January 28th, 2008 |
Apple has just announced the launch of iTunes Latino, a special section on the iTunes store featuring Regional Mexicano, Pop Latino, Alternativo, Rock, Reggaeton y Hip-Hop, and other Latino genres. iTunes is treating this new section like a new store featuring all the goodies you would expect including Latino celebrity playlists, music videos, and essentials. Additionally, you will find Spanish-language audiobooks, TV shows, and podcasts.
Link: iTunes Latino
December 6th, 2006 |
Looks like Microsoft’s much maligned Zune may have done better this week than most of us expected. During it’s launch week, the Zune captured a 9% market share and a 13% dollar spent share in the portable media player market. These numbers may not seem high (consider iPod dominated at 63% and 72.5%) but they do mean that for this initial period, the Zune became the number 2 device behind the iPod. Before Microsoft execs pop the Champagne, they should remember that this was the product launch week so interest and promotions gave the product a boost.
If you’re interested in buying a Zune, so far it appears as if eCost wins the price battle with the brown and black Zunes in stock for $233.99 and the white Zune for $229.99. Don’t forget to use and get another $10 off. Amazon is a close second with all three colors selling for $239.99.
November 30th, 2006 |
According to The National Retail Federation, Black Friday brought both good news and bad news for retailers. While “only” 140 million people shopped in stores or online this past holiday weekend (including Friday), shoppers spent more than last year. The 58.9 million shoppers for Black Friday itself was actually a million less than in 2005. But, the average shopper spent $360.15 this year, representing an 18.9 percent jump from last year.
Electronics seem to be a big mover this year with flat screen TVs (plasmas and LCDs) finally reaching a more acceptable price range. Where once these products were reserved for the few willing to spend several thousand for high quality brands, today’s prices have moderated significantly and low-cost lesser-brand products are flooding stores from Wal-Mart to Best Buy. While supplies for desirable products such as the TMX Elmo and the recently launched Sony Playstation 3 and Nintendo Wii were small, many people went to stores hoping to find one only to walk out with other products.
We wonder whether the increased spending will actually translate to higher profits for retailers. As we previously noted, disappointing sales early in the year (likely driven by economic slowdown and gas prices) pushed many retailers to offer more and deeper discounts in hopes of resurrecting their annual numbers. Low prices may increase sales but smaller margins won’t help the bottom line.
Photo by Flickr user cerealfan
November 27th, 2006 |
Interesting story in the Washington Post about a strategy shift at Wal-Mart. After slow October sales (0.5% increase) and expectation of flat November sales, the company is likely to return to basics by focusing on low prices rather than variety and what could be considered innovation.
At the root of this problem is a cultural issue. The company’s core customers remain middle to lower income households, many in rural parts of the country where the super-sized Wal-Mart has always been the low-cost catchall store. With high gas prices and flat wages, lower-income households have less to spend. The company didn’t help its cause by introducing trendier items, such as its Metro7 clothing line, which failed to catch on in 900 rural “heartland” stores. Wal-Mart‘s CFO said it best: “We’re continuing to work longer-term to improve the balance between fashion and core essentials in our stores.”
So what does that mean for shoppers? Expect major discounts on brand name products in the upcoming weeks leading up to “Black Friday”. The article sites examples of price slashes such as “Dora the Explorer Talking Kitchen” being reduced from $89.94 to $65 and a “Fisher-Price Power Wheels Cadillac Escalade Ride-On Truck” dropping from $279.37 to $249. Finally, Wal-Mart is back to emphasizing its Rollback which have long been a symbol of discounted merchandise.
November 3rd, 2006 |
After years of creating sleek black, grey, and white products, we recently noticed that Sony added color options to several lines of cameras and TVs. Now we know why.
Sony‘s latest marketing campaign focuses on what they’re calling My Style, where you pick from one of four color/personality combos which then promotes LCD TVs, laptops, headphones, MP3 players, and digital cameras all of which are in a design and style that matches the personality.
The four personalities are:
- Yellow – Described as “Contemporary culture, music and urban trends”. For this style, Sony is promoting high quality silver and black devices and cameras along with a Vaio laptop painted in yellow and red.
- Red – “Eye-catching patterns and a palette of colors to express my many moods”. Pink and red digital cameras and flowery designs.
- Green – “Rich or pastel colors, and simple, elegant patterns and shapes”. Classic silver and black products with some pastel colored MP3 players and laptops.
- Blue – “Streamlined functionality featuring modern or retro shapes and colors”. Black, blue, and silver products with very elegant and clean lines.
Again, the promoted products are all essentially the same, it’s really about the look of the various devices. I suspect this means that we should expect Sony to issue more styling options to its products. When you buy an LCD, for example, you will be able to pick a bezel color so you can match your style. It is also an attempt to push individuality, suggesting that there’s a Sony product to match various people.
We’ll keep track and see how far they take this campaign and we will of course update you on any developments.
Link: Sony My Style
September 26th, 2006 |