as within Alexa and Prime Video. Marketers, drawn by Amazon’s wealth of shopper data, have been eager to experiment. Last spring, WPP acquired an Amazon-focused consultancy."

Mobile payments account for 11% of Starbucks' US sales

"Starbucks, the coffee chain with more than 28,000 locations worldwide, said its mobile order and pay service grew to 11% of transactions in U.S. company-operated stores in Q1 2018 from 10% in the prior quarter. The Starbucks Rewards loyalty program helped to drive mobile growth with an 11% membership gain to 14.2 million from the prior year. Member spending made up 37% of U.S. sales.
The company, which now has the ability to offer mobile order and pay to customers who don’t belong to its loyalty program, plans to ramp up the service to all customers in March, company president and CEO Kevin Johnson said in a conference call with investors. The growing popularity of mobile payment is leading the company to test cashless stores in the U.S."

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Digital in 2018 - Global Overview


Foursquare supplies location technology to over 125,000 developers

"While the unbundling effort was a risky bet, it seems to have paid off for the company. Both apps have over 50 million monthly active users as of 2016, which has allowed Foursquare to put their foot on the gas with enterprise products.
For example, Pinpoint by Foursquare (an advertising product) now boasts more than half of the Ad Age 100 as advertisers. Attribution by Foursquare lets those brands measure how effective that advertising is. Attribution more than doubled revenue in 2017.
Developer tools are also an integral part of Foursquare’s business. The Pilgrim SDK and Places API “grew substantially,” according to a post by CEO Jeff Glueck, and now provides location tech to 125K+ developers.
Foursquare added 50+ new roles over 2017, including positions in engineering, sales, creative, business development, marketing, and ops. In 2018, the company is opening a new engineering office in Chicago, and plans to grow the team by 30 percent over the course of the year."

Dockless bike sharing schemes in Shenzhen have led to a 13% fall in petrol consumption

"Before the advent of dockless bike-sharing in Chinese cities cycling accounted for 5.5 percent of transport miles. It has now more than doubled to 11.6 percent. This is according to White Book of Shared Bike and City Development 2017, a Chinese-language report from the Beijing Tsinghua Tongheng Innovation Institute, an urban planning consultancy.
According to the Chinese State Information Center's Sharing Economy Research Center there are now 16 million dockless bicycles in the country, and each was used an average of three times a day.
The release-by-app GPS-trackable modem-equipped bikes are cheap and simple to use, attracting newbies to cycling. A report from Shenzhen's Transport Commission said that the city's 500,000 bike-share bikes had replaced nearly 10 percent of travel by private car, and 13 percent of petrol consumption."

Nearly 20m Apple Watches were sold in 2017

"Why is Apple Watch sales momentum growing? My theory is that consumers are starting to see a place for Apple Watch in their lives. While Apple's revised Apple Watch marketing campaign around health and fitness has led to a clearer sales pitch, I think the health and fitness messaging ends up being Apple's way to get its wrist in the door. People aren't buying and using Apple Watch just for its health and fitness monitoring features. There is something more at play here.
Close to 20 million people bought an Apple Watch in 2017 because the device has become a bridge between the present and future. By including a screen, Apple Watch retains the familiarity found with smartphones, tablets, and laptops/desktops. At the same time, Apple Watch is giving wearers a glimpse of the future by introducing new ideas around how artificial intelligence, voice, digital assistants, and smart sensors can come together to produce a new kind of experience. "
Note - I can't find an actual source for the '20m' number - but Above Avalon is a reputable source for all things Apple.

Tuesday, 23 January 2018

16% of Americans own a smart speaker

"One in six Americans now own a smart speaker, according to new research out this week from NPR and Edison Research – a figure that’s up 128 percent from January, 2017. 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.
Today, 16 percent of Americans own a smart speaker, or around 39 million people.
The holiday shopping season also seemed to have played a role in the increased adoption of smart devices in the U.S., with 7 percent of Americans reporting they acquired at least one smart speaker between Black Friday and the end of December, and 4 percent saying they acquired their first smart speaker during the holidays."

45% of American Households are Amazon Prime Members



Source:  Kantar Retail's ShopperScape data, reported by Kantar on 17th January 2018

Netflix took over $11bn in streaming revenue in 2017

"New subscribers drawn in by shows including Stranger Things, Bright and The Crown helped push the valuation of Netflix past $100bn on Monday for the first time.
Releasing its latest quarterly figures the video streaming service announced it had added 8.33 million subscribers in the three months to the end of December.
The company signed up 6.36 million subscribers internationally, well above the average analyst estimate of 5.1 million, according to data and analytics firm FactSet.
Netflix’s shares reached a record at $227.79 during regular trading on Monday, valuing the company at $98.4bn, and rose 7.8% after hours, comfortably pushing its value past $100bn.
The rising star to look out for at the Oscars? That’ll be Netflix…
“We had a beautiful Q4 [fourth quarter], completing a great year as internet TV expands globally. In 2017, we grew streaming revenue 36% to over $11bn, added 24m new memberships (compared to 19m in 2016), achieved for the first time a full-year positive international contribution profit, and more than doubled global operating income,” the company wrote in a letter to shareholders."
Source:  The Guardian, 22nd January 2018

The number of apps users have and use



Source:  Data from App Annie's 2017 App Report, quoted in a blog post, 17th January 2018

Chinese consumers account for 1/3 of global luxury spending

"Sales of luxury goods in China are skyrocketing — up around 20 percent from 2016 — in its sharpest growth since 2011, as Chinese millennials seek products like handbags and cosmetics, Reuters reported.
Within China, sales of brands from Gucci to Chanel, which have been sluggish for years, rose at the fastest pace in five years in 2016 and are positioned to consolidate those gains in 2018. Sales of luxury goods in China reached 142 billion yuan ($22.07 billion) in 2016 in a 20 percent increase from the prior year, Bain & Co said in a report on Wednesday.
As the biggest spenders of luxury products in the world, Chinese consumers made up 32 percent of the €262 billion spent in the global market last year, fueling sales at France’s LVMH, Burberry and Gucci owner Kering. 2017 saw a global recovery of the luxury retail market due to their affinity for high-end brands.
Capitalizing on the trend, French fashion retailer Louis Vuitton, part of LVMH, launched an eCommerce website in China in 2017. Louis Vuitton, which opened its first store in Beijing in 1992, offers items from leather goods to shoes on its website."

Most Amazon Alexa users 'only use their device for basic tasks'

"A management-consulting firm recently looked at heavy users of virtual assistants, defined as people who use one more than three times a day. The firm, called Activate, found that the majority of these users turned to virtual assistants to play music, get the weather, set a timer or ask questions.
Activate also found that the majority of Alexa users had never used more than the basic apps that come with the device, although Amazon said its data suggested that 4 out of 5 registered Alexa customers have used at least one of the more than 30,000 “skills” — third-party apps that tap into Alexa’s voice controls to accomplish tasks — it makes available.
But while some hard-core fans are indeed tapping into advanced features of virtual assistants, like controlling the lights in their homes, for the most part, “people are still using these speakers for very routine tasks,” said Michael J. Wolf, founder of Activate. “It’s not clear that there is something that’s going to drive people to use these.”"
Source:  The Seattle Times, 21st January 2018

Monday, 15 January 2018

Juniper estimates that 1.3bn QR code coupons were redeemed in 2017

"Until recently, the QR code was one of the great contenders in the race to ignite mobile commerce. But according to new reserach from Juniper, the humble QR code may be facing a rich second life as a driver of mobile loyalty.
New data released by the firm indicated that 1.3 billion mobile QR code coupons were estimated to have been redeemed last year, and the figure is set to grow by a lot — to 5.3 billion by 2022. Juniper also assigned a 2022 deadline for 4 billion mobile-enabled loyalty cards being activated by 2022 — nearly doubling the 2017 rate.
The QR-based coupon redemptions, according to Juniper, will occur across 1 billion phones and take a major boost from the fact that Apple has finally decided to include a QR code scanner in its iPhone product.
Despite a past littered with sad — and in some cases hilarious — misses, QR codes have enjoyed something of a renaissance, as players have begun using them as a nearly universal tool for consumer engagement. On top of that, consumers usually needed a special mobile app to turn their smartphone cameras into coupon scanners, which dampened enthusiasm for use. As Apple has moved to embed the technology, enthusiasm is seeing a big uptick, even in previously resistant markets."
Source:  PYMNTS, 10th January 2018
Note - I'm not entirely sure what 'redeemed' is defined as - it may be the same as 'scanned'

'Phablets' now account for more than half mobile devices in use



Source:  Flurry's State of Mobile 2017, 10th January 2018

Hulu has more than 17m subscribers

"Hulu closed its fiscal year 2017 with more than 17 million total subscribers across its SVoD and live TV plans in the US – over 5 million more subscribers and a more than 40 per cent lift from the company’s last publicly reported total in 2016. The company also announced that its total audience grew to 54 million total unique viewers.
Hulu expanded its on-demand library in 2017 to over 75,000 episodes of television across 1700 titles – more than twice the number of episodes available on any of the other leading streaming services – adding all existing episodes of more than 600 popular and award-winning series, including This is Us, Designated Survivor, Atlanta, Futurama, 30 Rock, Black-ish, Lost, How I Met Your Mother, Bob’s Burgers, Will & Grace, Power, Golden Girls, Prison Break, Full House and Family Matters."

Christmas Week 2017 was the BBC iPlayer's busiest ever week

"A Christmas treat of box-sets has helped BBC iPlayer achieve its best week on record. Viewers spent more time and streamed more programmes on BBC iPlayer than in any previous week.
Christmas week (Monday December 25th to Sunday December 31st) was BBC iPlayer’s best-ever week, both for requests (69.2 million) and for weekly hours (25.6 million). That was considerably up on December 25-31 last year, when there were 58.6 million requests and 22.5 million hours watched.
A host of box-sets and classic programmes made available for people to enjoy during the holidays – from Peaky Blinders and Line of Duty to family favourite animation Stick Man – contributed to BBC iPlayer’s record-breaking week. The extra content has so far been requested more than 29.4 million times – an average of 1.7 million times a day."

More than $3bn was raised by VR & AR start-ups in 2017

"AR/VR investment records were broken last year as startups raised over $3 billion across 28 AR/VR categories (over $1.5 billion in Q4 2017). Perhaps the most surprising thing was the bellwether of big AR/VR rounds, Magic Leap, becoming slightly less mythical by finally revealing its product and taking less than a fifth of all the money raised in 2017."

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Streaming accounts for more than half of UK music consumption

"Streaming now accounts for over half of UK music consumption; 1.5bn weekly streams milestone
The year’s strong growth in demand for recorded music was driven by a staggering 68.1 billion audio streams served through Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer and other audio streaming services.  This represents a 51.5 per cent rise on 2016 and a remarkable 1,740 per cent increase since 2012. 
Streaming now accounts for over half (50.4%) of all domestic music consumption, and in December the market witnessed a new landmark of 1.5 billion audio streams in a single week6.  Ed Sheeran was the year’s most streamed artist ahead of Drake, with Shape of You the most streamed song and four tracks in the top- 10. Little Mix were the third most streamed, while Calvin Harris, Coldplay and Stormzy also made the top-10."
Source:  Report from the BPI, 3rd January 2018

Monday, 8 January 2018

As many Americans aged 18-59 watch Netflix as watch cable TV

"A PricewaterhouseCoopers study of nearly 2,000 Americans aged 18 to 59 has revealed that the percentage of consumers who watched cable TV and Netflix in 2017 were even.
The survey shows that 73 per cent of respondents subscribed to a pay-TV service this year, which is down from 76 per cent in 2016, and 79 per cent in 2015. 73 per cent also said they were subscribed to Netflix this year.
The survey also found that a huge 82 per cent of sports watchers admit they would ‘end or trim their pay-TV subscription if they no longer needed it to access live sports.’"
Source - Advanced TV, 20th December 2017

Apple had more new device activations than any other manufacturer in the week leading up to Christmas 2017



Source: Flurry, 27th December 2017

Apple shipped an estimated 322m devices in 2017

"It's easy to think of Apple as just an iPhone maker. More than 210M iPhones are sold per year, and no other Apple product comes close to surpassing iPhone in terms of unit sales. However, iPhone is only one piece of Apple's hardware story.
According to my estimates, Apple sold 322M gadgets in FY2017. This total includes unit sales from every major product category and accessory powered by Apple software (iPhones, iPads, Macs, Apple Watches, AirPods, iPods, Apple Pencils, Beats headphones, and Apple TVs). After a down year in 2016, when Apple shipped 8% fewer devices than in 2015, the company returned to unit sales growth in 2017. In fact, Apple shipped 7% more devices in 2017 than in 2016."
Source:  Above Avalon, 20th December 2017

Friday, 5 January 2018

Spotify has 70m paying subscribers


Earlier - 60m in July 2017
Earlier - 50m in March 2017
Earlier - 37m (estimated) in July 2016

Also - Apple Music has 40m subscribers (11th April 2018)

Amazon Echo owners in the US spend an estimated $1,700 a year with Amazon

"Amazon Echo owners are among the eCommerce giant’s most loyal customers — and the most frequent of its shoppers, according to Wednesday (Jan. 3) reports from CNBC.
That’s according to new research from equity securities research firm Consumer Intelligence Research Partners, which noted owners of Amazon’s Echo smart speakers spend $1,700 on average each year on Amazon, higher than the $1,300 Amazon Prime customers spend annually. What’s more, the figure is 66 percent higher than the average spending rate of all Amazon customers around the globe.
“We’ve long thought that Amazon is keenly focused on building increasingly loyal and frequent shopping customers, and Echo seems to promote that goal,”  CIRP’s co-founder Josh Lowitz said in the report. “Based on the spending patterns of Echo owners, Amazon can certainly subsidize sales its Echo devices.”
Consumer Intelligence Research Partners polled 2,000 U.S. Amazon customers during a 12-month period that ended in September. The researchers found the huge spending on the part of Echo customers is one of the reasons Amazon has been slashing prices on Echo devices, and is also why the eCommerce giant is rolling out different Echo devices — including one with a screen."
Source:  PYMTS, 4th January 2018

Amazon delivered 5 billion items to Prime members in 2017

"Amazon today announced its Best of Prime 2017 – revealing some of the Prime member favorites of the year. Built on a foundation of fast, free delivery, more than five billion items worldwide shipped with Prime in 2017, including free same-day, one-day, and two-day shipping. Prime is designed to make members’ lives easier and more fun with a unique combination of shipping, shopping and entertainment. Prime members used their digital benefits in 2017 more than in any previous year - putting The Grand Tour on Prime Video, “Believer” by Imagine Dragons on Prime Music and The Handmaid’s Tale on Prime Reading on the U.S. ‘best of’ list for 2017. Find Amazon’s Best of Prime 2017 on Prime Insider."

Spending on apps and advertising on Apple's App Store was more than $100m a day for the whole of 2017

More than 3m guests stayed at an Airbnb property on New Year's Eve 2017