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The Wearable Future

May 12, 2015 Comments off

The Wearable Future (PDF)
Source: PricewaterhouseCoopers

There is indeed a wearable future ahead, one that can dramatically alter the landscape of society and business as we know it—and it’s right around the corner. For months, we surveyed consumers and spoke with experts to find out how to navigate the road to the future—exploring the potential benefits as well as the potential drawbacks, understanding why they matter, and how they will deeply shape us as individuals and as a society. Here is a look at some of the strengths and opportunities for wearable tech—and the weaknesses and challenges that enterprising businesses must successfully navigate.

A Digital Single Market for Europe: Commission sets out 16 initiatives to make it happen

May 7, 2015 Comments off

A Digital Single Market for Europe: Commission sets out 16 initiatives to make it happen
Source: European Commission

The Internet and digital technologies are transforming our world – in every walk of life and in every line of business. Europe must embrace the digital revolution and open up digital opportunities for people and businesses. How? By using the power of the EU’s Single Market. Today, the European Commission unveiled its detailed plans to create a Digital Single Market, thereby delivering on one of its top priorities.

At present, barriers online mean citizens miss out on goods and services: only 15% shop online from another EU country; Internet companies and start-ups cannot take full advantage of growth opportunities online: only 7% of SMEs sell cross-border (see Factsheet for more figures). Finally, businesses and governments are not fully benefitting from digital tools. The aim of the Digital Single Market is to tear down regulatory walls and finally move from 28 national markets to a single one. A fully functional Digital Single Market could contribute €415 billion per year to our economy and create hundreds of thousands of new jobs.

The Digital Single Market Strategy adopted today includes a set of targeted actions to be delivered by the end of next year (see Annex). It is built on three pillars: (1) better access for consumers and businesses to digital goods and services across Europe; (2) creating the right conditions and a level playing field for digital networks and innovative services to flourish; (3) maximising the growth potential of the digital economy.

Where Do Americans Usually Shop for Food and How Do They Travel To Get There? Initial Findings from the National Household Food Acquisition and Purchase Survey

April 21, 2015 Comments off

Where Do Americans Usually Shop for Food and How Do They Travel To Get There? Initial Findings from the National Household Food Acquisition and Purchase Survey
Source: USDA Economic Research Service

This report compares food shopping patterns of (1) Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) households to nonparticipant households, (2) participants in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program for Women Infants and Children (WIC) to nonparticipants, and (3) food-insecure to food-secure households.

Consumers and Mobile Financial Services 2015

April 2, 2015 Comments off

Consumers and Mobile Financial Services 2015 (PDF)
Source: Federal Reserve Board

Mobile phones have increasingly become tools that consumers use for banking, payments, budgeting, and shopping. Given the rapid pace of developments in the area of mobile finance, the Federal Reserve Board began conducting annual surveys of consumers’ use of mobile financial services in 2011. The survey examines trends in the adoption and use of mobile banking, payments, and shopping behavior and how the emergence of mobile financial services affects consumers’ interaction with financial institutions.

This report presents findings from the 2014 survey, fielded in December, which focused on consumers’ use of mobile technology to access financial services and make financial decisions. Where applicable, the findings from the current survey are also compared with the findings from the 2011, 2012, and 2013 surveys. Topics include consumer access to bank services using mobile phones (“mobile banking”), consumer payment for goods and services using mobile phones (“mobile payments”), and consumer shopping decisions facilitated by use of mobile phones. Details about the survey, its methodology, and limitations can be found in the body of the report and in a methodological appendix.

USPS OIG — Issue Brief: Letter Carriers: Modern Day Milkmen?

March 9, 2015 Comments off

Issue Brief: Letter Carriers: Modern Day Milkmen?
Source: U.S. Postal Service, Office of Inspector General

Highlights

  • The Postal Service and AmazonFresh are jointly experimenting with grocery delivery — a market set to grow in the near future.
  • Because of its extensive fleet, last mile advantage, and reputation for reliability, the Postal Service could be well-placed to play a key role in this space.
  • There may be opportunities to collaborate with other retailers and producers, create an online shopping mall, or capture different areas of the value chain.
  • The Postal Service needs to continue to experiment now with different strategies if it wants to be an effective player in this growing market, as the number of new entrants is quickly growing.

Colorado Department of Revenue — Marijuana Annual Update 2014

March 3, 2015 Comments off

Marijuana Annual Update 2014
Source: Colorado Department of Revenue

• 833 Retail Establishment Licenses and 1,416 Medical Business Licenses as of December 2014
• Approximately 110% increase in Retail Business Licenses and 6% increase in Medical Business Licenses
• 15,992 Occupational Licenses as of December 2014
• 68% non-renewal rate for Occupational Licenses
• 109,578 pounds of medical marijuana flower sold
• 38,660 pounds of retail flower sold
• 1,964,917 units of medical edible products sold
• 2,850,733 units of retail edible products sold
• Approximately 3,200 MED Due Diligence and Complaint Investigations performed and closed
• 98.2% pass rate for potency tests on edibles
• 99.2% pass rate for homogeneity tests on edibles

House Prices, Local Demand, and Retail Prices

March 2, 2015 Comments off

House Prices, Local Demand, and Retail Prices
Source: Social Science Research Network

We use detailed micro data to document a causal response of local retail prices to changes in house prices, with elasticities of 15%-20% across housing booms and busts. We provide evidence that our results are driven by changes in markups rather than by changes in local costs. We argue that this markup variation arises when increases in housing wealth reduce households’ demand elasticity, and firms raise markups in response. Consistent with this wealth channel, price effects are larger in zip codes with many homeowners, and non-existent in zip codes with mostly renters. In addition, shopping data confirms that house price changes have opposite effects on the price sensitivity of homeowners and renters. Our evidence has implications for monetary, labor and urban economics, and suggests a new source of markup variation in business cycle models.

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