Mastercard CEO: Pandemic Spiked E-commerce 20% in 2020

E-commerce isn’t new. Shopping online has been in vogue with the arrival of Amazon and free second-day shipping. But with a pandemic leading consumers to question crowded malls and in-store transactions, the e-commerce alternative with curbside pickup helped spike online revenue 20% in 2020 from 2019, according to Mastercard CEO Michael Miebach.

Mastercard CEO Michael Miebach

Pre-pandemic industry estimates had pegged e-commerce to grow by about 16.5%. Mastercard said that from Oct. 11 through Dec. 24 online sales grew 49% compared with 2019.

Speaking Jan. 12 on the virtual CES 2021, Miebach said he doubted consumer in-store retail patterns would return to pre-pandemic trends even with a vaccine.

“Years of digital acceleration have been kind of compressed into months,” Miebach said. “That’s a seismic shift.”

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

The executive said that going forward consumers would likely continue purchasing online due to the steps taken by retailers and Amazon, among others, to make purchasing as easy as a few clicks — with free shipping. Miebach said consumers would return to stores for product advice before making a purchase.

“If you want to go to a shop and you’re going to talk, you get great advice from the guy that you know in your — in your local town,” he said. “But repeatable purchases where you don’t really have any advantage by being in a shop, why wouldn’t you do what you just started to learn throughout the crisis? So about two-thirds will retain. That’s our view.”

CES: China’s TCL to Launch More-Affordable 8K Televisions

Next-generation 8K high-definition televisions have been around for a while, typically priced out of reach of a consumer indifferent to a marginally (compared with 4K UHD) improved display screen in a market with scant 8K content (movies an TV shows) available.

China’s TCL is looking to change consumers’ attitudes to 8K with an upcoming slate of 6-series Roku televisions (reportedly priced less than $2,000) with big screens, improved operating system, LED-backlit and AiPQ advanced picture engine, among other features.

TCL is also bowing a series of 85-inch televisions in 4K UHD with Roku model, a more expensive QLED unit, and 8K model with OD Zero Mini-LED lighting.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

In addition to making 8K more accessible, TCL will debut The XL Collection — the company’s first lineup of 85-inch displays. Three different models will make up the XL Collection this year and each 85-inch TV will feature performance levels for every kind of home theater. From a simply smart 85-inch 4-Series TCL Roku TV that delivers the easiest way to enjoy 4K HDR streaming and an 85-inch 4K HDR TCL Roku TV with QLED picture quality to the ultimate 85-inch mini-LED powered 8K TCL TV with QLED wide color technology, the XL Collection will fit any budget and exceed the highest performance standards to deliver larger-than-life home entertainment.

“Last year was a unique one for TCL, but through it all, the team never lost sight of its goal to become America’s preferred consumer electronics brand and maintain its status — the number two selling brand of television in the United States,” Chris Larson, SVP of TCL, said in a statement. “While our TVs are getting bigger, better, brighter and more accessible, our other categories like audio, mobile phones and home appliances continue to thrive as well.”

CES: Sony Touts Games’ Expanding Movie/Streaming Presence

In the wake of last November’s launch of the next-generation PlayStation 5 video game system, Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE) used Sony Corp.’s annual (and virtual) CES media presentation to showcase PlayStation’s expanded foray into film and TV with a diversity of stories.

As with much of Hollywood, PlayStation, along with Sony Pictures Entertainment, pushed back most of its new original content releases to 2021 and beyond due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

In addition to continued development of the “Spider-Man” franchise, two PS properties eyeing both theatrical and episodic TV adaptations in 2021 include Uncharted, featuring Tom Holland (Spider-Man: Homecoming) as a live-action young Nathan Drake and Mark Wahlberg as Victor Sullivan. The film is now set to release on July 16. Separately, Sony Pictures Television and HBO are creating a limited series around the video game The Last of Us for subscription streaming platform HBO Max.

The studio also has a partnership with Hivemind Productions (creator of Netflix’s “The Witcher”) for a live-action adaption of the Final Fantasy XIV series games.

“This is just the beginning of the expansion of our storytelling into new media and even wider audiences,” Jim Ryan, president/CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment, said in a video clip. “Sony is a creative entertainment company and entertainment has never been more important. Our community are networked like never before and are more diverse than they have ever been. And we celebrate and embrace the differing viewpoints and tastes that make up our community.”

Indeed, Sony Pictures CEO Tony Vinciquerra last month announced that the studio was working on three movies and seven TV shows based on PlayStation games, including the recent actioner Monster Hunter, starring Mila Jovovich and Tony Jaa.

“You’ll be seeing a lot more integration of Sony companies together in the future,” Vinciquerra told CNBC.

LG to Bow QNED Mini LED TVs at Virtual CES

LG Electronics will introduce its first-ever QNED Mini LED TVs at the virtual CES 2021 as part of its 2021 premium LCD TV lineup.

The 2021 lineup includes 10 new 4K and 8K models covering screen sizes of up to 86 inches.

“As the first TVs to combine quantum dot and NanoCell technology in one product, LG QNED Mini LED TVs produce incredibly accurate colors while the advanced LED backlight offers better contrast and deeper blacks for images of exceptional vibrancy and realism,” according to the press release.

The TVs have a refresh rate of up to 120Hz, according to the company.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

LG’s Mini LED backlighting comprises up to almost 30,000 tiny LEDs that produce a contrast ratio of 1,000,000:1 when paired with up to 2,500 dimming zones and advanced local dimming technology for the 86-inch 8K QNED.

“Our new QNED Mini LED series is a premium home entertainment option that expands and improves the LCD TV space and gives consumers another terrific viewing choice,” Nam Ho-jun, SVP of R&D at LG’s Home Entertainment Company, said in a statement. “These TVs deliver an experience that set them apart from other LCD TVs and speak to our commitment to innovation and pushing the standard forward.”

LG’s 86-inch 8K QNED TV will be on display in LG’s virtual exhibition booth during CES 2021 starting Jan. 11.

CES 2021: Expanding Digital Reach, Limiting Physical Contact

This much is (sorta) for sure: the Consumer Technology Association’s annual CES confab is slated for early January in Las Vegas as it has been for decades. In 2020 more than 175,000 industry professionals, including more than 61,000 from outside the U.S., convened in Vegas to drive the ever-evolving global technology industry forward. The 2021 show is slated for Jan. 6-9.

But in the COVID-19 era, experiencing overhyped CE products like a sardine in a can could be a recipe for disaster. With CE tech enabling millions of people to work and be entertained in the home, so too can learning about the newest QLED 8K television.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

“We will showcase our exhibitors’ products, technology breakthroughs and ideas to the world, both physically in Las Vegas and digitally,” CTA said in a statement. “You can expect to see a wider selection of livestreamed CES content, along with many other engaging digital and virtual opportunities, enabling you to connect with the world’s leading technology innovators, thought leaders and policymakers.”

Follow us on Instagram

How much of that connection will be done in person remains to be seen. While business as usual is a priority for CTA and the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, both trade groups have implemented new policies to safeguard attendees and workers from the threat of the coronavirus.

Cleanliness and sanitization will be first and foremost a priority across the show venues to better enable social distancing, including widening aisles in many exhibit areas and providing more space between seats in conference programs and other areas where attendees congregate. Attendees and exhibitors will be encouraged to wear masks and avoid shaking hands.

CTA said it plans to limit touch points throughout the facilities, including through cashless systems for purchases and transactions. It is also considering employing contactless thermal scans at key venue entry points, in addition to providing enhanced on-site access to health service and medical aid.

“We will highlight technologies … for some of the day-to-day challenges created by the pandemic,” CTA said. “We believe events such as CES that bring thought leaders and innovators together to solve these challenges will be more important than ever.”