The first time we mentioned HMV on Engadget was back in 2009, when the British retailer discounted the PSP Go — ironically, one of the earliest devices to do away with disc-shaped media. As the picture above shows though, HMV’s history goes back much further than that. Its first store opened in 1921 under an elaborate neon sign featuring the company’s emblem of a dog listening to a gramophone beneath the words “His Master’s Voice.”
Fast forward to today and the old-school seller has suffered gravely from the same online shift that has affected many others. It has called in administrators after failing to negotiate new terms over its bank debt, and unless a buyer steps up to take over the chain’s 240 stores then as many as 4,350 people will be let go.
According to Metro, the many HMV gift vouchers that would have been given and received over Christmas are now effectively “worthless.” On the other hand, the British personal finance guru Martin Lewis reckons gift vouchers shouldn’t be thrown away as they may be redeemable one day, or there may be a chargeback option if they were purchased with a credit card.
[Image credit: London Express / Getty Images]
Assuming you were a non-naughty-lister who didn’t get the proverbial coal lump, it looks like that gift under the tree was more likely a tablet than a phone this No
comScore’s numbers also reflect a growing population of smartphone users — for the 3-month period ending in November, 91.4 million people owned smartphones, up 8% from the previous 3-month period.
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Apple and Google activated a record breaking number of mobile devices this Christmas, according to Flurry analytics, which delivers mobile analytics to developers. Flurry has 140,000 apps running its software, and believes it can track every new Android or iOS device activated.
Between December 1 and 20, 1.5 million Android and iOS devices were activated daily on average. On Christmas day, a record breaking 6.8 million devices were activated, a 353% increase over the rest of the month. It’s also much better than 2010, when 2.8 million devices were activated.
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Two insights from this chart:
1. people buy watches for Christmas
2. overall search volume has been on the decline consistently for years
3. only watch brands which are mainly watches (vs Cartier which also makes jewelry, etc.) and also not generic words (e.g. omega) are detectable
Watch brands which are generic words like “omega” or “citizen” are hard to distinguish from the search volume for the generic word.
When people shop for luxury goods like Tiffany, jewelry, rings, etc.- Christmas, Valentines, and Mother’s Day, respectively.
Is it a good idea to try to sell your house in the winter? (probably not)
When the government’s “cash for clunkers” was launched (August 2009)
Whether people are getting more involved in their personal finance? (looks like it)
Whether people think the economy has turned around? (probably not yet)
Chocolate covered cherries are more popular (more searched) at Christmas; but chocolate covered strawberries are more popular at Valentines. By observing what people pull for, we can derive insights that are useful in business strategy, inventory planning, and marketing (by ads around chocolate covered strawberries for valentines but cherries for christmas)
Source: Google External Keyword Tool – Search Volume Trends
via Niall McKinney, uTalk Marketing. At Valentines, women need more help picking gifts (search volume for “gifts for guys” consistently higher every February for the past 5 years). But “gifts for girls” shows dramatically higher volume every Christmas.
this is on Fifth Avenue between 43rd and 44th streets in New York City.
In thinking about retail … this helps illustrate the tremendous challenges they face.
- online switching costs are pretty much zero — just type another URL; these two stores are physically touching — just walk next door
- they carry much of the same inventory from plasma TVs to computers to home stereo equipment to software, CDs, DVDs, etc.
- they both sell Apple iPods; consumers have already decided to buy an iPod for Christmas (for some reason), which store do they walk into? what differentiates the store with the blue awning from the one with silver letters? they both have “black friday” discounts but the price ended up to be about $1 from each other; both have geeks on staff, one called Geek Squad and the other Fire Dog
- and then there’s Amazon.com which is tax free and offers free 2nd day shipping.
THIS is a challenging marketing problem for retailers such as the ones pictured!
Dr. Augustine Fou is Digital Consigliere to marketing executives, advising them on digital strategy and Unified Marketing(tm). Dr Fou has over 17 years of in-the-trenches, hands-on experience, which enables him to provide objective, in-depth assessments of their current marketing programs and recommendations for improving business impact and ROI using digital insights.
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