Thursday, 13 December 2018

Ten Trends for 2019




Each year I write a trends report, trying to predict what the most important themes of the next year will be.  This year the underlying theme is the increasing speed of connectivity through 4G (& soon 5G), and how this is making services richer, data more useful, and ultimately leading many of us to try to rationalise our technology use.  Please take a look!

Monday, 19 November 2018

More than a million people have made financial contributions to The Guardian, including 500,000 ongoing

"More than a million people worldwide have contributed to the Guardian in the last three years, with 500,000 paying to support the publication on an ongoing basis, according to Guardian News and Media’s editor-in-chief, Katharine Viner.
She said the business model was showing a new way for journalism to “regain its relevance, meaning and trusted place in society”."

There are more than 10m apps ('mini programmes') on WeChat

"They may not be widely known outside of China, but Tencent’s mini program initiative to develop “apps” that live outside of app stores is bearing fruit after it clocked two notable landmarks: 200 million daily users and one million apps.
In recent years, Tencent’s WeChat  messaging app has blossomed into a universe of its own with myriad services that span from food delivery to getting loans. But the Chinese messaging app wants to lock users in for longer — and its mini program scheme appears to show promise.
Back in January 2017, Tencent introduced “mini programs,” which are essentially lightweight apps that run inside WeChat. When you need to hail a cab, for example, instead of downloading the standalone Didi Chuxing app, you can summon its mini program on WeChat in the blink of an eye.
WeChat now has over one million such mini programs, Tencent founder and CEO Pony Ma said today at the World Internet Conference in Wuzhen, China. (Third-party analytics firm Aladdin mentioned this milestone in a June report.) That makes its ecosystem half the size of the Apple App Store, which recorded 2.1 million apps in April."

Nearly 6m people in the UK are invisible to the financial system

"Almost 6m people in the UK are “invisible” to the financial system, causing them to be excluded from mainstream financial products and services, a new report has found.
Analysis of user data by Experian, a credit reference agency, revealed that 5.8m people in the UK have little or no financial information linked to them. These so-called “invisibles” can find themselves barred from the services that most people take for granted, or paying higher costs to access them.
Experian said it was not just those on the poorest incomes who were affected. “These people come from a variety of backgrounds — including families on average incomes, middle-aged adults with low incomes and pre-retirement households,” said James Jones, head of consumer affairs at Experian for the UK."
Source:  NewsCabal, 9th November 2018
(Story was originally in the FT)

eBay's algorithms can identify 40% of credit card fraud transactions

"eBay scientists have published a report which says that it’s new AI algorithm can identify 40% of credit card fraud transactions with high precision. A significant finding for a sector which solely relies on technology for fraud detection.
As always there are two sides of the coin for any entity or method. In fraud detection also, the techniques and tools can either focus on good actors or bad actors. Till now it has been the former. Where the truth is that majority of transactions conducted are by good actors. So it was imperative to study the behaviour of good actors, in fact much more important than those of bad actors.
Hence eBay, rather than focusing on the changing patterns employed by bad actors to circumvent protective barriers, they decided to instead analyses instances of good behaviour.
San Jose-based eBay scientists Utkarsh Porwal and Smruthi Mukund noted that patterns of good behaviour do not change with time. The data points that represent this form of conduct have consistent spatial arrangements. Porwal and Mukund suggested a clustering method for identifying outliers and to later formulate a score, which would determine consistency and in turn, good behaviour."

Singles Day generated over $30bn in sales

"Another year, another gross merchandise volume record for Alibaba’s 11.11 Global Shopping Festival.
At the stroke of midnight, when the rolling counter stopped, 2018 GMV was RMB213.5 billion ($30.8 billion), 27% higher than last year’s RMB168.3 billion. As 11.11 wore on, milestones from the previous 10 years fell, one by one. Just after 4:00 p.m., it was a foregone conclusion that this year would be the biggest 11.11 ever – something Alibaba Group executives had promised heading into the shopping festival.
But as they took the stage to speak to media, while satisfied with the record GMV, abundantly clear was how proud they were that the digital ecosystem they’d crafted over the past several years performed as robustly as anyone could have hoped."
Source:  Alizila, 11th November 2018
Also - Apple was the best selling mobile phone brand

Monday, 22 October 2018

74% of Americans with TV service subscriptions share the passwords

"When it comes to subscription services, a new report has found just how much Americans love to share their streaming, shopping, Uber and mobile subscription accounts with family, friends and even exes.
The latest Country Financial Security Index, which surveyed around 1,000 US adults, revealed that over half (54 percent) are using some type of streaming, ride-hailing, home sharing or maintenance service. In addition, more than half (59 percent) take advantage of these services at least once a week, while one quarter (25 percent) use them every single day.
And when it comes to account sharing, television leads the pack, with 74 percent of TV service subscribers sharing their Netflix, Hulu and Amazon accounts with others. Four in ten (42 percent) are sharing mobile plans and 41 percent are sharing shopping accounts like Amazon Prime and Costco.
As for who is gaining access to these accounts, family (73 percent), significant others (34 percent), friends (10 percent) and ex-significant others (2 percent) make up the sharing pool. Women are more likely than men to share their accounts with family (79 percent vs. 66 percent), and men are more likely to share with an ex-significant other (3 percent vs. 0 percent)."

Waze has 110m monthly active users

"I recently moved from San Francisco to New York City. While on opposite coasts, with very different pizza quality, one thing they have in common is bumper-to-bumper rush hour traffic. Waze was built to address this: “outsmarting traffic, together.” I am proud to see this movement grow to more than 110 million monthly active users globally. Every month, more than 12 million Wazers report over 60 million incidents on Waze. Each report proves something many never thought possible — given the right tools, people will help other drivers and work together to “outsmart traffic” and create a better experience on the road. Through these daily acts of cooperation, we’ve helped each other save time, bypass dangerous hazards, and in the process, we’ve created the most up-to-date map in the world."

Harry's has 6m customers - including 1m women

"Harry’s Inc., the premium men’s personal care products is launching its first brand out of its accelerator Harry’s Labs: Flamingo, with a focus on women’s shaving needs.
On Tuesday, Flamingo, which follows a DTC model, debuts with the intent of speaking to the 1 million female customers of Harry’s (the company currently has 6 million customers total). With an initial product lineup that includes razors, wax kits, shaving gel and body lotion that are all priced under $20, Flamingo joins Billie, Angel Shave Club, All Girl’s Shave Club and other female-oriented brands in the DTC shaving space. Harry’s isn’t just hoping to corner the female shaving market but also to add to its existing product portfolio."

The most successful companies to come out of Y Combinator

1 - Airbnb - $31bn valuation
2 - Stripe - $20bn
3 - Cruise - $14bn
4 - Dropbox - >$10bn
5 - Instacart - $7.6bn
Source:  Techcrunch, 17th Oct 2018
(Link has top 20, with current valuations)

900,000 people pay for the Guardian through subscriptions, memebership & donations

"The Guardian now gets more revenue from consumers than from advertising. More than 900,000 people pay it through a combination of membership, recurring contributions, print and digital subscriptions and one-off contributions, accounting for 12 percent of the publisher’s total revenue.
Speaking at the Digiday Publishing Summit Europe in Barcelona, Spain, this week, Anna Bateson, chief customer officer at The Guardian, said she sees that 12 percent figure rising to around 20 percent of the publisher’s total. Unlike advertising, which can be limited by market borders, donations have a more global scope — contributions come equally from the U.K., U.S. and the rest of the world. But the publisher has to overcome payment friction and learn more about what drives donations.
“It’s a revenue stream we can believe in,” Bateson said. “It can grow by improving the payment. There’s still too much friction, particularly on mobile and understanding local variations around how they want to give and the amount will yield future return.”"
Source:  Digiday, 18th October 2018

Thursday, 18 October 2018

Amazon has over 120 own-label brands

"Amazon created its first private label brand in 2007, when it started selling bedding and bath products under the Pinzon line.
Since then, Amazon has added 125 other brands, according to TJI Research, which tracks Amazon's growth. The collection includes everything from paper towels and toilet paper under the name Presto! to T-shirts and shorts for kids labeled Spotted Zebra.
And Amazon is accelerating its private label strategy. It has introduced about six dozen brands in the past 18 months, according to a study by Evan Neufeld and Cooper Smith, analysts at research firm Gartner L2."

UK online ad spend rose to £6.4bn in H1 2018


"UK advertisers spent £6.4bn on digital advertising in the first half of 2018, according to the latest results of the IAB UK and PwC Digital AdSpend report.
In the first six months of 2018, there has been year-on-year growth of total digital advertising spend of 15%.
The overall display market remains healthy, with H1 year-on-year growth of 20%, taking it to £2.3bn. This growth was driven by Video, which saw the largest year-on-year increase of 40%, taking spend in the first six months to £967m. Non-video display inventory accounted for £1.3bn of spend in the first six months of 2018.
Search has grown 15% to £3.3bn, commanding 52% of total digital adspend, whilst classified remained flat at £726m.
With the maturation of the market, the half year figures are now reported for combined mobile and desktop adspend and the methodology has been updated accordingly. The 2018 full year report, due for publication in April 2019, will continue to provide a detailed analysis of formats and spends."
Source:  Press release from !AB UK using data from IAB & PwC, 10th October 2018

Wednesday, 3 October 2018

More than 50% of the traffic on the internet is encrypted

"In the Global Internet Phenomena report that will be released tomorrow, we give a conservative number that "more than 50% of the traffic on the internet is encrypted." In reality, the number is probably closer to 75-90% of the overall traffic, since some applications "usually" encrypt their data."
Source:  Blog post by Sandvine, 1st October 2018
Also in the report -
"In the biggest teaser/reveal so far for the upcoming Global Internet Phenomena Report, Sandvine can reveal that Netflix is the #1 downstream application worldwide with almost 15% of global internet traffic."
Source:  Blog post by Sandvine, 28th September 2018



Monday, 1 October 2018

Video viewing on mobile in the US grew nearly 55% from 2015-2017

"Parks Associates today released a new whitepaper ahead of IBC, “Video’s Critical Path: Success at Web Speed,” that reports by the end of 2017, U.S. broadband households were spending nearly three hours per week watching video on a mobile phone, an increase of nearly 55% from 2015. This shift comes as households are watching less live broadcast video on their televisions, which dropped from over 60% of video consumption in early 2012 to 44% at the end of 2017. The whitepaper, sponsored by MediaKind, addresses these shifting trends and the impact of OTT video on the pay-TV ecosystem and the new opportunities available for pay-TV providers in this environment."

Ads for Subway, targeted on the weather, helped drive a 31% increase in store visits

"Subway came to IBM Watson Advertising with the goal of driving an increase in store visits. They were interested in leveraging the connection between weather and QSR foot traffic to drive awareness of their $4.99 Footlong promotion via The Weather Channel mobile app. To build awareness and ultimately drive in-store visits to their restaurants, Subway leveraged Watson Advertising’s newest targeting capability – WEATHERfx Footfall with Watson. This capability leverages machine learning to process weather, sales, and footfall data specific to a brand’s store locations to predict increases in footfall traffic and enable brands to intelligently adapt and optimize their media to capitalize on it in real-time. In addition to helping drive a 31% lift in store traffic vs. those who weren't exposed to Subway's digital advertising,
Subway also saw a 53% reduction in campaign waste, salvaging about 7.9M impressions that would have otherwise gone to waste."
Source:  Press release from IBM, 24th September 2018

The final episode of BBC 1's 'Bodyguard' had 11m viewers

"BBC One’s political thriller Bodyguard ended with its highest overnight audience of the series, concluding with an average of 10.4 million viewers/47.8 per cent share, and a peak of 11.0 million viewers.
This makes Bodyguard the #1 non-World Cup programme of the year across all channels. It also means the episode is the biggest drama across all channels since 2011, and the biggest BBC drama since 2008.
Bodyguard, written and created by Jed Mercurio, and made by World Productions for BBC One, additionally attracted the highest young audience for any drama on any channel during 2018, with the finale attracting 1.3 million 16-34 year olds (42.3 per cent share).
On BBC iPlayer, Bodyguard has broken records with episode one being the biggest episode of any programme ever on iPlayer with 7.3 million requests so far. The series currently has over 24.2 million requests across all six episodes, while the series finale helped drive BBC iPlayer’s biggest ever day of over 12.6 million requests on Sunday 23 September. Bodyguard will remain on BBC iPlayer exclusively in the UK as a box set for the next six months."

Monday, 10 September 2018

Amazon Alexa works with 20,000 devices

"Amazon executive Daniel Rausch stood onstage before a crowd of hundreds at Berlin's IFA tech show Saturday to share a few big numbers about Alexa.
"Just this year," he said, "Alexa has sung Happy Birthday millions of times to customers, and she's told over 100 million jokes."
Maybe Alexa, Amazon's voice assistant, hasn't sung Happy Birthday to you just yet, but -- considering the way things are going -- there's a good chance it'll get invited to your next birthday celebration.
At the start of this year, Alexa worked with over 4,000 devices. Rausch, Amazon's vice president of smart home, said Saturday that Alexa is now integrated with over 20,000 devices -- a fivefold increase in just eight months. The number of brands using Alexa shot up to over 3,500 from 1,200 during the same time."

17% of US broadband homes don't subscribe to multi-channel TV services

"The number of wireline broadband homes not subscribing to traditional multichannel in the US reached a new record high in the second quarter, according to a Kagan report.
Overall, an estimated 16.9 per cent of US occupied households were “broadband-only homes” in the second quarter, up nearly 3 percentage points year-over-year.
The boom in broadband-only homes is a boon for broadband ISPs. Assuming that the vast majority of those households fill their video needs with online services, this intimates an increase in data consumption."

PayPal has over 250m active accounts

"We want to be a company that shows up and fights every day for our customers; that is never afraid to have the tough conversations or challenge conventional wisdom or legacy processes if we think we’ve found a way to better serve our customers. That’s our responsibility every day. And it’s also our privilege.
PayPal is certainly not the first company to strive to be customer-centric, nor will we be the last. But there’s a critical difference: our impact and success as a business is directly proportionate to the engagement and success of our customers. If our customers do well, we do well. If they grow, we grow. We need to always stay relentlessly focused on serving our customers, and if we do so, we can create magic for everyone.
Well, magic just happened. The total number of active accounts on our platform recently surpassed 250 million. This is an important milestone for our company, and a key marker on our journey to fulfill PayPal’s potential. On February 27, 2017, we announced that we had surpassed 200 million active accounts. The fact that we’ve added an additional 50 million accounts in a little more than 18 months – nearly 3 million accounts per month – is a testament to the tireless work you’ve done on behalf of our customers to add more and more value to our platform."

Nike's online sales rose 31% following its 'Colin Kaepernick' ad

"Talk of Nike Inc. sales taking a hit from the company’s decision to put ex–NFL player Colin Kaepernick at the center of its latest “Just Do It” campaign is looking overblown, based on data from a Silicon Valley digital commerce research company.
After an initial dip immediately after the news broke, Nike’s NKE, +1.93% online sales actually grew 31% from the Sunday of Labor Day weekend through Tuesday, as compared with a 17% gain recorded for the same period of 2017, according to San Francisco–based Edison Trends.
“There was speculation that the Nike/Kaepernick campaign would lead to a drop in sales, but our data over the last week does not support that theory,” said Hetal Pandya, co-founder of Edison Trends."
Note - (1) It's unofficial data, rather than from Nike itself, and (2) it's really too soon to see an effect from its new ad.

Monday, 3 September 2018

More than 70,000 Twitter users are blocking major brands on Twitter

"More than 71,000 Twitter users have started blocking hundreds of major brands, including Nike, Pepsi, Uber and McDonald's, in a boycott aimed at putting pressure on the social platform to permanently ban Alex Jones, the far-right conspiracy theorist and InfoWars host, according to a report in Adweek.
Blocking brands could limit the reach of their promoted tweets and other ads from showing up on users' timelines. Other brands being blocked include Red Bull, Starbucks, IBM, Cisco, Microsoft, Wells Fargo, Visa and Capital One."
Note - If you block someone on Twitter you won't see their tweets, even their paid/promoted tweets.

The FT has 930,000 paying subscribers

"The Financial Times believes it will complete its “march to a million” journey to 1 million paid subscribers next year after a positive response to a change in its access model.
The FT revealed it now has 930,000 paid subscribers, with 740,000 of those (79.6%) being digital subscribers and the remaining 190,000 having a print-only deal. Digital subscription is up 11% year-on-year and overall subscription by 7%.
The realisation of the longstanding 1 million target would be a significant vindication of a paywall strategy that began with its first digital subscriptions in 2002 and continued in 2007 with the introduction of the FT’s first metered-paywall. Its chief executive, John Ridding, recently recalled how that decision met with a “pretty hostile” response from digital futurists, who warned the paper that “the internet wants to be free”.
In reality, that 16-year quest behind the paywall has been conducted without a definitive map. The FT has tweaked and re-tweaked its navigational dials as evolving technology has given it new insights into reader behaviour and the paths it must travel to find new audiences."
Source:  The Drum, 30th August 2018

Wednesday, 29 August 2018

Over 850,000 people paid to watch the Logan Paul / KSI fight on YouTube

"At its peak, more than 860,000 people paid $10 to watch Logan Paul and KSI’s months-in-the-making fight, but that was nothing.
A number of illegal streams on Twitch gathered more than 1.2 million viewers. These were people interested in watching the YouTubers pummel each other, but didn’t want to spend $10 to do so. In the realm of streaming and YouTube, a few hundred thousand people may not seem like a big deal, but at $10 a person, that works out to $4 million.
It’s a huge loss — not just for KSI, but for YouTube. The company is taking an unannounced percentage of the proceeds as a hosting fee. Even lowballing an estimate of 30 percent, which is just under the company’s normal 40 percent cut it takes from creators’ AdSense revenue on videos, that’s approximately $1.2 million in losses."
Source:  Polygon, 26th August 2018
Note - not too sure of their maths - the 1.2m people watching on Twitch are independent of the 800,000 paying on YouTube, so the potential loss of revenue is 1.2m x $10, not 400,000 x $10.

Thursday, 23 August 2018

Amazon''s share of smart speaker shipments has fallen from 76% to 41%

"According to the latest quarterly research from Strategy Analytics, Amazon’s global smart speaker share of shipments fell to 41% in Q2 2018 from 44% in Q1 and 76% in Q2 2017. By contrast Google has increased its share to 28% in Q2 2018, up from 16% during the same period last year. Alibaba finished third with Apple and JD.com rounding out the top five. Strategy Analytics’ latest smart speaker report “Smart Speaker Vendor & OS Shipment and Installed Base Market Share by Region: Q2 2018” provides detailed quarterly metrics for the top twenty smart speaker vendors and leading fourteen voice operating systems worldwide."

$300m has been raised through Facebook Birthday Fundraisers in one year

"Today we’re sharing some major milestones for the first year of birthday fundraisers on Facebook and announcing plans to help people more easily find nonprofits to support in the year ahead.
People raised more than $300 million for the causes they care about using birthday fundraisers.
St. Jude, Alzheimer’s Association, the American Cancer Society, Share Our Strength – No Kid Hungry, and the ASPCA are among the top beneficiaries of birthday fundraisers."
Source:  Facebook's newsroom, 15th August 2018

1/3 of the largest US newspaper sites are blocking European visitors due to lack of GDPR compliance

"Websites had two years to get ready for the GDPR. But rather than comply, about a third of the 100 largest U.S. newspapers have instead chosen to block European visitors to their sites."

Monday, 13 August 2018

Over 120m smartphones were sold in India in 2017

"About 124m smartphones were sold in India last year, according to IDC, making it the world’s third-biggest market. Sales were galvanised by disruptive new entrant Reliance Jio, with a mobile data price war making smartphones more appealing than ever.
Jio has made its own contribution to onshore manufacturing, selling more than 40m units of the $20 JioPhone — a basic “feature phone” targeted at lower-income Indians."
Source:  Financial Times, 31st July 2018

Monday, 6 August 2018

Music piracy has fallen in the UK

"The number of Britons that are illegally downloading music is decreasing, according to new custom research from YouGov.
YouGov’s Music Report reveals that one in ten Britons (10 per cent) download music illegally, down from 18 per cent five years ago.
This number looks set to decrease. While 63 per cent of those that illegally download music expect to still be doing so in five years, 22 per cent do not. Added to this, 36 per cent say that using unverified sources to access music is becoming more difficult.
This decrease can be in part attributed to the rise of streaming services. Over six in ten (63 per cent) that have stopped illegally downloading music now use streaming services."

Amazon's grocery sales rose 40% year on year

"New data shows that Amazon second-quarter grocery sales came in at $650 million, up 40 percent year over year. The report, released by One Click Retail, also revealed that the eCommerce giant held 18 percent of U.S. online grocery sales since 2017, the largest share of any single retailer. In fact, Amazon’s current share of the online grocery space has now doubled that of its closest competitor.
That growth comes with “nearly every category attracting more and more grocery shoppers to Amazon,” according to report author Jacob Porter, director of One Click’s global marketing.
Beverages comprise most of Amazon’s online grocery sales market, with “cold beverages at $140 million (+36 percent) and coffee at $135 million (+40 percent) in the second quarter. Coffee, in fact, accounted for seven of Amazon’s 10 best-selling grocery items. The Original Donut Shop Regular Medium Roast Coffee (pack of 72 single-serve K-Cup pods)” continued to hold the top spot for the quarter, according to reports."
Note - I'm assuming that the numbers are global, but that most of the sales will have happened in the US

Uber has completed 10bn trips

"Uber has reached a major milestone: completing more than 10 billion trips.
“We’ve hit some pretty exciting milestones together in the past, and this latest one is no different,” the company wrote in a blog post. “On Sunday, June 10, 173 trips and deliveries started simultaneously at 10:12pm GMT, putting us over 10 billion completed trips.”
The ridesharing company has made trips in more than 21 countries across five continents, including Montreal, Mexico City and Miami. Uber revealed that Latin America took the top spot for most simultaneous trips on a continent. The shortest Uber Eats delivery clocked in at just over half a mile, while the longest trip was a 41-mile ride to the airport in Denver."

4G connections overtook 3G connections in Europe in 2017

"According to Dataxis  research, the total Mobile SIM market in Europe is becoming saturated, the subscriber growth is mostly due to rapid adoption of 4G and M2M.
At the end of 2017, there were 340 million 4G subscribers in Europe, accounting for 33 per cent of the total mobile subscribers (excluding M2M). 4G connections overtook 3G in 2017 and is expected to reach 64 per cent of the total by 2023 in Europe. M2M will grow at a compound annual growth (CAGR) of 9 per cent during the forecast period of 2017-23, accounting for 17 per cent of the total, reaching 193 million connections, in 2023."

21% of US apparel sales are made online

"Online apparel retailers, particularly pure-players, are set to take share from brick-and-mortar rivals through next year, according to a new report from global information company NPD Group emailed to Retail Dive.
Last year, 21% of annual apparel sales came from website purchases, and 76% from in-store purchases, according to the report. And while in-store purchases declined 3% compared to 2016, online apparel sales rose 7% to $46 billion.
Almost half of U.S. online shoppers bought apparel last year, and the annual apparel online spend per buyer rose 11% compared to 2016, according to NPD."

People in the UK check their smartphones every 12 minutes

"2008 was the year the smartphone took off in the UK. With the iPhone and Android fresh into the UK market, 17% of people owned a smartphone a decade ago. That has now reached 78%, and 95% among 16-24 year-olds. The smartphone is now the device people say they would miss the most, dominating many people’s lives in both positive and negative ways.
People in the UK now check their smartphones, on average, every 12 minutes of the waking day. Two in five adults (40%) first look at their phone within five minutes of waking up, climbing to 65% of those aged under 35. Similarly, 37% of adults check their phones five minutes before lights out, again rising to 60% of under-35s.
In contrast to a decade ago, most people now say they need and expect a constant internet connection, wherever they go. Two-thirds of adults (64%) say the internet is an essential part of their life. One in five adults (19%) say they spend more than 40 hours a week online, an increase from 5% just over ten years ago. For the first time this year, women spend more time online than men.
Over the last decade, better access to the internet has transformed how we interact with each other. Two-fifths of people (41%) say being online enables them to work more flexibly, and three-quarters (74%) say it keeps them close to friends and family.
The amount of time we spend making phone calls from our mobiles has fallen for the first time, as we increasingly use internet-based services such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. Using a mobile for phone calls is only considered important by 75% of smartphone users, compared to 92% who consider web browsing to be important.
However, for many people, being online has negative effects. Fifteen per cent of people say it makes them feel they are always at work, and more than half (54%) admit that connected devices interrupt face-to-face conversations with friends and family. More than two in five (43%) also admit to spending too much time online."
Full PDF of the 2018 Communications Market Report is here

Wednesday, 18 July 2018

More than a quarter of American clothing sales by value are online

"Online apparel sales accounted for 27.4% of overall U.S. apparel sales last year, up from 23.5% in 2016 and 20.7% in 2015, according to the most recent Internet Retailer Online Apparel Report published last week.
Apparel retailers dominated Internet Retailer’s 2018 Top 1000 list with 266 (more than any other category) making the list. That doesn’t include mass-merchant giants like Amazon (number one on that list) and Walmart (number three).
Many consumers say they like buying apparel online: 43.2% of respondents to a February survey of 2,535 U.S. consumers by PYMNTS.com said they prefer to shop for clothing in stores, while 26.9% prefer to shop only online and 29.9% said they prefer to shop both. But other research has found that more shoppers want to "try before they buy" clothing online."

Pokémon GO has generated an estimated $1.8bn in payments from players in 2 years

"Released two years ago today, Niantic’s Pokémon GO became an overnight sensation. While the fervor has subsided in the 24 months since that game-changing day, players worldwide continue to spend more than $2 million per day in their quest to catch those original Pokémon and the dozens that have been added since launch. This has led to the game reaching $1.8 billion in player spending, according to the latest Sensor Tower Store Intelligence estimates, having crossed the $1 billion milestone in January 2017."

Nearly 2/3 of UK kids under the age of 2 are allowed to use tablets

"Almost two thirds of children under the age of two are allowed to use tablets, and a third can open apps and turn the device on themselves, according to new data by market research specialists Parents Insights.
The findings, from Parents Insights Q2 report on a study of 2,500 parents, also shows that one in five tech-savvy babies can unlock a smart device unaided.
But the study found that parents are alive to potential problems occurring from too much tablet use, with more than half (63per cent) limiting their kids’ time on the device to less than half an hour a day.
Parents Insights’ lead analyst Nick Richardson said: “Our latest data reveals a fascinating picture about how toddlers and babies as young as six months are interacting with technology – and how much their parents are seemingly willing to allow.
"It seems that tablets are the first device that parents are happy for their little ones to use but their attitudes to social media are much less liberal. We found that just 17 per cent said they would let one of their children use social media before the legal age of 13. It’s key information for brands to be aware of as they adapt to the way that both kids and parents consume information.”
When children are allowed on a tablet, the main activities they choose are games (24 per cent), YouTube (18 per cent) and Apps (12 per cent), and the same activities are popular for smartphones."
Source:  ToysNPlaythings, 22nd June 2018

Netflix pays an estimated $100 to get a new subscriber in the US

"Netflix’s cost of adding new subscribers on its home soil in the US has rocketed in recent years, reaching $100 (€86) per net new subscriber, according to Ampere Analysis. Acquisition costs for domestic subscribers have increased significantly in recent years; from 2013-2015 the cost of a net new domestic subscriber stood at a stable figure of around $60.
In contrast, Netflix’s cost of adding international subscribers has remained relatively flat at $40-$45 for each new customer it adds. So, while headlines about content spend dominate, this report focuses on Netflix’s significant investment in marketing."

At least 6,000 homes in the UK have a black & white TV licence

"The BBC’s Annual Report & Accounts states that at least 6000 homes are viewing TV on monochrome licences.  The colour TV licence was introduced as a £5 supplementary fee to the – then – £5 monochrome licence in January 1968.
The fee for a monochrome licence (for 2017) was just £49. This has risen to £49.50 for 2018."

World Cup Stats - TV viewing, live streaming and more


The World Cup set streaming records early on - Conviva, 19th June 2018

World Cup viewing boost for the BBC - Advanced TV, 2nd July 2018

24m watched England win the penalty shoot-out against Colombia - Advanced TV, 4th July 2018

The total streams from the group stage were larger than the streams for the full tournament in 2014 - Advanced TV, 5th July 2018

England fans watching on both TV and mobile - EE, 6th July 2018

England vs Sweden set the BBC's live streaming record (3.8m) - Advanced TV, 9th July 2018

26.5m watched England Vs Croatia on TV (not including pubs etc) - Advanced TV, 12th July 2018

App downloads grew 15%, driven by the World Cup - App Annie, 23rd July 2018

The World Cup increased loyalty for gambling companies - Advanced TV, 9th August 2018

There were over 40,000 links to illegal streams over the course of the tournament - Advanced TV, 7th September 2018

Tuesday, 3 July 2018

More than 85% of US adults born since 1982 subscribe to a paid streaming service

"New video research from Parks Associatesfinds more than 85% of millennials in U.S. broadband households subscribe to at least one OTT video service. This research comes from Parks Associates’ OTT Video Market Tracker, which includes an exhaustive analysis of market trends and profiles of OTT video service providers in the U.S. and Canada, such as Netflix, HBO, YouTube, and Amazon. The Tracker features a new way to blend company profiles with industry research data and analysis of competing players’ strengths and weaknesses in the space.
“Overall penetration of subscription OTT video services among millennials has topped out, suggesting that those households that want such a subscription already have one or more. The more interesting and important question is how many subscriptions they will keep,” said Brett Sappington, Senior Director of Research, Parks Associates. “More than one-fourth of millennials subscribe to three or more OTT services, and more than 50% subscribe to at least two.”"

96% of American households have a TV, 87% have a smartphone

"Smartphones continue their meteoric popularity and are now owned in 87 percent of U.S. homes, second only to televisions at 96 percent ownership, according to new Consumer Technology Association (CTA) research. CTA’s 20th Consumer Technology Ownership and Market Potential Study also shows that for the first time, the top three most-frequently owned tech products are now screen devices, as laptops – trailing only TVs and smartphones – reached their highest ownership level ever at 72 percent.
[...]
Among new, emerging tech categories, smart speakers including the Amazon Echo and Google Home have nearly tripled in ownership rate to reach 22 percent of American households, making it one of the fastest-adopted technologies since tablets. Smartwatch adoption continues to grow, with 18 percent of U.S. households now owning at least one of the devices – an increase of six percentage points over last year. Additionally, ownership rates of drones and virtual reality (VR) headsets were measured at ten and 11 percent of households, respectively.
Consumers Remain Focused on The Big Screen
Next-gen screen technologies and the availability of larger screen sizes drove more U.S. consumers to buy technology in and around the TV. 4K Ultra High Definition televisions experienced the largest growth in household ownership rate, rising 15 percentage points year-over-year to reach 31 percent households ownership, and one in five (19 percent) households owns a TV with a screen size of 60 inches or bigger. Ownership of digital media streaming devices rose nine percentage points since last year to 45 percent of households."
Source:  Press release from the Consumer Technology Association, 25th June 2018

Facebook referrals to Slate have fallen by over 85% since January 2017



Source:  Data from Parsely, reported by Slate, 27th June 2018

300 ATMs are closing in the UK each month

"Doubt has been cast over the future of cashpoints in the UK as it was revealed that 300 ATMs are closing every month.
Consumer champion Which? analysed data from ATM network manager Link to find that 1,500 ATMs had closed between November 2017 and April 2018 - which represents a six fold increase from 2015.
The closures also ramped up after Link announced changes to fees that ATM operators can charge banks to use cash machines.
Link is introducing a phased 20 per cent reduction over four years to the so-called interchange charge, with the first 1p cut down to 24p per withdrawal set to come in on Sunday. Though this seems like a small amount, operators claim the rise will lead to some machines being financially unviable to run.
The firm which oversees cash machines argues the changes will provide an incentive for operators to put more machines in rural and less affluent area to keep the network sustainable.
But the ATM Industry Association told Which? the move had triggered the network on a "path to disaster" and had simply led to the number of cash machines decreasing."

Monday, 18 June 2018

US Podcasting ad revenue exceeded $300m in 2017

"U.S. podcast ad revenue hit an estimated $314 million in 2017, an 86% increase from $169 million in 2016, according to findings from the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and PwC made available to Marketing Dive. The report, the IAB's second annual Podcast Revenue Study, forecasts that podcast revenue will reach $659 million by 2020, a 110% increase from 2017.
The preferred type of podcast ad was host-read, which made up two-thirds of podcast ads in 2017. Direct response ads accounted for 64.2% of campaign revenue, with brand awareness ads at 29.2%. Ads integrated or edited into programming made up 58% of the podcast ad inventory in 2017, up from 43.6% in the previous year."

Top activities performed on smart phones by American users



Source:  Parks Associates, 14th June 2018

Nearly 20% of Amazon merchants make more than $1m in sales per year

"A survey found that 19 percent of third-party merchants that sell goods on Amazon have made more than $1 million in sales this year, an increase from 10 percent in 2017. It also found that 3 percent made more than $10 million, an increase of 1 percent from last year.
Feedvisor, an eCommerce company that helps merchants price goods on Amazon and other online marketplaces, surveyed 1,200 Amazon merchants this year and 1,600 in 2017, and was distributed to the same sellers both years. Nearly 50 percent of the merchants surveyed sell almost exclusively with Amazon, with revenue from the eCommerce marketplace accounting for 81 percent to 100 percent of their sales."

Social media usage by American teens



Source:  Pew Research Center's Teens, Social Media & Technology Report 2018, 31st May 2018
Note - YouTube should not be included in this list in my view.  It's unlike the others in that you can use it without having an account

More UK households subscribe to Netflix than Sky



Source:  Data from BARB, reported by Measured Media Consulting, 7th June 2018

The Wish shopping app has 75m monthly users, and more than $1bn in revenues

"If you log onto the Wish app, you can buy dress shoes for $15, a watch for $3 or a 2-terabyte flash drive for $10.
Peter Szulczewski, CEO and co-founder of Wish, is hoping to turn those dirt-cheap prices into a sales empire to rival Walmart. And he has the numbers to suggest that's not such a crazy idea.
In an interview with CNET, he revealed a series of eye-popping figures about the discount online retailer. He said his San Francisco startup for the first time hit over $1 billion in revenue last year and has more than doubled revenue every year since its inception eight years ago. He added that "it looks like we will again" double revenue in 2018.
Szulczewski also said Wish hit 75 million monthly active users this April, has over 1 million merchants on its site and offers a selection of over 200 million items. The company expects to ship over 1 billion items this year. Plus, Wish is sitting on a war chest of over $1 billion in funding. In comparison, eBay has 171 million active buyers and Amazon has 2 million merchants, though both have staffs significantly larger than Wish's small team of about 500 employees."
Source:  CNET, 11th June 2018

Tuesday, 29 May 2018

Digital ad spend in Europe doubled from 2012 to 2017

"At its annual Interact conference today, IAB Europe announced that digital advertising grew 13.2% in 2017 to €48bn, driven by strong growth in social, mobile and video investment.
The AdEx Benchmark study is the definitive guide to the state of the European digital advertising market and is now in its twelfth year. A total of twenty markets grew double-digit. Mobile dominated with double-digit growth in all 27 markets in the study. Mobile display grew by more than 40% and now accounts for 42% of total display advertising whilst video now accounts for more than a quarter of total display. Social grew at a similar rate at 38% and increased its share of display whilst video grew by 4x the rate of non-video display at 35%. The growth in video is driven by out-stream advertising which experienced a 73.4% growth compared with in-stream at 6.9%.
[...]
The IAB Europe AdEx Benchmark study divides the digital ad market into three categories: Display, Search and Classifieds and Directories. Growth in these advertising formats has been underpinned by shifting uses in devices and changing consumption patterns.
Display advertising outperformed search and classifieds with a growth rate of 14.9% to a value of €19.3bn. Search is still the largest online advertising category in terms of revenue with a growth of 14.4% and a market value of €21.9bn.
[...]
The top 3 individual growth markets reveal strong growth in the CEE region:
Belarus – 33.9%
Serbia – 23.7%
Russia – 21.9%
There was also strong growth in the most mature markets (in line with or above the European average) such as the UK (14.3%), Norway (16.6%), Sweden (18.4%), Switzerland (12.5%) and Denmark (9.7%) demonstrating that maturity doesn’t hinder opportunity for further innovation and growth.
Top 10 rankings (by market size)
UK – €15.6bn
Germany – €6.6bn
France – €5.1bn
Russia – €3.3bn
Italy – €2.6bn
Sweden– €1.8bn
Netherlands – €1.8bn
Switzerland – €1.8bn
Spain – €1.8bn
Belgium – €1bn"

UK digital ad spend rose 14% to £11.55bn in 2017

"Advertisers spent £476 million more on smartphone video ads in 2017, making it the fastest-growing online ad format, according to the latest Digital Adspend report by the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) UK and PwC.
This was a rise of 69% on 2016 and took total spend on the format to £1.17 billion. Video ad spend overall (including phones, computers and tablets) increased 47% to £1.61bn. Thus, 73% of all video spend now goes on smartphones.
Video contributed heavily to the total amount spent across all smartphone advertising rising by 37.4% to £5.2bn. As a result, 45% of all digital ad spend went on smartphones - compared to just 9% five years ago. However, the IAB's chief digital officer Tim Elkington noted "there's still significant room for smartphones share to grow" as they accounted for 59% of online time¹ in the final quarter of 2017.
Overall, total digital ad spend increased 14.3% to £11.55bn.
"People are spending more time online - specifically on smartphones. Digital has led to a change in consumer behaviour as people use their smartphone for a wider variety of things, be it listening to podcasts, learning a new skill or following stories on the likes of Snapchat and Instagram," says Elkington. "The ad community has responded to this change - particularly the growth of mobile and video - by developing dynamic ad products that fit seamlessly into their environment."
"While this data relates to 2017, before some of the recent headlines that have been dominating the industry, it's clear that there has been considerable momentum in the market. What stands out to us is the number of success stories we've seen across a diverse range of formats, from audio to sponsored content, and across all parts of the industry value chain. More than half of the companies submitting to the study this year are in growth, which points to a robust and competitive marketplace" said Tom Tryon, Strategy Manager at PwC.
Accompanying online YouGov data² produced specifically for the report reveals that in terms of online smartphone activities, listening to a podcast has seen the biggest rise amongst Smartphone users, with a 'net'² rise in popularity of 30% followed by viewing social media 'stories' (up 29%), reading news articles (up 24%) and learning a new skill (up 22%).
In terms of other ad formats:
Social media spend rose 38% to £2.39bn, or one in every five pounds spent on digital ads - 83% of social media budgets now go to smartphones
In-feed advertising rose 9% to £950m
Outstream video (up 94% to £900m) overtook pre/post-roll (up 11% to £671m) as the largest video format
80% of the £3.84bn spent on display advertising was traded programmatically - up from 72% in 2016 - 63% being traded through direct means, such as private marketplaces, rather than on open exchanges (17%)
Paid for search rose 16% to £5.82bn, classifieds fell -1% to £1.47bn"
Source:  Data from the IAB & PwC, 25th April 2018

Over 10% of spending on toys is adults buying things for themselves

"The profitable ‘kidults’ market is continuing to grow as new data reveals that adults spent £383 million on toys for themselves in 2017.
According to the NPD, the kidult market has grown by eight per cent in value over the course of last year and now amounts to 11 per cent of the total toy sector; a rise of £30 million in value since 2016.
To put that in to context, £1 in every £9 spent on toys today is adult buying toys for themselves.
The latest results results from the toy industry tracking group reveal that millennials account for almost half (48 per cent) of the spend among grown ups buying toys for themselves, while Generation X-ers account for 28 per cent and Boomers account for 24 per cent.
Among the millennials market, 62 per cent of the money spent on toys for adults is by young parents. Another four in 10 (38 per cent) are not yet into parenthood and many of this young group are fans of pop-culture, expressing their fandom by buying toys."
Note - It's not clear whether this is global, or UK only.  I'm assuming that it's global (but currencies are in sterling as it's a UK publication)

Facebook deleted nearly 1.3bn fake accounts in 6 months

"Facebook disabled nearly 1.3 billion “fake” accounts over the past two quarters, many of them bots “with the intent of spreading spam or conducting illicit activities such as scams,” the company said on Monday.
Facebook disabled 583 million accounts in Q1 2018, down from 694 million accounts in Q4 of last year, a decrease the company attributes to its “variability of our detection technology’s ability to find and flag them.”
Most of the accounts “were disabled within minutes of registration,” Facebook claimed in a blog post, but Facebook doesn’t catch all fake accounts. The company estimates that 3 percent to 4 percent of its monthly active users are “fake,” up from 2 percent to 3 percent in Q3 of 2017, according to filings documents.
Those numbers are big, a reminder of what Facebook is up against just 18 months after it was learned that a Russian troll farm used Facebook to try and influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
Facebook says it finds most of the accounts on its own using software algorithms, but a small percentage — about 1.5 percent of the disabled accounts — were discovered after they were flagged by Facebook."
Source:  Recode, 15th May 2018
Note - This seems to be just on Facebook, and not on Instagram or WhatsApp (it's only Facebook that insists on a real identity)


Friday, 25 May 2018

19% of Amazon merchants make over $1m in annual revenues

"A survey found that 19 percent of third-party merchants that sell goods on Amazon have made more than $1 million in sales this year, an increase from 10 percent in 2017. It also found that 3 percent made more than $10 million, an increase of 1 percent from last year.
Feedvisor, an eCommerce company that helps merchants price goods on Amazon and other online marketplaces, surveyed 1,200 Amazon merchants this year and 1,600 in 2017, and was distributed to the same sellers both years. Nearly 50 percent of the merchants surveyed sell almost exclusively with Amazon, with revenue from the eCommerce marketplace accounting for 81 percent to 100 percent of their sales."
Source:  PYMNTS, 24th May 2018

Monday, 30 April 2018

Approximately 15% of the time spent watching YouTube is on TVs

"Technology has evolved in the last few years to give viewers a lot of convenient ways to watch internet video on a television screen.
Dedicated digital media players like Roku devices and Apple TVs have been around for years, and it's possible to stream digital video from most video game consoles. More recently, people have been adopting devices like the Google Chromecast, which let users stream video from their mobile phone or computer over a WiFi connection to their TV sets.
YouTube says more people are taking advantage of these options. According to the company, people now watch an average 150 million hours of YouTube per day on TV screens, or about 15 percent of the overall time spent watching YouTube. An Ipsos study commissioned by YouTube found that seven out of 10 of its viewers were watching YouTube on TV screens at least some of the time.
"TV is the fastest growing surface for YouTube viewership," Debbie Weinstein, managing director for YouTube video global solutions, told CNBC.
This viewership isn't replacing mobile viewership, but is rather adding to it, with many using mobile devices as a bridge.
"A lot of the viewership on TV is casting from the mobile device," Weinstein said. "I think it's more about technology and how it interacts in their [users'] lives."
YouTube TV viewers tend to stick around longer than viewers on other platforms, too, the company said. The average mobile YouTube viewing session is 60 minutes, while on TV it's much closer to the typical television watching duration of 4.5 hours. (YouTube declined to give a precise time)."

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."