Groupon shocks with fourth quarter net loss
Groupon has surprised investors and media commentators by announcing a fourth quarter net loss.
The discount subscription service has this week revealed its fourth quarter 2011 financial results, which show that overall revenue was up 194 per cent year-on-year and operating income was $150 million (£94.5 million), up from a $333.6 million (£211.7 million) loss during the corresponding period of 2010.
However, despite some positive statistics, the internet merchant account has confounded expectations by chalking up a net loss of $42.7 million (£26.9 million) in the final three months of 2011.
The loss has been blamed on ambitious international expansion and the creation of a new overseas headquarters in Switzerland.
US games market ‘doubled since 2008′
The US games market has doubled since 2008, according to a new report from Parks Associates.
Figures show that there are now 135 million Americans playing games for at least an hour a month, compared to 56 million four years ago.
Gamers were found to have been attracted by free-to-play games, which attract online payments through in-game purchases, rather than through one-off fees.
The increased ownership of tablet devices was also shown to have contributed significantly to the rapid rise in video game playing.
Amazon ‘considers expanding subscription-based videos’
Amazon could be about to expand its subscription-based video content, allowing it to join the ranks of Netflix and Hulu, which have popularised on-demand video streaming.
The ecommerce retailer currently offers a member-based instant video plan, however Reuters reports that a potential partnership with Viacom could lead to a huge web video deal.
Viacom owns several major TV networks, including Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, VH1, MTV and an extensive collection of films from over 160 TV networks worldwide.
The collaboration has yet to be confirmed, however it would allow Amazon to compete in this rapidly growing industry.
Safer Internet Day hits Europe
Europe welcomed the annual Safer Internet Day on Tuesday February 7th.
The day was marked by more than 100 events in 30 European countries and was designed to promote safer internet access for children and young people.
Tuesday’s event is part of the Digital Agenda for Europe, which works with leading companies and children’s organisation to protect children and young people from unsuitable content.
Issues discussed on the day included parental control, content classification and age restrictions.
Zeus malware ‘threatening to intercept online banking‘
Leading IT security specialists have discussed the growing threat of Zeus malware and the threat it poses to online money transfer.
Speaking on the BBC Click programme, Phil Lieberman, chief executive officer of Lieberman Software, explained: “You think you are talking to the bank but you are really talking to Zeus, and Zeus is talking to your bank instead.”
He claimed that Zeus was acting like a middle man in online money transfers, depositing money gained from intercepting the transaction process.
Online shopping causing demise of UK high street
The rising popularity of online shopping is contributing to the continuing demise of the UK high street.
This is the conclusion of a report by the Local Data Company (LDC), which claimed that the number of empty shops on British high streets will continue to rise during 2012.
It argues that this is due to rising unemployment, weak consumer confidence and ultimately a huge growth in online shopping.
Director of LDC Matthew Hopkinson confirmed that the rise in shopping online was largely to blame.
“Technology is driving consumer behaviour to a world of engagement, entertainment and the ability to shop where, how and when we like,” he explained.
Online shopping growing in US
Online shopping is continuing to grow in the US, according to USA Today.
The newspaper claims that the rising number of multichannel internet merchant accounts was helping to contribute to rising consumer engagement and take-up of online shopping platforms.
However, it argued that it still only accounted for less than ten per cent of actual retail sales, suggesting that as consumers become more informed about buying online they are also becoming choosier when it comes to parting with their cash.
One way high street retailers in the states are integrating the online experience is through tablet devices in-store, it went on to describe.
Are tablets improving UK online sales?
Tablet users are more likely to buy products online via their device than smartphone users, according to Nielsen.
In a survey conducted by the market research firm, ten per cent of tablet users revealed that they had shopped online with their device, compared to seven per cent of smartphone users.
Tablet users were also found to respond better to advertisements, finding them more enticing and memorable than users of smartphones, partly due to their larger screens.
European managing director of telecoms practice at Nielsen, Dave Gosen told Total Telecom that searching for product information and using online billing solutions “are suited to a portable large-screened device”.
Mobile spending ‘too convenient to pass up’
Mobile shopping options appear to be too convenient to miss for US consumers looking to buy online.
Market research firm comScore has shown that online shopping has risen by 14 per cent year-on-year between the fourth quarter of 2010 and the final three months of last year.
“Price and convenience continue to be the critical value drivers for ecommerce, and unless those conditions change we can expect to see more channel-shifting to online in 2012,” claimed chairman Gian Fulgoni.
A multichannel approach is becoming the norm for many retailers, a move which Mr Fulgoni believes will become common during 2012.
Internet scams increase in Singapore
Internet scams have increased in Singapore due to the rapid growth in online shopping and the use of online payment processing, AFP reports.
This is despite overall crime rate falling to a 20-year low, according to police.
Online scams were found to have mainly occurred where people made purchases as a direct response to advertisements offering discounts on hotel accommodation, car rentals or holidays.