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Wal-Mart and the Last Stand of Retail

As has been smashing sales and stock price records, destroying entire retail verticals in the process, traditional brick-and-mortar retailers spent the last decade battling to remain relevant, in what sometimes appears as a battle lost before it began. Many predict 2017 will be the year when many traditional retailers close their doors for good. As more and more smaller retailers go out of business or consolidate through mergers and acquisitions, Amazon's march to retail domination will inevitably end up with a showdown with the largest traditional retailers, headed by Wal-Mart. Wal…

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From Cord to Stream

It's a familiar story: for the last decade or so, cable and satellite TV providers have been losing subscribers, as "cord cutters" shift their spending from traditional TV to on-demand streaming services like Netflix and Hulu. But is that really what's happening? We used our panel of over 3 million credit and debit cards to find out. We compared three groups of customers: 1. "Cord cutters": those who were cable/satellite customers in the first half of 2016 (spent $300 or more) and then stopped being cable/satellite customers in the second half of 2016 (spent $100 or less) 2. Consistent cable…

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Dead Trees Make Great Gifts!

Were e-books really the death of Dead Tree books or are we always going to crave the sensation of turning a real page and hearing the sound of the paper rustle? And consequently, are brick-and-mortar booksellers dying, unable to provide the immediate gratification of buying an e-book online? We've used our panel of over 3 million credit and debit cards in the U.S. to track spending on Amazon Kindle vs. Barnes & Noble. In 2016, Amazon Kindle (books, newspapers/magazines and Kindle Unlimited subscriptions combined) showed substantially more transactions than Barnes & Noble did: The seam…

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Instant Delivery Wars

We looked at our panel of over 3 million credit and debit card accounts to learn how the instant delivery services stack up. Over the last 13 months, Instacart and Amazon Prime Now achieved the fastest growth, with Instacart growing revenue by almost 2X and Amazon Prime Now growing revenue by a whopping 5X: Amazon Prime Now was able to overtake Instacart in terms of number of unique customers, growing its customer base by over 4X: The average Instacart customer, however, spends much more than the average Prime Now customer, though both numbers appear to be growing:…

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The Jet Engine that Could

Wal-Mart is reportedly in talks to buy, a billion dollar start internet retailer challenging Jet, barely a year old, has drawn more than $500 million in capital from the likes of venture firms New Enterprise Associates and Accel Partners, mutual-fund company Fidelity Investments and bank Goldman Sachs Group Inc. The funding, and a valuation over $1 billion, are massive sums for a company facing the prospect of years of losses and an uphill climb to draw loyal users. Jet projected it would burn through hundreds of millions of dollars in its first few years, spending much o…

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