Home » Latest News » E-commerce & AI News Flash Collection (May 21): US E-commerce Surge, TikTok’s Popularity in Greece

E-commerce & AI News Flash Collection (May 21): US E-commerce Surge, TikTok’s Popularity in Greece

Acropolis in Athens, Greece


US E-commerce Penetration Hits Record High

In Q1 2024, US e-commerce sales reached a historic high, accounting for 22.2% of total sales. E-commerce sales surged to nearly $270 billion, an 8.5% increase from Q1 2023’s $247.18 billion. This quarter marked the fastest e-commerce growth since Q1 2020, driven by price-sensitive shoppers seeking the best deals online amidst inflation concerns. The US Department of Commerce reported total retail sales of $1.82 trillion for Q1 2024, with e-commerce making up a significant portion. Despite a typical post-holiday season dip, e-commerce sales still grew faster than total retail sales year-over-year.

Walmart’s Strong Q1 Performance

Walmart reported impressive Q1 earnings with a six percent year-over-year increase in revenue, reaching one hundred and sixty one billion dollars. Operating profit grew by nine point six percent to six point eight billion dollars, with notable performance in the Chinese market, where sales rose by sixteen point two percent and e-commerce sales by 23%. US e-commerce sales grew by 22%, and global e-commerce sales by 21%, with delivery services surpassing in-store pickups. US transaction volume increased by 3.8%, and international sales surged by 12.1%, exceeding analyst expectations. Sam’s Club sales also saw a four point six percent rise, driven by a 5.4% increase in transaction volume.

Lowe’s Q1 2024 Earnings Decline

Lowe’s reported a 4.3% decrease in Q1 2024 sales, totaling $22.35 billion, down from $23.4 billion the previous year. Comparable sales also fell by 4.3%, affected by lower consumer spending and adverse weather conditions. Despite the decline, CEO Marvin Ellison remains optimistic, citing a rebound in DIY projects and solid demand for professional services. Lowe’s earnings per share were three point six seven dollars, slightly exceeding Wall Street expectations of three point six one. The company reaffirmed its full-year guidance, expecting sales between $88 billion and $90 billion.

Macy’s Q1 2024 Performance

Macy’s experienced a challenging Q1 2024, with net sales dropping by nearly 7% to $4.98 billion compared to $5.34 billion in Q1 2023. The retailer attributed the decline to a reduction in consumer discretionary spending and inventory issues. Despite this, Macy’s reported adjusted earnings per share of point five six dollars, beating analysts’ expectations of $0.45. CEO Jeff Gennette emphasized efforts to streamline operations, manage inventory more effectively, and enhance the customer shopping experience. Macy’s maintained its full-year sales forecast of $23.7 billion to $24.2 billion.


French E-commerce Boost from French Days Sale

The 2024 French Days sale significantly boosted France’s e-commerce market, with sales during April 30-May 7 accounting for 2.3% of the past year’s total sales, a point six percent year-over-year increase. Despite limited purchasing power, French consumers responded well to discounts, with average spending rising to €57, up by €2 from the previous year. Across Europe, e-commerce sales in April grew by 5%, although the growth rate was uneven. Home goods saw increased market share in Germany, Spain, and Italy, while fashion and high-tech sectors continued to decline. Home goods were the only category to grow among the top 20% of European online consumers.

TikTok’s Popularity in Greece

TikTok has captivated over 3.5 million users in Greece, with sixty seven percent of users aged 25 and older. Its popularity surged during the pandemic as people sought new forms of entertainment and social interaction. A survey by Humble revealed that while Instagram remains Greece’s top social media platform, TikTok has overtaken Facebook and is especially popular among the 13-24 age group. Notably, 34.1% of users aged 25-34 also prefer TikTok. High user engagement is evident, with significant daily usage and 29% of users purchasing products seen on TikTok, highlighting its potential as a marketing platform.

Indonesia’s Growing Cosmetics Market

Indonesia’s cosmetics market is poised for significant growth, driven by social media and e-commerce penetration. Global Data predicts the market will reach IDR 105.1 trillion (six point five six billion dollars) in 2023, with skincare being the fastest-growing segment at a nine point six percent annual growth rate. Despite the rise of new brands, local brands lag behind international counterparts in market share. Unilever’s Pond’s leads with 13.4%, followed by local brand Wardah at nearly 9,7%. The market is characterized by intense competition among brands from Europe, the US, Japan, Korea, China, and local brands, with Korean brands particularly popular among young consumers.

Alibaba’s $230 Million Investment in Lazada

On May 20, Alibaba injected $230 million into its Southeast Asian e-commerce platform Lazada, marking its first investment in Lazada for 2024. This follows Alibaba’s substantial $1.8 billion investment in 2023, aimed at countering competition from Shein and Temu. With cumulative investments exceeding $7.4 billion, Alibaba is reinforcing Lazada’s position against regional rivals like Shopee and TikTok Shop. This financial boost is expected to enhance Lazada’s competitive edge in the rapidly growing Southeast Asian e-commerce market.


Snapchat’s AI and Machine Learning Investments

Snap, the parent company of Snapchat, is ramping up investments in AI and machine learning to enhance user experiences. These investments aim to create more engaging AR features and improve ad monetization. Collaborating with industry leaders like Amazon and Google, Snap plans to invest $0.83-$0.85 per daily active user each quarter from Q2 to Q4 2024. With a rebound in its ad business and a significant increase in small-to-medium brand advertisers, Snap forecasts $2.07 billion in US ad revenue for 2024. This includes the launch of My AI chatbot and sponsored AR filters, positioning Snap for continued growth in the AI space.

Hollywood Agency Partners with AI Firm to Protect Celebrity Likenesses

A leading Hollywood talent agency has partnered with an AI firm to safeguard the digital likenesses of celebrities. This collaboration aims to address unauthorized use of celebrity images and voices in AI-generated content. The partnership will deploy advanced AI technologies to monitor and enforce the rights of celebrities, ensuring their likenesses are used only with proper authorization. This move reflects the growing concern over the misuse of AI in the entertainment industry and the need for robust measures to protect intellectual property.

Anthropic Launches Chatbot Claude in Europe

Amazon-backed AI startup Anthropic has launched its chatbot Claude in Europe. Claude, designed to rival OpenAI’s ChatGPT, aims to provide advanced conversational AI capabilities with a focus on safety and reliability. The launch follows Anthropic’s significant funding round, which included investment from Amazon. Claude is built to handle complex interactions while minimizing risks associated with AI use, making it suitable for various applications across industries. The European launch is part of Anthropic’s strategy to expand its global footprint and compete in the burgeoning AI market.

Microsoft Introduces AI Copilot for PCs

Microsoft has unveiled its AI Copilot for PCs, integrated into the latest Windows devices. These new PCs, touted as the fastest and smartest yet, leverage advanced AI to enhance user productivity and efficiency. The AI Copilot offers features such as real-time language translation, intelligent task management, and personalized user experiences. This innovation aligns with Microsoft’s vision of creating more intuitive and powerful computing solutions. The AI Copilot aims to transform the way users interact with their devices, making everyday tasks more seamless and efficient.

Neuralink, the brain-computer interface company founded by Elon Musk, has received FDA approval to implant its device in a second patient. The first patient, who recently shared his emotional journey, described significant improvements in his quality of life following the implant. The FDA’s approval marks a critical milestone for Neuralink, paving the way for further clinical trials and potential future commercialization. Neuralink’s technology aims to help patients with severe neurological conditions by enabling direct communication between the brain and external devices.

OpenAI’s ChatGPT Sky and Scarlett Johansson’s Voice

OpenAI has announced a new feature for its ChatGPT, called Sky, which includes the voice of actress Scarlett Johansson. This feature enables users to interact with the chatbot using natural speech, offering a more engaging and lifelike experience. The inclusion of Johansson’s voice is part of OpenAI’s effort to humanize AI interactions and make them more relatable. The initiative highlights the increasing integration of celebrity voices in AI applications, raising questions about the ethical use of such technologies and the need for consent and protection of personal likenesses.

Was this article helpful?

About The Author

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top