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E-commerce Industry News – Week of Nov 28th, 2022

Hi r/ecommerce – I'm Paul and I follow the e-commerce industry pretty closely for my Shopifreaks E-commerce Newsletter. Each week I post a summary recap of this week's top stories, which I cover in depth in the newsletter. btw – don't forget to cast your 2023 E-commerce Predictions!

  1. Adobe reported that consumers spent a record $9.12B online on Black Friday — up 2.3% from last year. Just for fun I input the $9.12B figure being floated around by Adobe into the US Inflation Calculator, and when adjusted for inflation between now and last year, the figure comes to $8.29B…. which is shy of last year's $8.9B. So did Black Friday sales grow by 2.3% or drop by 6.8%? I guess both are technically true depending on how you're selling it.
  2. BNPL purchases rose by 78% compared to the previous week. Adobe Analytics expects the five days from Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday to generate $34.8B in online spending, up 2.8% from 2022.
  3. Shopify reported a record-setting Black Friday with sales of $3.36B, a 17% increase over 2021.
  4. Mastercard reported that U.S. retail sales on Friday were up +12% YoY excluding automotive. And that in-store sales increased +12% YoY while e-commerce sales experienced sustained growth up +14% YoY.
  5. Target is introducing a new large-format store to better support the company's same-day omnichannel services like Order Pickup and Drive Up. The new stores also includes five times more space for backroom e-commerce fulfillment than its traditional stores, as well as room for an expanded food and beverage selection.
  6. In September, I reported that Temu became the most widely used Android shopping app just two weeks after launch, ranking first among shopping apps in the Google Play Store, followed by Amazon and Shein. Since then Temu has continued to crush it with more than 5.2M installs in the U.S., which represents its biggest market by a landslide at 97% of its users. After becoming the #1 shopping app in the U.S., it then took the crown of #1 free U.S. iPhone app across all categories on November 12 and has since held onto the top seat, as well as the top free Android app in the U.S. for two weeks.
  7. Amazon announced that it's shutting down three of its initiatives in India and one global project including Amazon Food, the food delivery business it was trialing in the southern Indian city of Bengaluru, Amazon Academy, an online learning platform it launched for high-school students last year, Amazon Distribution, its wholesale e-commerce website available to help kiranas (neighborhood stores), pharmacies and department stores secure inventory in Bengaluru, Mysore and Hubli, and Wickr Me, the free encrypted messaging app that it acquired in June 2021.
  8. Walmart took the top spot this year among shoppers who were searching online for Black Friday discounts. According to advertising technology company Captify, which tracks more than 1B searches a day from websites globally, searches for Black Friday discounts on Walmart surged 386% YoY, pushing it ahead of Target, Kohl's, and Amazon. Amazon was top of the list last year, but fell to fourth place this year as of Friday morning.
  9. Etsy revealed that it is now big enough to take a more “vertical strategy” in 2023. According to the company's CEO Josh Silverman, that means “treating certain types of products differently, as opposed to all categories having the same features, policies, and level of marketing attention.”
  10. The Indian government released a new framework to curb fake and misleading reviews on e-commerce platforms, travel services, restaurants, and consumer durables. Under the new rules: 1) Platforms will be required to set up review administrators to moderate reviews, 2) Reviews will need to include the publishing date and star rating. 3) Consumers should not be allowed to edit their reviews. 4) Foul language is not permitted. 5) Platforms should restrict authors giving fraudulent reviews from publishing reviews in the future. 6) Authors submitting reviews will be required to verify their identity.
  11. eBay sellers are reporting that local pickup is being offered as a delivery option in their listings even though they didn't turn on the setting. Sellers are having to create new listings to remove the shipping method, which costs them additional listing fees, however they do so because otherwise they'd be obligated to fulfill local delivery, which is impossible.
  12. Hestia Capital Partners LP is pushing Pitney Bowes Inc to re-evaluate its capital allocation and e-commerce strategy. The hedge fund, which owns a 6.9% stake in the company, has suggested a possible sale of an underperforming segment to focus on cash-generating segments like Presort Services, its mail aggregation business, and SendTech Solutions, its postage meter business.
  13. New research from the University of Florida revealed that many consumer products sold on Amazon have used deceptive marketing practices to raise prices while pretending to offer a discount. (It took a study to determine that? I thought everyone already knew that went on.) Regulations prohibiting deceptive pricing require that sellers use truthful price comparisons, and consumers have won class-action lawsuits against other retailers in the past for similar tactics.
  14. Amazon’s UK tax bill could jump £29M next year due to changes to business rates in the country that are scheduled to hit warehouses and online retailers the hardest. New rates will be based on property values, which means that online retailers will see a tax rise while taxes could fall for physical stores.
  15. Shopify is under heat for resisting calls to cut ties with Libs of TikTok, a controversial site accused of being anti-LGBTQ2 that sells merchandise plastered with allegations of grooming children. A Shopify spokesperson said that the merchant is not currently in violation of Shopify’s Acceptable Use Policy.
  16. Bold Commerce appointed Peter Karpas as their new CEO. Karpas joins Bold with over three decades of experience in e-commerce, payments and fintech, having most recently served as SVP, Global Head of SMB Products at First Data (now Fiserv).
  17. JD.com is cutting the salaries of more than 2,000 senior leaders by up to 20% in order to allocate $1.4B to help rank-and-file employees buy homes. The move is part of China's “common prosperity” campaign to reduce economic inequality in the country.
  18. WooCommerce and Coinbase are teaming up to allow merchants to accept crypto payments through Coinbase Commerce. Woocommerce merchants are now able to accept Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, DAI, Ethereum, Litecoin, Dogecoin, or USD Coin.
  19. Amazon's customer satisfaction has slipped with shoppers, according investment firm Evercore ISI who conducts yearly surveys. The number of Amazon customers who said they were “extremely” or “very satisfied” with the company in a recent survey fell to 79% in 2022 from its peak of 88% a decade ago. I think that what actually happened is that Amazon set the bar so high that customers became entitled. 88% satisfaction represented the novelty shopping experience that Amazon offered a decade ago — which has now become the norm across most major retailers.
  20. Plus 4 seed rounds, IPOs, and acquisitions of interest including Popup's $3.5M pre-seed round.

I hope you find this news recap helpful. See you next week!

-PAUL
Editor of Shopifreaks

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