The ‘Great Return’ to the Office

By Staff
Wednesday, May 25, 2022 4:15 PM As society is gradually moving away from pandemic restrictions and protective measures, companies in the U.S. and internationally are, some more gently than others, pushing for employees to return to offices. And while the “Great Return” is facing some pushback from workers who have grown accustomed to the perks of working from home, it is progressing relatively quickly, according to a recent story in Statista.com.

According to April 2022 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Current Population Survey, 7.7 percent of employed persons 16 and older in the U.S. had been working at home or remotely at some point in the past 4 weeks due to the coronavirus pandemic, the lowest point by far since COVID-19 hit the country in the spring of 2020. 

As the chart shows, the share of employees working from home peaked early on in the pandemic as most offices and establishment were closed to break the first wave of Covid-19 infections. From then on the share remote workers trended downward with brief uptick coinciding with the third and fifth wave in winter 2020/21 and 2021/22. 

Father’s Day Spending to Fall Slightly in 2022, Gift Sales Expected to Reach $20 Billion

By Staff
Tuesday, May 24, 2022 12:48 PM Despite looming fears of a recession in the retail sector, Father’s Day spending is expected to reach $20 billion according to a recent National Retail Federation & Prosper Insights and Analytics consumer survey.

“Despite growing concerns about inflation, consumers plan to spend approximately the same amount as last year in celebration of Father’s Day,” said NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay adding that American spending patterns also reflect the sentimental nature of the holiday as consumers are prioritizing purchases that are of a unique and meaningful nature. 

There are several trends affecting buying habits this year with 44 percent of consumers choosing a gift that is unique or different, while 37 percent want a gift that will create a special memory. Gifts of experience remain a popular choice with consumers with 25 percent expected to buy tickets to an event, while subscription box services continue to gain in popularity with 37 percent of consumers planning on giving a gift that keeps on giving year-round. 

Consumers plan on spending more taking Dad out to dinner this year averaging $32.29, up slightly from last year.

E.U. Speeds Past U.S. in Electric Vehicle Sales

By Staff
Monday, May 23, 2022 12:59 PM Gas prices have recently risen around the world, partly due to the Russian war in Ukraine. Americans are now paying an average price of more than $4.50 per gallon for gas, but Europeans are paying at least a dollar more per gallon, and in some countries as much as two dollars more per gallon. Higher gas prices among countries in the European Union help explain why Europeans are gravitating more quickly to electric vehicles than Americans are.

Pew Research: More Than Half of Americans Live Within One Hour of Extended Family

By Staff
Friday, May 20, 2022 4:37 PM NEW YORK—Not surprisingly, especially given the rigors of the pandemic of the past two-plus year, most Americans value living close to their families, according to a recent Pew Research Center survey. Indeed, the survey found that more than half of respondents actually do live close to their family members.

Overall, 55 percent of U.S. adults say they live within an hour’s drive of at least some of their extended family members, according to Pew Research Center’s findings. Roughly equal shares of Americans say they live near all or most of their extended family (28 percent) or near some extended family (27 percent). Another 24 percent of adults say they live within an hour’s drive of only a few family members, while one-in-five (about 20 percent) say they do not live near any extended family members. 

“Only 1 percent of Americans say they don’t have extended family at all,” according to Pew’s analysis of the survey’s findings (which defined extended family as children, parents, grandparents, grandchildren, brothers, sisters, cousins, aunts, uncles and in-laws who don’t currently live with the respondent).

About one-third of adults with a postgraduate degree (32 percent) do not live near any extended family, compared with 14 percent of those with a high school education or less, according to Pew Research’s report on the survey’s findings.

More Than 50 Percent of Americans Say Masks Should Be Required on Airplanes and Public Transportation

By Staff
Thursday, May 19, 2022 11:12 AM A majority of U.S. adults (57 percent) say travelers on airplanes and public transportation should be required to wear masks, according to a new Pew Research Center survey. A smaller share (42 percent) say travelers should not be required to wear masks in these situations.

In April, a federal judge in Florida struck down the U.S. government’s mask mandate for planes and public transportation. The Department of Justice is in the process of appealing the decision, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is recommending that people continue to wear masks in these settings. For now, airlines and other businesses are able to set their own rules, with most leaving mask-wearing optional.

As has often been the case on policy questions about how to deal with the coronavirus outbreak, partisans are far apart in their views on this issue. A large majority of Democrats and independents who lean to the Democratic Party (80 percent) say travelers on airplanes and public transportation should be required to wear masks. By contrast, 71 percent of Republicans and the Republican leaners say travelers should not be required to wear masks. Read the full story from the Pew Research Center.

All U.S. Executives Spot Potential Risks in AI

By Staff
Wednesday, May 18, 2022 9:00 AM In the U.S., 56 percent of executives believe AI technology comes with either significant or somewhat significant potential risk. Another 19 percent view the risk as moderate, while 26 percent think the threat is minimal. No executive surveyed believes AI is entirely without risk.

Executives name cybersecurity as the No. 1 AI-related risk to their organization, but they may be missing the very real threat of algorithmic bias. Most U.S. companies use AI for hiring and people management, but 39 percent of executives said no one at their company is responsible for identifying implicit bias in the tech. 

Meanwhile, 38 percent report their corporate board isn’t fully aware of how the company uses AI, likely exacerbating blind spots about the risks involved.

Smart Traffic Management Systems to Save 205 Million Metric Tons of CO2 by 2027

By Staff
Tuesday, May 17, 2022 12:21 PM A new study from Juniper Research has predicted that global savings in CO2 emissions from smart traffic management systems will be 205 MMT (Million Metric Tons) by 2027; a growth of 41 percent, up from just 145.7 MMT in 2022. This significant saving will be equal to almost twice the CO2 emissions arising from UK domestic transport in 2019. Reducing congestion through optimized traffic control will be the main influencing factor.

Smart Buildings Are on the Rise

By Staff
Monday, May 16, 2022 11:55 AM The number of smart buildings worldwide is projected to climb from 45 million this year to 115 million in 2026, according to a recent post in eMarketer’s Insider Intelligence newsletter. That’s an increase of more than 150 percent, as demand grows for secure, energy-efficient developments. About 90 percent of smart building spending will go to nonresidential properties in 2026, as eMarketer’s Sara Lebow pointed out.

Tweet This: 1 in 5 Americans Say They Use Twitter

By Staff
Friday, May 13, 2022 4:41 PM NEW YORK—While the world waits on Elon Musk’s next move in his effort—or his reversal—to buy the social media platform Twitter, it’s a good time to take a look at 10 important facts about the popular communication tools. And thanks to Pew Research Center, here are a few interesting facts that to know about Twitter—which was founded in 2006—the next time Musk Tweets about his intentions and/or updates the $44 billion bid. 

Indeed, the Pew Research Center this month came up with its “10 Things to Know,” but we’ve gone over the list and identified two of the most interesting. (Read all 10, according to Pew’s list, here, which is based on recent Pew Research Center surveys and other studies.)

Note, there are millions of Americans use Twitter to break and comment on news, disseminate official pronouncements, organize campaigns and protests, or just let their friends know what’s on their minds.

No. 1, Around one-in-five U.S. adults (23 percent) say they use Twitter. This percentage of Americans who Tweet has remained consistent over the past several years and is similar to the share who use Snapchat (25 percent) and WhatsApp (23 percent). But a much larger share of U.S. adults use YouTube (81 percent), Facebook (69 percent) and Instagram (40 percent).

No. 2, A minority of Twitter users produce the vast majority of Tweets. Among U.S. adults who use Twitter, the top 25 percent of users by Tweet volume produce 97 percent of all Tweets, while the bottom 75 percent of users produce just 3 percent, according to an analysis conducted over a three-month period in 2021.

As Cost of Living Rises, Many Around the Globe Worry About Their Financial Future

By Staff
Thursday, May 12, 2022 3:16 PM With the cost of living rising dramatically around the world in 2022, many households are starting to look nervously at their bank balance. After two years of a pandemic which proved particularly bruising for those working in certain industries, rising inflation is now adding insult to injury. 

Of the countries surveyed by Statista for the Global Consumer Survey, Russia stood out the most. There, with extensive international sanctions hitting the economy hard due to the invasion of Ukraine, a majority of 52 percent of the adults surveyed said they are worried about their financial future.

As the Statista infographic shows, South Africa, Brazil and Spain weren't too far behind, registering results in the mid-forties. Roughly a third of adults responding in the U.S., India, Germany and the United Kingdom professed to having concerns about their financial situation going forward. 

As much as Russia stands out at the top of the scale, China is conspicuous in its almost-absence from the ranking—there, just 16 percent said they are currently worried. Click here to read the full story.

Layoffs Are Coming as Companies Focus on Profitability

By Staff
Wednesday, May 11, 2022 2:02 PM A wave of cost-cutting measures, including layoffs and job freezes, is hitting the retail sector, according to eMarketer analyst at Insider Intelligence Zak Stambor. The announcements are coming amid signs of softening consumer demand. April U.S. general merchandise unit sales were 7 percent lower than a year ago, creating a 1 percent decline in sales revenue, according to The NPD Group. The situation has driven retail companies—including GoPuff, Peloton, Thrasio, and Reef—and other tech companies to rethink their staffing levels as the changing economic conditions force them to shift focus to turning a profit.

With consumers flush with cash thanks to fewer ways to spend their money and an influx of stimulus cash, many retail and tech companies experienced a huge boom earlier in the pandemic that drove them to rapidly add staff to keep up with demand. 

When it comes to direct-to-consumer (D2C) e-commerce, where there’s a sharp dichotomy between established brands such as Nike and digitally native brands such as Peloton, Warby Parker, and the retail brands that Amazon aggregators like Thrasio purchase. While digitally native brands used cheap capital to build their businesses, they’re having trouble adapting to the new landscape. 

That helps explain why D2C e-commerce sales of established brands are now growing faster than those of digitally native vertical brands (DNVBs), per eMarketer’s estimate. Last year, established brands grew their D2C e-commerce sales 27.2 percent, significantly outpacing the DNVBs’ 19.8 percent growth rate despite larger baseline comparisons, and that trend is expected to continue in 2022.

Click here to read more about the changes in the workforce landscape for 2022 and beyond.

MyVision Survey Reveals New Insights into How Pandemic Has Affected Consumer Vision Behavior and Attitudes

By Staff
Tuesday, May 10, 2022 12:26 PM The COVID pandemic has led to a growing number of eye issues over the last two years which have been identified in a newly released consumer survey conducted by MyVision.org, a group of expert ophthalmologists and optometrists whose purpose is to provide trusted information on eye health and vision. Yesterday’s Data Feed featured some key findings from MyVision’s survey. Here are some additional highlights.

Driving, in general, is already dangerous, but what MyVision found about drivers with poor eyesight is especially concerning. One out of three drivers say they’ve driven with an outdated eyesight prescription.

MyVision Study Reveals Eye Issues Related to Pandemic

By Staff
Monday, May 9, 2022 12:50 PM The COVID pandemic has led to a growing number of eye issues over the last two years, according to the results of a new consumer survey conducted by MyVision.org, a group of expert ophthalmologists and optometrists whose purpose is to provide trusted information on eye health and vision. The organization polled more than 1,121 people who wear glasses and/or contacts to get feedback on their eye health and eye habits throughout the past few years.

Report: Podcasts Grow in Popularity and Become a ‘Crucial Component’ of Multimedia Ad Campaigns

By Staff
Friday, May 6, 2022 1:22 PM NEW YORK—There was a time, in the not too distant past, that podcasts were viewed as a niche media channel driven by special interests and a few technology trailblazers. But times have changed, and today podcasts—and podcast advertising—are moving to the front of the line in some marketers’ budgets and media plans.

Indeed, eMarketer now forecasts that U.S. podcast ad spending will surpass $2 billion next year and $3 billion by 2026. The research firm, in its recent report on this media channel, said podcasts will account for more than one-quarter of digital audio services ad spending in 2022 and will be more than one-third of spending by the end of 2026.

“Most digital audio monetization will come from recorded music for the foreseeable future, but podcasts’ share of the market has grown so much—and will continue to do so—that it cannot be ignored by marketers,” the firm said in a recent post. “Once relegated to experimental budgets, podcasts are becoming a crucial component of multimedia ad campaigns.”

According to eMarketer, more than one-half of advertisers said they are likely to boost their podcast ad budgets this year (the firm cited a poll of 255 U.S. advertisers conducted by Advertiser Perceptions in August 2021). Almost one-half of these advertisers (46 percent) planned to keep their budgets the same, and just 1 percent planned to reduce podcast ad spending.

Hoya Reports Positive Results From Six-Year MiYoSmart Clinical Study

By Staff
Friday, May 6, 2022 12:24 AM BANGKOK—Hoya Vision Care announced yesterday that it has obtained positive results from a six-year clinical study of its MiYoSmart spectacle lens with Defocus Incorporated Multiple Segments (D.I.M.S.) Technology. The research findings were shared at the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) 2022 conference in Denver, Colo. by Professor Carly Lam from the Centre for Myopia Research at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Professor Lam conducted the research, which is the longest study on a myopia management spectacle lens to date.