eMarketer: 5 Million New Online Shoppers Due to COVID-19

Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, e-commerce has seen an uptick as traditional retail shuttered or reduced normal operations to help curb the spread of the virus.

New data from eMarketer estimates that more than 204 million people ages 14 and older will make an online purchase in 2020 — two-thirds of which will be 45 and older. The updated forecast, which factors in the pandemic’s effects, anticipates a 5.8% increase in the number of digital buyers 45 and older, up from 3.2%. This equates to nearly 5 million new users.

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In separate surveys conducted Feb. 28 and March 17, baby boomers said they had shifted their shopping to online in the three-week span. In the March poll, roughly 23% of boomers said they had been shopping more online due to the pandemic, considerably more than the 8% of respondents in February.

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In a separate Salesforce survey during the first two weeks of May, 28% of baby boomers said they had used contactless delivery more than usual, followed by self-checkout options (23%) and click-and-collect (23%).

And an April 2020 GlobalWebIndex study found that 31% of U.S. Internet users ages 16 to 64 said they will shop online more frequently after the pandemic ends, and 30% expect to visit stores less frequently.

“While we expect some shopping habits to return to normal post-pandemic, it’s likely that consumers who have tried online shopping for the first time will stick with it, at least for occasional purchases,” Cindy Liu, author of the report, wrote in an online post.

Yahoo! Opens Paris Production Facility for Original Mobile Content

Verizon Media subsidiary Yahoo! has opened a production facility, Ryot Studio, in Paris aimed at creating original content for mobile device distribution in France.

With about 13 million unique monthly visitors and 5 million active users, Yahoo! France believes the studio will help create content specific to the local and regional market.

Designed to look like kitchen/living room, the studio features a series of interchangeable decors aimed at making video content totally different from TV shows.

The facility is adding staff across technical, production, presentation, program management, while Verizon Media expands its social media teams.

“I created a team composed of talents, strong personalities, each capable of bringing their universe, and to share it freely,” Alexandre Delperier, senior director and head of content for Yahoo! France, said in a statement. “We claim a different, creative, even playful approach, whether it is information, entertainment or sports. And this tool will allow us to gain even more responsiveness.”

The studio represents a forward move for Verizon, which has had little over-the-top video success in the United States. The telecom last year wrote off almost $1 billion in losses from the failed Go90 ad-supported mobile app targeting younger consumers on their cellphone.

Yahoo! France hopes to reverse the trend.

“We have a true role to play in the media landscape, not only as an aggregator but also as a content producer of our own formats,” Delperier said.

The studio will also offer third-party content, including political shows, news, NBA, tennis and soccer.

“This studio will serve both our editorial ambitions and the enrichment of our advertising offer,” said Erik-Marie Bion, VP, Verizon Media France and Germany. “We will be able to offer our customers new formats and user experiences.”

NBC Universal Launches User-Incentivized OTT Video Streaming Service

As expected, NBC Universal has launched an over-the-top video streaming service that rewards users for watching content.

Dubbed “WatchBack,” the marketing app targets mobile phone users with free access to new-release TV shows and related social media topics.

To stream content, users must register and generate a profile on the app. After watching entire episodes of NBC-related (i.e. NBC, Fandango, Bravo, E!, Access Hollywood, and CNBC, among others) content, users are automatically entered in a sweepstakes to win $100.

“The long-term goal of WatchBack is to make it just a little easier for consumers to try out new programs for the first time and create fans for us and our partners,” Andrew Hanna, VP of insights and strategy at NBC Universal The Hollywood Reporter.

The app mirrors Verizon’s short-lived go90 streaming app that attempted to meld younger mobile consumers with target original content. Go90 lasted less than three years, generated about $1 billion in losses for Verizon, and left a stain on former chairman/CEO Lowell McAdam’s legacy.