eMarketer forecasts that after two years of subpar growth, 2010 US retail e-commerce sales (excluding travel) will climb to more than $152 billion, up 12.7 percent year over year. This follows the US Census Bureau’s release showing online sales in Q4 2009 grew by 14.6 percent over a year earlier — the biggest gain in eight quarters.
Factory orders rose in February, bolstered by strong demand for industrial machinery and commercial aircraft. It was the 10th increase in 11 months as manufacturing continues to provide crucial support for the nation's economic recovery. Manufacturers, which were hit hard by the recession, are benefiting from overseas orders and increased business spending on capital equipment. Quinlan estimates that factory orders fell by about 25 percent during the recession, but have recovered about one-third of that amount since last spring.
A majority of Americans support ending Saturday mail delivery to help the U.S. Postal Service solve its financial problems, but most oppose shuttering local branches, according to a new Washington Post poll. The public support for moving to five-day delivery might bolster a proposal to end six-day delivery as the mail agency faces declining mail volume and expects at least $238 billion in losses by 2020. Cutting Saturday delivery would save $3.3 billion in the first year and about $5.1 billion by 2020, Postmaster General John E. Potter said Monday. But the changes would mean cutting the equivalent of 40,000 full- and part-time jobs through layoffs and attrition.
How does email and deliverability fit into all this talk of reputation and trust? Each day, email marketers play an important part in building (or degrading) a company's reputation. For example, if email marketers spam or send irrelevant content, this has a negative impact on a company's reputation. And email deliverability affects ROI.
The credit card reform Congress passed last year ended “over limit” penalties –- typically $35 fees applied when cardholders charge more than their credit lines allow -– unless customers opt in. At least for consumers –- not so for business credit cards, which the CARD Act does not regulate at all. Now, with two sets of rules, confusion abounds.
Affluent shoppers have started to spend again. Sales growth for luxury goods companies turned positive in the fourth quarter and has outpaced most other retail products. That's boosted shares of luxury companies such as Switzerland's Compagnie Financière Richemont, maker of Cartier and Montblanc, along with France's LVMH, owner of the Louis Vuitton brand. All areas of retail have benefited from hopes of a sustained economic recovery. But the impact on luxury is turbo-charged. Citigroup's Thomas Chauvet says high-end purchases tend to increase three times as fast as any increase in real global output, although a recessionary environment may reverse this effect.
Teen shoppers are making a comeback. For two months in a row, teen retailers have soared past sales expectations. Notably, Abercrombie & Fitch Co., known for its sexy advertising and casual-but-pricey fashions, snapped its 20-month streak of negative sales with an 8% increase in January. "Whether it be sports equipment, athletic footwear, fashion, electronics, the teen market is showing signs of life and positive growth," said Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst at market research firm NPD Group.
While the recession has certainly nibbled away at the total amount people are willing to spend on products they believe to be green, the environment continues to be a concern for the majority of consumers. New data from market researcher Mintel shows that 35 percent say they will still pay more for "environmentally friendly" products, despite changes in the economy.
Americans' confidence in the economy rebounded in March after a February plunge, but shoppers remain cautious, according to a private research group's monthly survey released Tuesday. The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index rose to 52.5 in March, recovering about half of the nearly 11 points it lost in February. Analysts expected a reading of 50 for March. February's 46.4 marked the lowest level since April 2009 and erased three consecutive months of improvement.
Risk-shy from the recession but anxious for growth, U.S. retailers are expanding internationally at a creep — into Canada. J. Crew Group Inc. is scouting its first non-U.S. locations. Limited Brands Inc. is bringing Victoria's Secret north, and plans to double its Bath & Body Works stores there by year end. Gap Inc. is opening more outlet stores. The border crossings underline a wider dilemma facing CEOs in many industries. Many feel the economy is still too fragile to take big ambitious risks, but they still need to restart growth. Canada offers a baby step: a way to expand internationally, but in a market that's closer and more familiar than Europe or Asia.