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Will the 2020s be online advertising’s holistic decade?

00:04 | 7 December

Todd Dipaola Contributor
Todd Dipaola founded inMarket to bring the performance and accountability of digital advertising to offline brands.

With less than two months left in the decade, advertising is again entering a new phase of rapid expansion with customer experience front and center.

The explosion of data and identity management, combined with technical advancements in real-time signal detection and machine learning, present new opportunities to respond to consumers, but mastering this ability enables marketers to create “magic moments” — instances of hyper-relevant content, delivered at the perfect time and place. 

We’ll see evolutions on the back end in terms of delivery and measurement — as well as on the consumer-facing end — through new creative deployments that enhance the brick-and-mortar shopping trip. Marketers will be held to a higher standard, both by clients demanding world-class performance and proof, as well as consumers who want relevancy, helpfulness and privacy from their brand relationships. 

Achieving this balance won’t be an easy task, but the most progressive marketers will succeed in driving this industry toward a more customer-centric future because they took steps to evolve before it was too late. With that in mind, here are five ways we expect advertising to become more holistic in the 2020s: 

Smart data will take priority over big data

Most marketers have heard the adage, “garbage in, garbage out.” For too long, the industry relied on sheer quantity of data with no quality metrics for making key audience assumptions. This mentality has had a detrimental effect on our industry, creating an ecosystem where people simply hate ads and brands focus on viewability over ROI.

To truly understand our audiences, we must first turn data from multi-channel interactions into smart, actionable insights. This involves not only understanding who the customer is, but what motivates them. 

Progressive marketers will continue to invest heavily in identity graphs to tie critical data and behaviors to individual profiles across channels. Using data science and machine learning, marketers will then be able to advance their knowledge about consumers to new levels, employing new messaging tactics based not only on value, but also on what inspires action. Key nuances, like distinguishing a deal-seeker from a value-seeker, will lead to more engaging personalized experiences and ultimately better ROI for advertisers.

We’ll see a flurry of investment in real-time engagement

We live in a world where our technology predicts where we are going, what we are seeking and how long it will take to get there by recognizing our patterns and everyday behaviors. The benefits in terms of convenience and knowledge are addictive. Look no further than email, social and Alexa to see how real-time awareness and time savings from these interactions impact our everyday lives.  

For marketers, capturing this lightning in a bottle has always been elusive — until now. The rise of real-time advertising, customer data platforms (CDPs), data science and machine learning have created the ability to detect purchases as well as online and real world location signals in real-time. This enables marketers to not only predict the next shopping trip, but what a consumer is likely to buy, when it matters most.

These sense-and-respond capabilities will enable progressive marketers to create experiences of enormous value at the moments that matter, such as triggering an offer of relevance upon entering a store or delivering a tailored experience at a specific time and location. The new decade will bring about massive investments into these technologies given their immediate ability to influence consumers during the actual purchase process. We’ll see budgets being specifically carved out to support real-time advertising and technologies as marketers optimize and convert users with greater effectiveness.  

For consumers, it means that the in-store experience will continue to become more interactive, with mobile devices as the connecting point between e-commerce and brick and mortar. Brands that thrive in this environment will win by delivering meaningful creative that connects both online and offline worlds in a helpful and relevant way.

Cutting-edge tech will create new ad experiences

 


0

Flipkart leads $60M investment in logistics startup Shadowfax

11:35 | 5 December

Walmart’s Flipkart has backed Shadowfax in a new $60 million financing round as the retail giant works to strengthen its logistics network in the nation.

Flipkart, which alone contributed $30 million, led the Series D financing round for the three-year-old Bangalore-based startup, Shadowfax co-founder and chief executive Abhishek Bansal told TechCrunch in an interview.

Existing investors NGP Capital, Qualcomm Ventures, Mirae Asset, and Eight Roads Ventures also participated in the round, which brings the startup’s total raise to date to $100 million. The new round valued Shadowfax at about $250 million, two people familiar with the matter told TechCrunch. The startup declined to comment on the valuation.

Shadowfax operates a business-to-business logistics network in over 300 cities in India. The startup works with neighbourhood stores to use their real estate to store inventory, and a large network of freelancers who do the delivery. “Anyone with a bicycle or a bike can join our platform and deliver items for us,” said Shadowfax’s Bansal.

This logistics network can handle goods in a range of categories including hot food, grocery and e-commerce. Flipkart and food delivery startup Swiggy are among its “hundreds” of clients, he said.

“It’s a very reliable logistics network. And each grocery store is only serving to users in a kilometre radius, so the delivery could be incredibly quick. These grocery stores, whose staff also often participate in delivery, only have to work with us for a few hours in a day, so it’s a quick way for them to make extra money,” he said.

More to follow…

 


0

Flow raises $37M to simplify international e-commerce

17:00 | 4 December

Flow, a startup that helps brands and retailers build a cross-border e-commerce business, has raised $37 million in Series B funding.

CEO Rob Keve said that thanks to the magic of social media and digital marketing, many direct-to-consumer brands are reaching consumers around the world. However, the actual shopping experience for those consumers often leaves a lot to be desired — even if there are international purchase options, the shipping is usually slow or expensive, and the site might also fail to integrate with local payment services.

Keve said that he and CTO Mike Bryzek co-founded the Hoboken, New Jersey-based startup to solve this problem: Flow sits on top of existing e-commerce platforms, so that the shopper’s experience (whether that’s a website, app or distributed buy button) is automatically tailored to their location, with local pricing and payment options.

Plus, thanks to Flow’s relationships with carriers, international shipping should be timely and affordable. And even if a business already has international shipping deals and distribution centers, they can still use Flow to manage the logistics.

Founded in 2015, the company said it’s now seeing 200% year-over-year client growth, with customers including online brands like MVMT Watches, as well as omni-channel businesses like MZ Wallace and Charles & Colvard.

With this new funding, Flow has raised around $55 million total. The Series B was led by New Enterprise Associates, with participation from American Express Ventures and Latitude Ventures. NEA Venture Partner Liza Landsman (former president of Jet.com) is joining Flow’s board of directors.

“Cross-border shopping is a rapidly growing area of e-commerce, and more companies are investing in their cross-border strategy to capture that international demand,” Landsman said in a statement. “Flow is a premier vendor in this space, and their platform delivers strategic advantages for brands and retailers entering or expanding into international markets. Our team is excited to support Flow’s rapid growth.”

Keve told me that Flow will use the money to expand its sales and marketing team, and to improve the product. For example, he said he wants to continue developing the artificial intelligence that Flow uses to classify products (necessary for calculating duty and tax costs).

He also said he wants to continue building out Flow’s services business. While it’s important for the company to offer “a turnkey platform,” the technology is also “married” to Flow’s expertise about the strategies that work in each country.

“There’s services and knowledge that is very country-specific and even category-specific,” Keve said. “That is always going to be a matter of consulting and advising and sharing best practices … We will continue to be investing in that layer of expertise.”

 


0

Walmart tops Amazon as most-downloaded U.S. Shopping app on Black Friday

21:11 | 3 December

Amazon says Cyber Monday 2019 has now become the retailer’s biggest shopping day of all-time, based on the number of items sold worldwide. However, in the U.S., a different trend took shape over the big sales holiday weekend kicked off by Black Friday. This year, Walmart became the No. 1 shopping app in the U.S. on Black Friday for the first time ever, according to App Annie and Sensor Tower’s analysis.

Walmart’s app reached No. 1 among all shopping the U.S. after peaking on Thanksgiving as No. 6 among all apps (not just shopping), noted App Annie, based on both iOS and Android downloads.

Sensor Tower confirmed the same, noting that Walmart was the most-installed shopping app on the U.S. App Store on Black Friday, with 113,000 new downloads, representing a year-over-year increase of 23%.

Remarkably, this made 2019 the first year that Amazon’s app didn’t top the App Store’s list of most-downloaded shopping apps, the firm says.

Amazon’s app was a close second with 102,000 first-time installs, but this figure represented a 10% decrease from Black Friday 2018.

The further top 10 list included: Target, Best Buy, GOAT, Nike, Kohl’s, Wish, Macy’s, and Adidas. Combined, these top 10 most-download apps grew 11% year-over-year, reaching a total 527,000 installs. That’s 28.8% of all downloads for the Shopping category — the largest percentage since the Shopping category’s creation in 2015.

Overall, the number of first-time downloads in the U.S. App Store’s Shopping category on Black Friday increased 8% year-over-year, and totaled 1.8 million downloads.

Though Walmart was No 1 in the U.S., Amazon was No. 1 when apps were ranked globally instead of U.S.-only and it was No. 1 among all U.S. online-only apps.

While Sensor Tower’s analysis is based on Black Friday installs, not Cyber Monday data, Amazon’s worldwide dominance on this day does seem to back up the retailer’s own claims of its record-breaking sales on a global basis on Monday.

Amazon said customers bought “hundreds of millions” of products between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday. And it said “millions more” customers bought Amazon devices, like Echo Dot and Fire TV Stick, compared with the same period last year. (That may be true, but Amazon devices are also more broadly available to customers worldwide compared with 2018 — so perhaps this isn’t the fairest comparison.)

Walmart, meanwhile, didn’t tout its Cyber Monday event’s numbers, but said “millions” of customers joined for Black Friday sales online and in stores.

One thing that could have boosted Walmart’s app downloads this year was its focus on the in-store customer.

The app now includes an updated Store Map that makes it easier to navigate Walmart’s aisles, and it features “Check out with Me” — a way for shoppers to avoid checkout lines and instead check out with store personnel in the aisles.

 


0

Daily Crunch: Cyber Monday is bigger than ever

20:51 | 3 December

The Daily Crunch is TechCrunch’s roundup of our biggest and most important stories. If you’d like to get this delivered to your inbox every day at around 9am Pacific, you can subscribe here.

1. Cyber Monday totalled $9.2B in US online sales, smartphones accounted for a record $3B

Cyber Monday — the final day of the extended Thanksgiving weekend that traditionally kicks off holiday season spending — broke another e-commerce record: U.S. shoppers racked up a total of $9.2 billion in online sales, according to figures from Adobe.

That said, there is an undercurrent of sluggishness. Following the pattern set during Thanksgiving and Black Friday, Adobe had predicted that spending would reach $9.4 billion — so the actual total fell a bit short.

2. DHS wants to expand airport face recognition scans to include US citizens

In a filing, the department has proposed that all travelers — not just foreign nationals or visitors — will have to complete a facial recognition check before they are allowed to enter the U.S., and also to leave the country.

3. Facebook expands its efforts against ad discrimination

Under the terms of a settlement with the ACLU and other civil rights groups earlier this year, Facebook has been taking steps to prevent discriminatory ad targeting. Today, it’s expanding the enforcement of these rules beyond Facebook Ad Manager to encompass every other place where someone might buy ads on Facebook.

4. AWS launches Braket, its quantum computing service

Amazon isn’t building its own quantum computer. Instead, it’s partnering with D-Wave, IonQ and Rigetti and making their systems available through its cloud.

5. Twitter launches a Privacy Center to centralize its data protection efforts

The Twitter Privacy Center will host information about Twitter’s initiatives, announcements and new privacy products, as well as other communication about security incidents. The company says it wanted to create a centralized resource so it would be easier to find all the information about Twitter’s work in this area.

6. Why Notion is staying small as its valuation gets bigger

We interview Akshay Kothari, COO of work tools startup Notion, in which he discusses the company’s philosophy of staying small — as well as challenges to this strategy as competitors raise massive sums. (Extra Crunch membership required.)

7. Marvel’s new ‘Black Widow’ trailer teases the spy thriller Natasha Romanoff deserves

It’s kind of crazy that we’re only getting a “Black Widow” movie now, but at least the cast — David Harbour! Florence Pugh! Rachel Weisz!! — looks amazing.

 


0

Rapyd, which offers fintech-as-a-service via a single API, adds $20M more to its coffers at a $1.2B valuation

19:27 | 3 December

One of the biggest trends in the world of financial technology has been an ongoing push towards consolidation, where larger fish are snapping up smaller fish (including a proliferation of interesting startups) to get improved economies of scale in a business model where every transaction brings incremental returns. But today, a startup that has built the concept of consolidation into its basic DNA has raised another round of funding to continue doubling down on its business.

Rapyd — a London-based startup that has built an API that lets customers tap into a range of financial services spanning payments, checkout, funds collection, fund disbursements, compliance as a service, foreign exchange, card issuing and soon logistics across a wide range of geographies — has picked up an additional $20 million. Rapyd’s valuation with the funding is now at $1.2 billion (up from just under $1 billion in October).

The $20 million comes from new investment firm Durable Capital Partners.

Notably, it was only in October that Rapyd announced a $100 million raise. CEO and co-founder and Arik Shtilman said that Rapyd has now raised $180 million in total, with previous investors in the startup including Oak HC/FT Tiger Global, Coatue, General Catalyst, Target Global, Stripe and Entrée Capital. (Stripe, itself a fast-growing fintech upstart, remains only a financial investor in the company, Shtilman confirmed.)

Durable is the firm founded by Henry Ellenbogen, formerly a star investor at T. Rowe Price, in what Rapyd said was the firm’s first investment. (Note: Durable was also announced earlier as an investor in Convoy’s $400 million round, some clear signs that it’s open for business now.)

With Rapyd only recently raising a round, Shtilman said that the reason for the — err — rapid follow up was because the company is gearing up to make some acquisitions, as it too moves in on the consolidation trend by adding in more tools into its “Swiss Army Knife” of services.

“We’ve started to look at two acquisitions that were bigger than what we originally planned, with prices more in the range of $100 million,” he said. Up to now, Rapyd has largely built its technology from the ground up, but this will be about “getting at new business very quickly,” he added. Both deals are in progress now and are likely to close in February / March. One is of a card issuing platform (a la Marqeta), and the other is of a company based in Asia Pacific that is a significant player in payments in the region. 

The focus on Asia Pacific both for testing out new services and acquisitions is in part because this, along with Latin America, have shaped up to be important geographies for the company. In the last three months, Rapyd has signed on 20 additional large-scale companies, Shtilman said, with several of them based out of, or serving, customers out of the two regions.

In fact, Rapyd doesn’t talk much about actual customers, but they include e-commerce merchants, gig-economy platforms — including Uber — financial institutions, and technology providers. The basic pitch is that financial services are complex, and providing one like payments often means having to offer others. Building these from scratch if this is not your core competency can be time-consuming and costly, and so that is where a company like Rapyd steps in with its API.

This is what attracted its newest investor, too. “Durable Capital Partners LP has a vision to identify and invest in promising early stage growth companies and invest in teams that have bold ideas but can also execute at a world-class level and build much larger companies,” said Ellenbogen in a statement. “I believe the Fintech-as-a-Service category has tremendous potential as companies seek to embed financial services as an integral part of the next generation technology stack. I believe Rapyd is very well positioned to drive this trend and I believe Arik’s track record in scaling cloud-based businesses will deliver success in this sector.”

When we last talked with Rapyd in October, we asked Shtilman about whether the company would ever move into logistics as part of its range of tools. After all, when you think about the complexities of procuring, storing and moving goods, it’s clear that logistics is one of the cornerstones you need to get right in an online business.

He said that this was on the company’s roadmap, and now Rapyd is in a pilot in Indonesia — an interesting test bed, considering that the country’s is spread across thousands of islands — where it has integrated a logistics service and given access to a single merchant as stage one of its closed beta. It’s also in discussions with other companies about how it can incorporate their services into the Rapyd platform to provide further “logistics as a service” to customers. He also confirmed the Durable has been a help here, by making an introduction to Convoy as part of that wider strategy.

 


0

Tuft & Needle exposed thousands of customer shipping labels

21:51 | 2 December

Mattress and bedding giant Tuft & Needle left hundreds of thousands of FedEx shipping labels containing customer names, addresses, and phone numbers on an unprotected cloud server.

More than 236,400 shipping labels were found on an Amazon Web Services (AWS) storage bucket without a password, allowing anyone who knew the easy-to-guess web address access to the customer data. Often, these AWS storage buckets are misconfigured by the owner by being set to “public” and not “private.”

The exposed labels were created between 2014 and 2017 during the company’s early years. Tuft & Needle was founded in 2012 in Arizona. But some labels were printed as recently as 2018.

It’s not known for how long the storage bucket was left open.

Two customer shipping labels of the hundreds of thousands exposed. We have redacted the shipping labels to protect the customers’ privacy. (Screenshot: TechCrunch)

U.K.-based penetration testing company Fidus Information Security found the exposed data. TechCrunch verified the data by matching names and addresses against public records.

We contacted Tuft & Needle about the data exposure on Monday. The storage bucket was quickly shut down.

“We’ve secured any potential exposure and are investigating the matter further,” said spokesperson Brooke Figlo in an email.

Tuft & Needle said it would “comply” with any applicable state data breach notification laws, but did not explicitly say if the company would inform customers of the security lapse.

 


0

Cyber Monday on track to deliver $9.4B in U.S. online sales

19:53 | 2 December

Cyber Monday online sales are on track to hit $9.4 billion today, a figure that’s up 18.9% year-over-year, and even larger than Black Friday’s record-breaking $7.4 billion in online sales, according to analytics from Adobe.

As of 9 AM Eastern on Cyber Monday, U.S. online shoppers had already spent $473 million, Adobe says.

Adobe’s forecasts and reports are based on over 1 trillion visits to U.S. online retail sites and 55 million SKUs. And its Adobe Analytics service is able to measure transactions from 80 of the top 100 U.S. retailers.

Retailers smartly addressed the shortened post-Thanksgiving time frame by rolling out their deals a week earlier. That plan worked, as U.S. consumers spent a record $72.1 billion online shopping since November 1, representing 16.3% year-over-year growth.

Through this weekend, consumers spent $7.4 billion, including “Small Business Saturday” and “Super Sunday,” which are newer terms for the big shopping days after Thanksgiving and Black Friday .

Top sellers so far have included Frozen 2 toys. L.O.L Surprise Dolls, and Paw Patrol toys, video games like Madden 20 and FIFA 20, and the Nintendo Switch. Electronics like Samsung TVs, Apple laptops and Amazon Echo devices also sold well. One report claims Apple may have even sold as many as 3 million pairs of AirPods from Black Friday until today.

Adobe says Cyber Monday shoppers today can expect the biggest discounts on TVs (savings of 19%, on average), toys (20% savings), and computers (18% savings). Furniture and bedding, however, may be cheaper on Giving Tuesday (tomorrow), at 10% off.

In addition to the usual factors that influence Cyber Monday sales, the shopping holiday may get a boost from the bad weather, too. When extreme weather arrives., shoppers tend to stay indoors and shop at home. On Black Friday, for example, states that recorded more than 2 inches of snow saw a 7% bump in online sales.

“Online shopping received some unexpected boosts this holiday season. Retailer fears of a shorter season meant that deals came much sooner than usual, and consumers took notice. In some areas of the country, adverse weather in the form of snow and heavy rain meant that many opted to stay home instead and grabbed the best deals online. Just look at Black Friday, which brought in $7.4 billion online and is just below last year’s Cyber Monday at $7.9 billion,” said Taylor Schreiner, Principal Analyst & Head of Adobe Digital Insights.

“Consumers are reimagining what it means to shop during the holidays, with smartphones having a breakout season as well. We expect that consumers will spend $14 billion more this holiday season via their phones,” Schreiner added.

Adobe also notes that Cyber Monday’s four golden hours — 10 PM through 2 AM ET — will bring in 30% ($2.8B) of today’s revenue as shoppers show up to grab the deals before they end. During the peak hour of 11 PM ET to midnight, shoppers will spend $11 million per minute.

Adobe’s forecast of $9.4 billion in Cyber Monday sales will likely be at least roughly accurate, but the company won’t have the exact total until the days ends — and it could end up being a little less. The actual Black Friday sales numbers came in just under Adobe’s prediction for the day of $7.5 billion, for example.

A related forecast from Salesforce is estimating slightly smaller Cyber Monday sales, by comparison. It instead predicts Black Friday will deliver $8 billion in U.S. sales and $30 billion worldwide — representing 15% and 12% year-over-year growth, respectively.

 

 


0

Vinted, the second-hand clothes marketplace, raises $141M at a $1B+ valuation

03:41 | 28 November

The market for second-hand clothes — the “circular economy” as it’s sometimes called — has been on the rise in the last several years, fuelled by economic crunches, a desire to make more responsible and less wasteful fashion choices, and a wave of digital platforms that are bringing the selling and buying of used clothes outside the charity shop. Today, one of the bigger companies in Europe working in the third of these areas is announcing a huge round of funding to double down on the trend.

Vinted, a site where consumers can sell and buy second-hand fashion, has raised €128 million (around $140.9 million) in a round that is being led by Lightspeed Venture Partners, with previous backers Sprints Capital, Insight Venture Partners, Accel and Burda Principal Investments also participating. With this investment, the startup — founded and headquartered out of Vilnius, Lithuania — has passed a valuation of $1 billion (it is not specifying an exact amount), making it one of the biggest startups to come out of the country (but not the first unicorn… Uber competitor Bolt, formerly known as Taxify, is also valued at over $1 billion.)

The company is going to use the money to continue expanding in Europe, and building out more features on its platform to improve the buying and selling process, while sticking to its goal of providing a platform for consumers to list and buy used fashion.

“We want to make sure we don’t have new products,” CEO Thomas Plantenga said in an interview earlier. “All our sellers are regular people.” Some 75% of Vinted’s customers have never bought or sold second hand clothes in their lives before coming to the platform, he added. “The stigma is no longer there.”

Vinted’s growth comes on the heels of a remarkable turnaround for the startup. Founded in 2008 by Milda Mitkute and Justas Janauskas as a way to help Mitkute clear out here wardrobe before a house move, the company expanded fast, but at a price: by 2016, it was close to running out of money and business had slowed down to a crawl. Investors brought in Plantenga to turn it around.

“We changed the business model in 2016 to make the costs as low as possible for users to list clothes,” Pantenga said today. “That produced a dramatic change in our growth trajectory.”

The company, more specifically, went through some drastic changes. First, it clawed back a lot of its pricey international expansion strategy (and along with that a lot of the costs associated with it); and second, it removed all listing fees to encourage more people to list. Now, Vinted charges a 5% commission only if you conduct transactions on Vinted itself, bundling in buyer protection and shipping to sweeten the deal. (You can still post, sell and buy for free if you pay offline but you don’t get those perks.)

The turnaround worked, and the company bounced back, and two years later, in 2018, it went on to raise €50 million. Today, Vinted has some 180 million products live on its platform, 25 million registered users in 12 markets in Europe (but not the US) and 300 employees. It expects to sell €1.3 billion in clothes in 2019, has seen sales grow 4x in the last 17 months.

Vinted’s rise has matched a wider trend in the region.

Europe is the home to some of the world’s biggest “fast fashion” businesses: companies like H&M, Zara and Primark have built huge brands around making quick copies of the hottest styles off the fashion presses, and selling them for prices that will not break the bank (or at least, no more than you might have previously paid to buy a pair of average jeans on the discount rack of a Gap).

But it turns out that it’s also home to a very thriving market in second-hand clothes. One estimate has it that two out of every three Europeans has bought a second-hand good, and 6 out of 10 have sold their belongings using platforms dedicated to second-hand trade.

Even as the company continues to hold back on expanding into the US — perhaps burned a little too much by its previous efforts there; or simply aware of the wide competition from the likes of Ebay, OfferUp, Letgo, Poshmark, and many more — Vinted’s growth in Europe has caught the eye of investors in the that market.

“At Lightspeed, we look for outlier management teams building generational companies. We’ve been impressed by the team’s ability to build an incredible product and value proposition for their community, and adapt and expand their business along the way,” said Brad Twohig, a partner at Lightspeed. “Vinted is defining its market and has built a global brand in C2C commerce and communities. We’re proud to partner with Vinted and leverage our global platform and resources to help them continue to build on their success and achieve their goals.”

While charity shops have traditionally dominated this market, sites like eBay, followed by a secondary wave of platforms like Vinted and another competitor in this space, Depop, have made selling and buying items into an established, low-barrier business.

All the same, given that extending the life of one’s goods feeds into a do-good ethos, it’s noticeable to me that Vinted hasn’t quite replaced the Salvation Army: there is virtually no way to sell on Vinted and give the proceeds to charity, if you so choose.

It appears that this might be something Vinted will try to address in the future.

“We are looking at making fashion circular for our users so that clothing that they bought doesn’t go to waste,” Plantenga said. “[Giving proceeds to charity] is super interesting and we should explore it as part of our growth story. To be honest, those things have been in the background and not developed because we’ve just been trying to keep up with everything, but the idea fits into our culture.”

 


0

U.S. online shoppers already spent $50B in November, holiday season on track for $143.7B

18:43 | 27 November

Facing a shorter holiday shopping season this year, U.S. retailers started rolling out their Black Friday deals earlier than usual. That move has paid off, according to new e-commerce data shared by Adobe Analytics this morning, which found that U.S. consumers have already spent $50.1 billion online between November 1 and November 26, 2019 — which represents a comparable increase of 15.8 percent year-over-year.

This year, Thanksgiving arrived on November 28, a full week later than it did in 2018 when it came on November 22. That left retailers with 6 fewer days to drive post-Thanksgiving Day sales — a situation it hadn’t been in since 2013, when the shorter time frame led to serious delivery struggles. To salvage the lost shopping days (and to not again find themselves in a similar situation as 2013), retailers simply rolled out their deals a week early.

For example, Amazon kicked off a Black Friday deals week on November 22. Walmart introduced early savings through “Buy Now” deals on Walmart.com, in addition to a pre-Black Friday event that started on Nov. 22. Target integrated Shipt’s same-day shopping service into its app and ran a preview sale, weekend deals, and today, Nov. 27, an early access sale. Other retailers followed suit, as well.

But consumers weren’t even waiting for these Black Friday preview deals to start shopping. According to Adobe Analytics, which tracks online transactions for 80 of the top 100 U.S. retailers, all 26 days in November so far have surpassed $1 billion in online sales. Seven days even passed $2 billion in sales, which made 2019 the first year to see multiple $2 billion days this early in the shopping season.

And as of this morning, $240 million has already been spent online, representing 19.3% growth year-over-year, and putting the day on track to hit $2.9 billion.

 

Based on this data, Adobe believes its earlier forecast of $143.7 billion spent during the full holiday shopping season (Nov.-Dec.) remains accurate. That estimate represents a 14.1% rise from a year ago, according to Adobe. In addition, the three biggest shopping days — Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday — will also see increases, it says.

Thanksgiving Day sales are forecast to jump 19.7% year-over-year to $4.4 billion; Black Friday is expected to grow by 20.5% to reach $7.5 billion; and Cyber Monday sales are expected to top the charts at $9.4 billion, an increase of 19.1% year-over-year — a new record.

The firm also sees a surge in mobile shopping this year, with 34.3% of all e-commerce sales being made via a smartphone, up 24.2% year-over-year. App Annie’s mobile shopping forecast had also predicted a record numbers of mobile shoppers, with a 25% year-over-year increase in time spent mobile shopping during the weeks of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. The firm said shoppers will spend 2.2 billion hours globally across shopping apps this holiday season.

Other notable trends include a rise in “buy online, pickup in-store” shopping — 61% will take advantage of this, leading to 27% more in sales over last year. Plus email promotions this season have led to 16.5% of all online revenue, up 10% year-over-year. Paid search accounted for 23.7% of sales, while social media led to just 2.8%.

In terms of products, shoppers are buying Apple AirPods, Apple Laptops, Samsung and LG TV’s, Frozen 2 toys, L.O.L Surprise Dolls, NERF toys, Pikmi Pops, Fortnite toys, and games like Pokemon Sword/Shield, Jedi Fallen Order, and Madden 20.

“With the shorter shopping season and retailers starting their promotions earlier, Adobe is seeing holiday discounts already well underway even before Thanksgiving Day,” said Jason Woosley, Vice President of Commerce Product & Platform at Adobe. “For televisions alone, shoppers are already seeing discounts twice as deep as expected with average savings yesterday of 17.5%. Those consumers who grab their smartphone to do some quick online shopping after dinner are likely to find offers that are even better than this time last year,” he added.

 

 


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