Five on Friday: Shopping, Celebrating and Streaming

Featuring TikTok, Apple, Amazon and Spotify

This week, we look at how the economy has hit Americans with subscriptions. What subscriptions are they most likely to cancel considering the recent turn of economic tides? We’re also talking about TikTok’s potential ban in the US and what that could do to the creator economy. Apple had a strong year in Services, and we have some insight into what the year looked like for them. Amazon is adding more support for their Buy with Prime feature, allowing any eligible merchant to use the feature. Last up, Spotify announces a date for their Stream On event this year, with hopes that they might do something about Spotify HiFi.

Subscriptions Americans are most likely to cut in 2023

Hard economic times are affecting us all, and it’s affecting spending habits the most. We’ve talked about  subscriptions Americans are most likely to keep before, but new studies are looking at services that are the most likely to get trimmed in an uncertain economy.

In a study conducted by Forbes Advisor and Prolific, 1,005 consumers were surveyed and asked about what apps they were most and least likely to keep. Much like previous findings, streaming services were the most likely to be kept. Other top categories include delivery apps and music services.

However, it is worth noting that more entertainment options are creating more cost-effective ways to fit streaming subscription services into  consumer budgets. Netflix, Disney+, HBO Max and Hulu all have lower-priced, ad-supported tiers, making things more easily accessible to price sensitive subscribers. Both Disney+ and Netflix anticipated users jumping to their ad-supported tier with launch, but it is too soon to see if they is happening.

The subscription services that consumers are looking to cut are in wellness, self-improvement and personal care subscriptions. Brands that were named specifically include Calm, WW (formerly Weight Watchers), Dollar Shave Club, IPSY and Audible. Reports find that users aren’t getting what they feel is their money’s worth out of the apps.

“Monthly spending on personal care and wellness has been steadily decreasing. When we see people concerned with economic uncertainty, luxury expenses like fitness, medication, weight loss apps or skin care tend to be one of the first spending areas to decrease,” Yahya Mokhtazrada said of the findings.

Personal care subscriptions tend to lean into being more of a luxury, which makes it easier for a subscriber to want to back out of it.

Nowadays, it’s becoming easier to cancel subscriptions. Both Android and Apple have ways to help cancel unwanted subscriptions, as well as providing a means to look at all subscriptions paid for in one place. Several states, including New Jersey, are also looking into regulation of auto-renewing subscriptions, allowing consumers to have more control of their money.

Coins Money wealth income saving with piggy bank concept. Saving money concept.
Source: Envato Elements

Potential TikTok ban worries creators and the “Creator Economy”

With TikTok being banned on government devices, creators and viewers are concerned about the future for the rest of the app. When former President Donald Trump was in office, a TikTok ban was being considered, and it is being considered again as Congress and individual states face growing concerns about the privacy of user data falling into China’s hands.

In July 2022, the FCC asked Apple and Google to ban TikTok from their app stores, claiming that it was a sophisticated surveillance tool. The FCC is concerned that the app is a national security threat that takes sensitive personal data from its users that could be used by China-based parent company ByteDance. Allegedly, ByteDance has “repeatedly accessed the sensitive data that TikTok has collected from Americans” before and could do it again.

With the ban of the app on government devices, creators are worried about the fate of the app, DigiDay wrote. Among those worried include influencers who have amassed thousands of followers, or even small businesses who have helped build up their platform. Both user groups have seen a surge in engagement, but money as well, and a ban threatens to harm their livelihood.

“Any interruption or ban on TikTok would invariably affect thousands of creators making a full or supplemental living on the platform. And by proxy, technologies and agencies would be adversely affected with upwards of 50% of spends on creator campaigns happening on TikTok,” Ryan Detert of marketing agency Influential shared.

The U.S. wouldn’t be the first country to consider restricted access or a TikTok ban, CFR reported. The European Commission is investigating TikTok’s compliance with EU data privacy laws, and India has entirely banned TikTok. However, the act of doing a full ban would be difficult to do, Business Insider said. It may be likely that a negotiation may be reached instead of a full ban.

TikTok application icon on Apple iPhone 11 screen close-up. Hand holding smartphone Tik Tok icon on wooden background. Tiktok Social media network
Source: Bigstock Photo

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Amazon expands Buy with Prime shopping

Amazon launched Buy with Prime in 2022 to help extend shopping benefits across the internet, beyond their own website. Amazon recently announced that they would be rolling out the operation more widely by January 31, 2023.

For a business using Buy with Prime, the option will help attract Amazon shoppers to their site and help convert window shoppers into customers. The direct customer relationship allows a business to help create a relationship with their consumers and help utilize customer data more effectively. Amazon shared that their Buy with Prime option has an average conversion rate of 25%, according to internal data.

A new feature with this rollout is the ability to show Amazon reviews on a merchant’s own storefront. Reviews have been shown to increase customer conversion and build trust with a merchant. Merchants will not be able to hide negative reviews on their website to keep reviews trustworthy, CNBC shared.

Since the initial launch, Buy with Prime was an invitation-only basis, but Amazon will be rolling out this option to all eligible merchants. To be eligible, a business will have to authorize Amazon to use their inventory stored in Amazon fulfillment centers. Merchants will also need to link their Amazon Pay account to offer a seamless checkout experience.

Merchants utilizing Buy with Prime only have to pay for what they use. The cost includes fulfillment, storage, and payment processing feeds. If a customer returns an item, the cost of return is included in the fulfillment fee. Moving toward further expansion of this would put the shopping giant into direct competition with Shopify and BigCommerce, CNBC reported.

Coins Money wealth income saving with piggy bank concept. Saving money concept.
Source: Envato Elements

Apple celebrates a year of entertainment

It was a big year for Apple, especially in the entertainment sector. Through their $78 bilion Services division, Apple can bring users all sorts of content, from television to games, and almost everything in between.

In November, Apple shared their App Store Awards, sharing the best apps of the year across all categories. BeReal won the iPhone app of the year, capturing people in vulnerable moments and encouraging them to show what’s going on beyond curated social media posts. Other winners included GoodNotes 5, MacFamilyTree 10, and more. Apple awarded categories for games, TV apps, and more.

At a glance, Apple shared that, in 2022, they tracked 900 million paid subscriptions across Apple Services. In total, since 2008, Apple has paid $320 billion to developers that were selling digital goods and subscriptions. Looking at Apple’s year, they added 50 new games to their Apple Arcade subscription, allowing users to play games with no ads or in-app purchases. They are continuing to add new content weekly, with games and features for all ages.

Apple Music also had a big year. The music subscription service now features over 100 million songs, representing nearly the entire history of recorded music. They also added support for Spatial Audio, allowing for higher quality of music streaming, and creating more immersive experiences. Since the launch of Spatial Audio, more than 80% of worldwide subscribers are utilizing the feature, and monthly Spatial Audio plays have grown by over 1,000%.

Apple is also dipping their toes into live sports. They started the journey with Major League Baseball games, and have now unveiled their 10-year partnership with Major League Soccer. The partnership will bring MLS to its “largest worldwide audience ever”, and matches will be supported on billions of devices worldwide.

Apple shared a snapshot of Apple One as well:

  • 300 wins and 1,305 nominations for Apple TV+
  • 250 million in-game achievements playing Apple Arcade games since 2022
  • 3,5000 workouts and meditations on Fitness+
  • 3,000 professionally narrated audio stories on Apple News+
  • An increase of 95% of active iCloud accounts that utilize two-factor authentication
Different Apple products displayed on smartphones, tablets and laptops
Source: Apple

Spotify to host next Stream On event in March

Spotify has set the date for their next Stream On event, March 8. Spotify started hosting Stream On events in 2021 to showcase updates for their products, tools for creatives, as well as exclusive podcasts. The event is usually aimed at creators instead of the general public, Engadget shared.

This year, Spotify promised to talk about their vertical-defining creator tools, features, and programming. The event will be streamed live from Los Angeles’s Art District. Topics of discussion will include new possibilities to allow creators to connect with their audience, and help create a global audience. Additionally, new developments and tools aimed at creators will be discussed.

Listeners are hoping for news of Spotify HiFi, which was talked about first at the Stream On in 2021. In 2022’s Stream On, there was an update about the feature, but there have been no meaningful updates. Spotify has not addressed if HiFi will be talked about in 2023’s Stream On, Music Tech shared. The only update of HiFi mentioned was in a survey asking users about Spotify Platinum, a potential tier at $19.99 per month. Features included would be HiFi, Studio Sound, Headphone Tuner, Audio Insights, and more, MusicTech reported.

 A high-fidelity audio plan would help Spotify compete with TIDAL and Apple Music when it comes to quality of music. Apple Music has been working on the rollout of Spatial Audio in the last year, and Spotify doesn’t have anything to compete with that that we know if. The media giant asked creators across the world and disciplines to tune in and experience the event as it happens. Interested parties can watch the event on For the Record or Spotify’s YouTube Channel.

USA, NEW YORK September 22, 2022: Spotify logo mobile app on screen cellphone on old wooden table. Spotify music and audio streaming service. Spotify app on smartphone
Source: Bigstock Photo

Copyright © 2023 Authority Media Network, LLC. All rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is prohibited.

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