TECHNOLOGY

Study: Teens twice as likely to shop online than adults

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

When it comes to online shopping, teens are outspending their parents.

In fact, shoppers aged between 13-to-18 years old spent at twice the rate of adults in September, according to data from Current, a financial technology company.

Specifically, Current’s teen customers’ online purchases accounted for 17.9% of transactions last month. The most recent U.S. Census Bureau reports online purchases represent 8.6% of all U.S. retail transactions.

Spending on digital content accounted for 54% of online spending by 13-to-18-year olds in September. Video games represented 39.3%, with streaming and online services representing 14.6% of online spending. The remaining 46% of purchases were a more traditional mix of consumer goods, including clothing, cosmetics, novelty items and accessories.

Teen confidence in online shopping for consumer goods extends across the retail landscape. Amazon.com is the most frequented site, capturing 38% of teen online spending, excluding digital content.

Teens also purchase directly from brand sites, especially when shopping for clothing and cosmetics. The web sites of clothing brands — led by Forever 21, Nike, Victoria’s Secret, PacSun and Vans — accounted for 9.1% of online sales to teens, excluding digital content.

Cosmetics account for 7.7% of teen online spending in September, excluding digital content. The category was dominated by Sephora, which captured 5.4% of online purchases of cosmetics by teens.

Teens also frequent specialty retailers looking for discounts and unique items — sites their parents may not be familiar with. Online discount retailers such as wish.com, fashionnova.com, and a host of online discount retailers that ship direct from China accounted for 13.8% of teen online transactions, excluding digital content. Wish.com was the clear leader, capturing 7.8% of online spending, second only to Amazon.com.

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TECHNOLOGY

Rent the Runway seeks to broaden appeal with new monthly service

BY Marianne Wilson

Fast-growing online apparel and accessories rental company Rent the Runway wants a bigger share of the market — one that appeals to fast-fashion shoppers.

The New York-based company on Monday announced a less costly membership option that allows women to rent four items from its website, choosing from a curated selection of everyday styles from more than 200 brands. At the end of each month, members can either send the goods back or buy them at the company’s members-only discount.

The new service, called RTR Update, costs $89 a month. The company’s other membership service for everyday wear, which launched in 2016 and is called RTR Unlimited, is going up from $139 per month to $159 per month. It allows for unlimited monthly rentals, four at a time. Both membership models feature free shipping and dry-cleaning, 25% off “RTR Reserve” rentals and the ability to pause or cancel anytime.

“Since its launch, ‘RTR Unlimited’ has created an entirely new consumer behavior and has disrupted the way women are getting dressed every day,” said Jennifer Hyman, CEO and co-founder, Rent the Runway. “Our subscription business is up 125% year-over-year and is projected to triple in 2018. We’ve made clothing rental a utility in women’s lives, and I’m thrilled to be bringing the closet in the cloud to millions more women with ‘RTR Update.’”

In addition to its online presence, Rent the Runway operates five physical locations (New York City, Chicago, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., and Woodland Hills, California). It is looking to grow its brick-and-mortar footprint.

As it looks to extend its appeal to a wider audience, Rent the Runway is also rolling out its first national brand advertising campaign. The campaign will launch on Monday with 15- and 30-second TV spots.

To date, Rent the Runway has raised $190 million in venture capital funding. Its $60 million Series E in 2016 was one of the largest ever for a women-run company, according to Forbes. The company was founded in 2009 by Hyman and Jennifer Fleiss, who left in March, as a site where women could rent dresses for special occasions.

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TECHNOLOGY

Facebook expands food ordering service

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Facebook is putting electronic takeout menus into the hands of all of its members.

The social media giant officially launched its food ordering service to all Facebook members in the United States. Eliminating the need to search through multiple sites to place an order, Facebook’s service combines options from a number of food ordering services, including EatStreet, Delivery.com, DoorDash, ChowNow, Zuppler, EatStreet, Slice and Olo.

The service also features an extensive list of restaurant options, such as Jack in the Box, Five Guys, Papa John’s, Wingstop, TGIFriday’s, Denny’s El Pollo Loco, Chipotle, Jimmy John’s and Panera. The app also aggregates reviews from Facebook friends to help users make more educated decisions, according to Facebook’s newsroom page.

Here’s how it works: Customers use their iOS or Android device or desktop to access the “Order Food” section in Facebook’s Explore menu. Users can enter their preferred restaurant into the search bar or scroll through a list of local restaurants. Eateries are also broken up by cuisine categories. All entries include a featured photo, price range (indicated by dollar signs), star ratings, and type of cuisine. Listings also display whether delivery, pickup or both are available.

After selecting their preferred restaurant, customers hit Start Order, and choose which delivery service will manage the order. Customers that have an account with a service partner can connect with their ex-isting login. Those without an account can sign up without leaving the Facebook app.

Customers then place their order and pay electronically on the check-out page. The customer is sent an email with their order status.

Facebook began testing the service last year. The program was expanded based on user feedback, Facebook said.

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