Archive for November, 2018

PayPal: Black Friday & Cyber Monday broke records with $1B+ in mobile payment volume

Black Friday broke records in terms of sales made from mobile devices, according to reports last week from Adobe. This week, PayPal said it saw a similar trend during the Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday shopping event. PayPal saw a record-breaking $1 billion+ in mobile payment volume for the first time ever on Black Friday — a milestone it hit again on Cyber Monday. Mobile payment volume on Black Friday was up 42 percent over Black Friday 2017, the company said, and it even outpaced the mobile payment volume on Cyber Monday this year. However, Cyber Monday saw more total payment volume, likely because much of the shopping that takes place that day comes from office workers back at their desktops, wrapping up a few more purchases. Worldwide, mobile payment volume from Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday accounted for a significant 43 percent of PayPal’s total payment volume. Between those days, PayPal was processing more than $25,000 per second, with more than $11,000 per second processed on mobile. The peak hour took place on Black Friday, which shows the sales event has shifted much of its business online. It’s now coming close to topping Cyber Monday in terms of both online and mobile shopping, PayPal noted. PayPal’s data also pointed to another trend: that of the blurring of the line as to when holiday shopping begins and ends. Many retailers these days are launching their deals on Thanksgiving or even earlier, then allowing them to run for the week of Black Friday or longer. Amazon, for example, has decided to capitalize on its own Black Friday/Cyber Monday momentum by launching a “12 Days of Deals” event that will feature hundreds of new deals every day from Sunday December 2 through Thursday December 13. Other times, the shopping starts early, as PayPal’s data shows. Thanksgiving has now become another major shopping day, the company said, having broken into the top 10 shopping days of the year. It also grew 41 percent over last year. E-commerce spending wasn’t the only thing that’s up year-over-year, PayPal also found. On Giving Tuesday — the event focused on donating to charities and other worthwhile causes — PayPal said more than a million customers from 180 markets donated $98 million this year. That’s a 51 percent increase from 2017, it said.

The International Space Station’s new robot is a freaky floating space Alexa

Meet Cimon. The 3D-printed floating robot head was developed by Airbus for the German Space Agency. He’s been a crew member of the International Space Station since June, though as Gizmodo notes, this is the first time we’re seeing him in action. Really the floating, Watson-powered robot face is like an extremely expensive Amazon Echo designed to study human-machine interactions in space. This video highlights an early interaction between Cimon and European Space Agency astronaut Alexander Gerst. Gerst requests his “favorite song,” leading Cimon to play Kraftwerk’s “Man Machine,” only to be shaken by the astronaut, who then demands the robot shoot some video. Once again Cimon complies, though this time he’s clearly a bit annoyed that the music has stopped. Kind of a rough first encounter for the two new co-workers. “Happy with his initial outing, both Cimon’s developers and Alexander hope to see Cimon back in action again soon,” the ESA says. “While no further sessions are planned during the Horizons mission at this stage, it could mark the beginning of exciting collaboration between astronauts, robotic assistants and possible future artificial intelligence in space.” Hopefully things go a bit more smoothly next time. Lord knows the last thing you want to do is piss off a space robot.