Consumers are spending less time on Facebook, per a report from Activate. “In 2017, Americans spent 14 hours per month on average on the social media site, and that number had dropped 26% to 9 hours per month in 2019, Activate CEO and cofounder Michael Wolf said at The Wall Street Journal‘s Tech Live conference in Laguna Beach, California,” according to Fast Company. “Several researchers, including eMarketer, have also tracked the movement of younger users (12-34) away from Facebook and toward services like Instagram (which Facebook owns), Snapchat, and TikTok.”
The shift to digital sent music sales plunging. Thanks to Spotify, Apple Music and Amazon Music, streaming revenue helped to make up the losses, but profits are hard to come by. “Since 2014, the global recorded music industry has seen overall sales grow every year — from $14.3 billion in 2014 to $18.1 billion in 2018,” according to Fortune. “That’s predominantly thanks to paid streaming. Today, paid and ad-supported streaming together represent almost half of all global recorded music revenue. Physical sales of CDs and records still account for 25%; the rest comes from other avenues, like performance rights.”
Amazon’s quest to deliver packages in one day is taking its toll on the bottom line. The retail giant experienced its first year-over-year quarterly profit decline since early 2017. “The spending binge isn’t over,” according to Bloomberg. “Amazon Chief Financial Officer Brian Olsavsky said Thursday that the costs of the company’s one-day delivery push will total some $1.5 billion during the holiday quarter.”
REI is one retailer that is not planning to capitalize on Black Friday shopping mayhem. “For the fifth year, the Seattle-based outdoor retailer will close its stores the day after Thanksgiving -- considered one of the biggest shopping days of the year -- as part of its #OptOutside initiative,” according to USA Today. “It won't process online payments but will pay its 13,000 employees, the company announced Wednesday.”
Pizza Hut has begun testing plant-based substitutions. On Oct. 23 at a single Phoenix location, Pizza Hut debuted the Garden Specialty Pizza, which swaps Italian sausage for an Incogmeato equivalent. All the proceeds from the sale of the new pizza will be donated to sustainability organizations, according to The Take Out. The box it was served in was an “industrially compostable” plant fiber-made product from Zume Inc.
Nike recently filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Skechers, alleging the company has created sneakers that are very similar to Nike’s VaporMax and Air Max 270 shoes. “But Skechers is far from the only shoe brand being sued for alleged design plagiarism,” according to Fast Company. “Joey Zwillinger, Allbirds’ co-CEO, says that there are upwards of 20 competitors that have created sneakers that are so similar to the Allbirds Wool Runner that they arguably infringe the Allbirds copyright.”
A British company is partnering with Mastercard to aid in its expansion to the United States. Revolut CEO Nik Storonsky told CNBC the firm would also use some of Mastercard’s new technology, including a platform that enables payments to be sent directly from one card to another. “Visa will still be the card network behind 75% of Revolut’s cards beyond Europe and has said it still plans to support the firm’s U.S. launch at some point in the future,” per CNBC.
Kellogg’s is taking a break from athletes on its cereal boxes to join forces with GLAAD for an anti-LGBTQ bullying campaign. The company released the limited-edition 2019 cereal box edition called "All Together Cereal," with six well-known Kellogg's mascots and six mini cereal boxes all included in the same box. The cereal maker will donate $50,000 to GLAAD to support its LGBTQ advocacy efforts.
Honey Crisp apples will have new competition Dec. 1 when the Cosmic Crisp goes on sale in grocery stores. The apple variety was developed by Washington State University, and Washington growers, who paid for the research, will have the exclusive right to sell it for the first 10 years. “The apple is called Cosmic Crisp because of the because of the bright yellowish dots on its skin, which look like distant stars,” according to The Associated Press.
Brands like Disney are using machine learning and other advanced technologies to better understand their customers. Here is a six-point list of ways to improve the customer experience by anticipating what people will want.