Morning Briefing: Zooplus, Alexa, Bridging Aid IV, BEVH, Suez Canal, Amazon, US Commerce, Paypal, Digital Seniors, Carbon Footprint

Last March, the ship Ever Given paralyzed the Suez Canal, showing how important this shipping route is for world trade. There is now a date for the completion of the expansion work. There is still a long way to go, but the work should be encouraged and not jeopardized so that it can be completed quickly. Even if the current delivery bottlenecks should be resolved by next year, the global economy must prepare itself better for similar situations by comprehensively improving its infrastructure. The Christmas trade went well in terms of delivery problems, but Corona with the consequences is not letting up and global pressure is constantly growing.

Zooplus withdraws from the stock exchange
Last year, Zooplus kept the industry and the stock market busy for a long time because of the possible takeover and the various share offers. Now the two owners, Hellmann & Hellmann and EQT, have decided to take the online pet supplies retailer off the stock exchange. According to a report by food newspaper are now 97 percent in the holding company Zorro Bidco, which is in the hands of the two owners. The shares are now no longer represented in the regulated market and in the electronic trading system in Frankfurt. The company’s future strategy is to invest in long-term growth.

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Amazon provides Alexa with new functions
The cooperation between Amazon and Tiktok, which both companies announced at the end of 2021, is beginning to bear fruit. According to a report by Amazon, users of Amazon’s voice assistant Alexa received Now access to the Tiktok platform via the Echo devices with screens. The videos of the platform could be shown via stream after voice commands. It is not necessary to log in to play the videos, this only applies to ratings or comments. As a further new function, Alexa now offers the exemption of shopping lists for other users who are entered in the contact list.

Start disbursements of the bridging aid IV
The first payments of the bridging aid IV are to start this week daily News. The financial aid in the first round went to companies, the self-employed and freelancers from all sectors with an annual turnover of up to 750 million euros a year. These are companies with high losses of at least 30 percent compared to November 2019 as a result of the pandemic, and the payment is limited to 50 percent of the benefits requested. The Federal Ministry of Economics wants to cover the gap until the application is finally approved, there are no delays with the bridging aid IV. On the other hand, there have always been allegations against the federal government.


TRADE INTERNATIONALThe BEVH sees a demand for politics

The Federal Association of E-Commerce and Mail Order Germany eV (BEVH) expects a few things from EU politics this year important decisions in relation to online trading. In Brussels, the Commission as well as the Parliament and the member states are called upon to do this. In the past, there have rarely been so many legislative initiatives in digital politics. In the first quarter, the Data Act is crucial for digital trade, but a uniform supply chain due diligence law and a Sustainable Product Initiative, with which goods are to be kept in circulation for as long as possible, are also on the agenda. The next three months will then focus on the implementation of the global OECD tax reform and the Digital Services Act. In the third quarter, a uniform VAT identification number is to be established in the EU. According to the association, a triple level playing field with harmonization at EU level, fairness in global competition and equality of sales channels is important.

Expansion of the Suez Canal is scheduled to be completed in 2023
After a construction period of around two years, the responsible authority Suez Canal Authority (SCA) plans to complete the work on the Suez Canal in July 2023 Reuters. After the canal was blocked by the wrecked ship Ever Given last spring, the SCA announced faster planning for a second fairway and the widening of the existing canal. The southern 30 kilometers of the canal were to be both deepened and widened. With the establishment of a second lane, capacity could be increased by six ships, SAC chief Osama Rabie said, without giving further details.

Amazon continues to accept Visa cards in the UK
Amazon is lifting the freeze announced in November on accepting Visa cards as a means of payment. Amazon wanted to block this on January 19, the reason the online group had cited high transaction fees. According to a report by Reuters both companies are in negotiations. In addition to Mastercard, Amex and Eurocard, payment is still possible with Visa cards issued in Great Britain. The level of transaction fees set by the EU has not been in force since Brexit.


US trade performs better than expected in the Christmas trade
In the US, the National Retail Federation (NRF) reported better-than-expected numbers for November and December. As Reuters reports, it went up by 14.1 percent in the two months. Online trading is included in the figures, where growth reached 11.3 percent. This means an increase of 11.5 percent compared to the previous estimate. Despite the increasing number of infections and the supply bottlenecks, the volume has reached a value of 886.7 billion US dollars. The rising salaries and fewer leisure activities of consumers would have played a role. However, the early orders and stocking up of the storage rooms by retailers would also have helped. In December, however, there was a total decline of 2.7 percent due to Omikron. The NRF therefore advises retailers to prepare for possible uncertainties in the coming months.

PayPal is threatened with a class action lawsuit in the United States
In the USA, the dissatisfaction of business partners with PayPal is growing, according to a report by Internet World a class action. Companies see themselves exposed to account blocking, and credit freezes have also occurred. By blocking customers, Papyal violated laws to curb organized crime. Cases with two poker players were the trigger, after a threat of legal action, the financial service provider paid out to one of the two. Other customers’ accounts were blocked, and now the poker player Lena Evans has filed a class action lawsuit, and there is no comment from Paypal.

Seniors are becoming more digital
Last but not least, the pandemic has also led to a steadily growing proportion of over-60s who are turning more to digital life. This is underscored by a new study by Euromonitor, whose analysts in around 100 countries have examined global developments and determined the ten defining trends for 2022. This also includes the growing importance of digitization in the group of seniors, whose entry age begins at 60 years. Behavior has shifted from being defensive towards digital media towards using it. Acceptance is growing, and the proportion of those who use digital solutions in their daily lives is increasing. Companies should now provide them with offers tailored to their needs. However, potential can still be seen in the online purchase of groceries, which is only around 15 percent, compared to around 45 percent who use online banking. It is important that the technical solutions are easy to use, otherwise they will quickly switch to the competitor.


Climate-friendly e-commerce: seven steps to a smaller carbon footprint

More online orders mean more packages, more delivery vehicles – and more CO2 emissions. Planetly founder Anna Alex explains in a guest article how online retailers still meet sustainability requirements.

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