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Digital Deets: Retail, Social & Gaming Updates

Gen Z is shopping more frequently and spending more on fashion than Millennials are, according to a study from LIM College. Although the two generations tend to align in overall values, Gen Zers tend to appreciate the material things in life, including shopping at malls and physical stores.

It’s not only Gen Z—this last holiday season, everyone appreciated the convenience of in-store pickup. Sales where customers order goods online and pick them up at a nearby store jumped 47% in November-December 2018, compared to the same time last year, outstripping overall 16.5% growth in online sales, according to Adobe Analytics.

Separately, GlobalData Retail estimates that store pickups accounted for nearly one-third of U.S. online sales last November and December, up from 22% in 2017 and 17% in 2016. Per the Intl. Council of Shopping Centers, over one-third of shoppers who utilize in-store pickup also end up buying something else on their way out the door—and that number rises to 86% during the holiday season.

An eMarketer survey released late 2018 revealed that Amazon is responsible for nearly half of all online sales in the U.S. Runners-up to the title include eBay (6.6% share); Apple (3.9%); Walmart (3.7%); The Home Depot (1.5%); Best Buy (1.3%); QVC Group, Macy’s, and Costco (1.2% each); and Wayfair (1.1%). Much of Amazon’s sales take place through its Marketplace (over 70% share estimated for 2019), although the e-tailer has been gradually rolling out its own proprietary brands.

Amazon quietly rolls out its cash service, allowing shoppers to buy online without a debit or credit card. Roughly one-quarter of the U.S. population is unbanked or underbanked. And the most likely groups to fall into this paradigm are black and Hispanic consumers, as pointed out by MediaPost. Shoppers can add cash to their Amazon account at participating stores like CVS pharmacy, GameStop, and 7-Eleven—all in retail categories which over-index among these populations.

Alibaba has 58% of the digital Chinese market, and it’s looking for more: Office Depot is partnering with Alibaba Group’s business-to-business unit to capitalize on opportunities selling to small- and medium-sized enterprises in the U.S.. Through the arrangement, Office Depot will steer business customers toward Alibaba.com when they wish to purchase items beyond traditional office supplies. Customers will also be able to take advantage of Office Depot’s fulfillment network if they buy items through Alibaba.com’s marketplace.

Following an FTC settlement, TikTok will no longer allow children under 13 to upload videos, leave comments, build a profile, or send messages. In addition to taking steps to come into compliance with COPPA, the social media platform agreed to pay $5.7 million. Users are now being promoted to enter a birthday; under-13s have been getting their accounts deleted and are now being regulated into a “limited, separate app experience” where they can watch, record, but not post their own videos.

YouTube is disabling comments on tens of millions of its videos featuring children “that could be subject to predatory behavior.” Major advertisers like Disney, Hasbro, Nestle, Epic Games, AT&T, and McDonald’s pulled their ad spend on the platform after it was discovered that pedophiles were swarming the comments sections of children’s videos.

In an extraordinary case of blaming the victim, YouTube is also demonetizing videos of minors where inappropriate comments were left, even if the videos were entirely innocent, and is requiring creators to “actively moderate their comments, beyond just using our moderation tools.”

The next title from digital-first studio pocket.watch’s new gaming division P.W Games will be P.W Putting Planet, a mobile free-to-play, AR game launching in conjunction with Superstar Games. Players will interact with a virtual golf experience complete with a fully functional YouTube player—a first for any mobile AR game. The studio also partnered with Outright Games to bring its first console game, Race with Ryan, to market in fall of 2019.

Sprint introduces cloud gaming pioneer Hatch (in which Rovio holds an 80% stake) to the U.S. for the first time with its unique mobile 5G cloud gaming service on Sprint 5G. The network’s faster speeds allow games on Hatch to be played instantly over the internet with no downloads or updates necessary. The Sprint-Hatch relationship offers unlimited access to over 100 games, social gaming, and access to Hatch Kids—a safe space without advertising or in-game purchasing.

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