Facebook is developing a voice-powered virtual assistant similar to Apple’s Siri, Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. Read more…
Tech companies also are experimenting with monetization strategies that extend beyond the initial purchase of a smart speaker. Amazon likely sells its smart speakers at a loss, according to product teardowns by ABI Research, which estimated the second-generation Echo Dot that sells for $29 has about $31 in parts. But those devices give the e-commerce giant a foothold in the connected-home market and help to support Amazon Prime, the subscription service that costs $119 a year for streaming video, a limited package of streaming music and no-fee two-day shipping on most products. People who have an Echo in their home spend about $1,700 a year on Amazon, or 66% more than the average Amazon customer, per Consumer Intelligence Research Partners.
Waze is shifting focus to what it calls “destination-based marketing” from location-based ads to highlight how its social navigation app helps mobile marketers reach on-the-go consumers. Read more…
Retailers and restaurants can use all the marketing help that Waze and Google Maps can offer, considering the prevailing trends toward e-commerce — especially the massive growth in mobile shopping. U.S. retail m-commerce sales are forecast to surge 30% to $269 billion this year (and by another 26% to $338 billion in 2020) from $207 billion in 2018, researcher eMarketer estimated this week. Amazon will benefit the most from that growth, given the popularity of its shopping app and mobile website. The skyrocketing growth in m-commerce will be about seven times bigger than the predicted 4.4% gain in total U.S. retail sales to $3.8 trillion this year, per the National Retail Federation. But at least a healthy economy and rising wages are giving consumers more confidence to shop.
The shift to e-commerce will continue to disrupt the retail industry, although it’s too early to tell how those trends will affect Waze and Google Maps. As online sales including m-commerce grow to 25% of total U.S. retail sales by 2026 from 16% today, 75,000 store locations need to close, UBS retail analysts Jay Sole and Michael Lasser estimated this week. That figure doesn’t include restaurants, although the diminished number of retail locations and growth of time-saving food delivery services will lead to fewer occasions to eat out. The number of meals bought from restaurants has fallen 14% from the most recent peak in 1998 — when the average American ate out 286 times a year — to 245 times last year, per researcher NPD. Fortunately for the industry, meals delivered from restaurants and eaten at home rose 6% last year, NPD found.
The growth in e-commerce revenue from 16% of total U.S. retail sales currently to 25% by 2026 will lead to the closure of 83,020 stores, including 7,310 grocery stores, Michael Lasser and Jay Sole, analysts at UBS, estimated in an April 9 report to investors. The report was an update from a report last year that predicted 30,000 to 80,000 stores would have to close by 2025.