Klarna, a global payments and shopping platform, has partnered with Beautycounter, a leader in safer skin care and cleaner cosmetics, to offer customers the opportunity to shop for products with financial flexibility through Klarna’s interest-free installment plan. Klarna also released data from its app that shows Gen Z shoppers in the U.S., known for their value of companies who are transparent, are spending more on clean beauty by nearly 26 percent since the start of the pandemic, the most of any demographic group. Additionally, personal-care products such as sleeping masks, facial protective primers, concealers and peeling solutions are some of consumers’ top picks among the more than 2 million items wish-listed on the Klarna app in the past year. More data to support the clean beauty trend was found when Klarna conducted a consumer survey focused on holiday shopping and found that 79 percent of participants would rather be healthy than wealthy this holiday season. pan-based Kao Corp., the maker of Bioré, Jergens, and Curél brands, also have made a push to increase digital sales efforts, expand e-commerce partnerships, and build customer engagement through online beauty consultations.
Longaberger has entered the technology age, selling its baskets exclusively online, thanks to Xcel Brands, which purchased the company’s assets last year. After Longaberger’s suspension of operations and subsequent bankruptcy in 2019, Xcel Brands, a media and consumer products company, entered into an agreement with Dresden & Co. to manufacture the handcrafted baskets. With the reinvention of the basket maker now possible through a new digital social selling business model, each home and life stylist will be able to offer additional products from expanded home and lifestyle categories. Tami Longaberger and Rachel Longaberger Stukey, daughters of the company’s founder Dave Longaberger, have also returned and will be working with the new company’s salesforce as well as make appearances on QVC and Facebook Live events.
Isagenix International has received a $35 million investment from its co-founders Jim and Kathy Coover and Chief Visionary Officer Erik Coover—the controlling shareholders—as well as from minority shareholders Jim and Tammy Pierce. Combined with additional funds from Isagenix, the investment has enabled the company to retire over $60 million of the principal amount of the company’s debt and to further support its current growth trends and expanding operations. According to Jim Coover, he and his family are optimistic about the future of the company and wanted to further demonstrate their commitment to its success. The investment will also support the momentum of Isagenix as it brings more products and technology solutions to the market. Since January, the Isagenix customer base has increased by 45 percent, and it has expanded its reach to 26 markets across the globe. In addition to the investment, the company’s lending partners have reconfirmed their support for the business with an amendment to their credit agreement, which will give the company greater flexibility for growth.
Congress has introduced a bill that would allow companies to legally sell hemp-based CBD in dietary supplements, opening up opportunities for an industry eager to grow. Under the bill, the Hemp and Hemp-Derived CBD Consumer Protection and Market Stabilization Act of 2020, CBD and other ingredients from hemp could lawfully be used in supplements as long as they comply with current legal requirements for new dietary ingredients, as well as other labeling requirements for dietary supplements under federal law. If able to meet these provisions, hemp-based CBD would be lawful for use beginning 90 days after the legislation went into effect. The bill would create an exception to a current provision in the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, which bars a substance such as CBD or THC from being marketed in a dietary supplement if it was first an active ingredient of an approved drug or been investigated as a new drug and the investigation was instituted and made public. The new bill was introduced by Reps. Kurt Schrader (D-Oregon) and Morgan Griffith (R-Virginia). Griffith and Schrader also sit on the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, which has authority over the FDA.
An August decision against ViSalus Inc. that awarded $925.2 million in a class-action lawsuit is heading to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit after ViSalus argued that the award was unconstitutionally excessive, violating due process. The substantial award was calculated after it was determined that ViSalus had placed more than 1.8 million marketing robocalls during a certain time frame of 2019 in violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). Each violation of the TCPA carries minimum legal damages of $500. While ViSalus suggested U.S. District Judge Michael H. Simon reduce damages in the original Oregon case to no more than $1 per call, Simon responded that the company’s “stratospheric number of TCPA violations” justified the penalty. His rejection of ViSalus’ arguments prompted the appeal. Oregonian Lori Wakefield first brought the class-action lawsuit against ViSalus after she and others allegedly received excessive phone calls from the company without their consent. According to Wakefield’s lawsuit, she enrolled in the company as an affiliate but quickly cancelled her association with ViSalus in 2013 after being unsatisfied with the company. Wakefield stated that ViSalus continued to contact her, but she claimed she requested for the company to stop calling her. When the calls continued, she sued.
In a new Ipsos survey the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN) commissioned with a focus on consumers during the COVID-19 pandemic, 43 percent of dietary supplement users have changed regimens since the start of the outbreak. Of those, 91 percent report increasing their supplement intake, which includes adding new supplements to their existing routines (46 percent); taking the same supplements more regularly (25 percent); or increasing dose(s) (22 percent). Among those surveyed, most users bumped up their routine for either overall immune support (57 percent) or health/wellness benefits (53 percent). Most Americans (85 percent) report that the pandemic is a reminder to take care of their overall health, and a majority of supplement users believe it is important that they continue incorporating dietary supplements into their lifestyle (88 percent), with many supplement users increasing their intake of dietary supplements, according to Ipsos’ Chris Jackson. Also, nearly all supplement users who changed their regimen (98 percent) indicate that they are likely to continue with their current dietary supplement routine moving forward. The survey was conducted from July 31 to Aug. 4, 2020, and included a sample of 2,004 adults aged 18 and older living in the U.S.
A California judge has granted a preliminary injunction that requires Uber and Lift to stop classifying their workers as independent contractors, according to CNBC. The companies have requested a brief stay for the appeal process. The injunction came from California Attorney General Xavier Becerra as part of a lawsuit against the companies for violating Assembly Bill 5 (AB5), which was created for the very reason to reclassify workers as full-time employees. Uber and Lyft stand to pay costly benefits if they are compelled to make this change. In the New York Times, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi shared an opinion piece where he voiced a need for compromise. He supported companies setting up a fund, so that gig workers have access to cover healthcare benefits and other such necessities.
Under stay-at-home orders, U.S. consumers shopped heavily online, as expected: In Q2 2020, U.S. retail e-commerce sales grew by almost a third (31.8 percent) from the previous quarter, or 44.5 percent year over year, per the U.S. Census Bureau of the Department of Commerce (DOC). That’s $211.51 billion in Q2 2020, up from $160.41 billion in Q1 2020. This strong e-commerce growth was not enough to offset losses from brick-and-mortar store closures, however, as total retail sales dropped 3.9 percent from the prior quarter.
Amazon has been in discussion with Simon Property Group, the largest mall owner in the U.S., about turning some of Simon’s department stores—particularly J.C. Penney Co. and Sears Holdings Corp. spaces—into Amazon distribution hubs. The advantage for Amazon would be more fulfillment centers closer to residentials areas to speed up last-mile deliveries, and for Simon, it would provide a profitable and steady tenant. Discussions have been going on for months, even before COVID-19, with the companies exploring options for the department store locations within Simon’s properties—both vacant and occupied. Amazon is already working with a number of U.S. malls, renting parking lots, and Simon is still considering other options to fit its needs, including possibly schools, medical offices or senior living.
Walmart is working with Instacart to provide same-day delivery beginning with a few U.S. markets. This makes it the latest major grocery chain to team up with Instacart to compete with Amazon, which offers grocery delivery services Amazon Fresh and Amazon Prime Now from its own warehouses and Whole Foods stores. The partnership is implementing a pilot phase in four markets in California and Oklahoma. Consumers are relying on grocery delivery now more than ever during the COVID-19 pandemic, making the partnership a key opportunity for Walmart. It also reinforces Instacart’s place in the online grocery delivery market. Experts say customers will continue to shop online even after the virus outbreak subsides.