Entrepreneur.com Sees a Rebirth of Mom-and-Pop Shops
“Mom-and-pop shops are enjoying something of a rebirth among U.S. consumers,” according to Entrepreneur.com, which observed that thanks to the Internet “and the ubiquity of computing devices, consumers don’t have to settle for more commoditized versions of their groceries, clothing, or housewares…. They can access the neighborhood store even if they move.”
An online presence gives “shops the opportunity to reach the world rather than just the tourist trade and local shoppers,” Marshal Cohen, a retail analyst at NPD Group told Entrepreneur.com. “Mom-and-pops have reached out and are using online in a real way that works.”
Online sales amounted to 5.2 percent of total retail sales in the third quarter of 2012, according to the latest reading from the U.S. Department of Commerce. That’s up 17.3 percent from the same quarter a year earlier. By contrast, total retail sales over the period rose by only 4.6 percent.
College Students’ Preference for Digital Textbooks Climbs
Saying that the popularity of digital textbooks may have hit a tipping point in 2012, the Book Industry Study Group released research from its ongoing study of Student Attitudes Toward Content in Higher Education. Data presented in the first installment in Volume Three of the study shows that students’ preference for print over digital texts dropped from 72 percent in November 2011 to 60 percent in late 2012. However, satisfaction ratings declined in 2012. Just 26 percent of students said they were “very satisfied” with their digital text, down from 30 percent in 2011.
The study also shows a continuing decline in students committed to owning the newest text. Less than half of students now purchase a current version of their assigned textbook, down from 62 percent in 2010. Textbook rentals grew from eight percent in 2011 to 13 percent in 2012.
More information about the full BISG study is available here.
ALA Releases E-Book License Scorecard
To help libraries identify essential e-book licensing terms, the American Library Association has released “The Business Model Scorecard,” a report that examines specific variables often seen in library e-book license contracts. The report was created by the ALA Digital Content & Libraries Working Group (DCWG) and can be used by librarians to weigh e-book contract variables most important to their library.
The report assesses 15 e-book contract variables of importance to libraries, including e-book title inclusion, pricing, and immediate patron access.
The report is a follow up to the 2012 ALA report “Ebook Business Models for Public Libraries,” which describes general features and attributes of the current e-book environment and outlines constraints and restrictions of current business models.
NRF Forecasts 3.4 Percent Increase in Retail Sales for 2013
The National Retail Federation’s 2013 economic forecast projects retail industry sales (which exclude automobiles, gas stations, and restaurants) will increase 3.4 percent, slightly less than the preliminary 4.2 percent growth seen in 2012. The “subdued” forecast comes “on the heels of a holiday season that went head-to-head with Washington’s political wrangling over fiscal concerns, shifting consumers’ spending plans downward,” NRF said. Holiday sales in 2012 grew just 3.0 percent.
Shop.org, NRF’s digital division, expects online sales in 2013 to grow between 9.0 and 12.0 percent. 2012 online holidays sales grew 11.1 percent.
“What we witnessed during the holiday season is an indication of what we are likely to see in 2013. Consumers read troubling economic headlines every day and look at their bottom lines at the end of the month, and they don’t like what they see,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “Pushing fiscal policy decisions down the road will lead to even greater uncertainty, and will continue to impact consumers’ desire and ability to spend on discretionary items. The administration and Congress need to pursue and enact policies that lead to growth and economic expansion, or it could be another challenging year for retailers and consumers alike.”