November: good month, bad month

November: good month, bad month

Retail Technology Innovation Hub takes a look at the retail technology space during November and rounds up the winners and losers

Good month for…

The 10th anniversary of the biggest shopping day on the planet did not disappoint. Alibaba reported that Singles’ Day 2018 generated a record $30.8 billion (last year's final tally was $25.3 billion). 

Transaction volume on reached a record RMB 159.8 billion (approximately $23 billion) from 1st to 11th November, during its Singles’ Day shopping festival.

Starbucks ended its fiscal year on a high note. Total sales rose by 10.6% for the fourth quarter, supported by a healthy uplift of 7.9% in the Americas. Same-store sales growth in the US was similarly robust, rising by 4% - the best outcome in over a year. 

Clothing and footwear spend via pureplays is set to soar 67.4% over the next five years, hitting £7.5 billion in 2023, according to GlobalData.

Sainsbury’s reported that like-for-like sales rose 0.6% in the half-year to September, despite an "extremely competitive" market.

After years of hype but very little action, the uptake of mobile payments such as Apple, Google and Android Pay in the UK has quadrupled over the last 24 months, according to Cardlytics data based on 190 million transactions made by 6.4 million bank customers.

As a proportion of total payments, mobile transactions in the UK have jumped from 1.3% in Q3 2016 to 5.6% in Q3 2018. Compared to this time last year, they have increased by 60%. Still pretty niche then, but heading in the right direction.

AI-powered customer engagement platform, Personify XP, announced undisclosed seed investment from Hawes & Curtis founder and Dragon’s Den star, Touker Suleyman.

Grocery delivery venture Instacart has pulled in an extra $271 million in funding from investors including US hedge fund Tiger Global Management. This brings its latest round of fund raising to $871 million.

Bed-in-a-box brand, Emma Mattress, turned in record European sales over Black Friday, posting order volumes of over €5 million over the weekend. 

Blockchain in retail’s market value will be 29 times higher in 2023 than 2018, rising from $80 million to more than $2.3 billion.

Bad month for…

Marks & Spencer faced a social media backlash for a Nottingham store window display that suggested women must have ‘fancy little knickers’.

Black Friday enthusiasts£1.49 billion was spent with UK online retailers on Black Friday, up 7.3% on the same day last year, according to the IMRG. This was, however, substantially below its original forecast of +13.2%.

The GMB union staged Black Friday protests against the 'inhuman conditions' people work under at Amazon UK warehouses. The e-commerce giant’s workers in Italy and Spain also went out on strike for 24 hours on the same day.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said that PayPal’s takeover of Swedish startup iZettle could lead to higher prices or reduce the range of services for customers. 

The jury’s out on…

Costa Coffee has launched the UK’s first reusable contactless coffee cup, powered by Barclaycard’s bPay technology.

Patrick Byrne, Founder and CEO of Overstock, is looking to sell the retail arm of his company in the next few months and devote his time to blockchain projects.

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Top 10: last week’s most popular retail technology articles

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