With many marketers and business professionals taking time off at the end of the year, the news cycle might have slowed down, but it didn’t stop entirely.
Our team reviewed the most consequential stories of the last few weeks and selected what we think will be most useful for you.
Omicron didn’t stop holiday shoppers: Despite a surge in cases tied to the latest COVID-19 variant, US shop and restaurant visits increased as much as 4.8% in the week leading up to Christmas, per SafeGraph data.
Apple faces more worker unrest: Apple shut down more stores and reinstated a mask mandate as it attempts to mitigate the effects of omicron on its staff (and presumably its profits), Bloomberg reported, although some stores remain open for limited walk-in services.
Oculus’ app topped the charts after Christmas: The app that supports Meta’s VR headset product became the No. 1 app on both the iOS App Store and Google Play store.
The sales growth can likely be attributed to two things: Facebook’s much-discussed rebrand to Meta in Q4 and shortages of popular video game consoles, including Nintendo OLED Switch and Sony’s Playstation 5.
Baidu sees full launch of its metaverse in six years: Ahead of Baidu Create 2021, the company’s developer conference held on December 27, Baidu vice president Ma Jie told reporters XiRang, the company’s metaverse app, is still six years away from a full launch. The company appears to be walking a fine line between moving ahead quickly to compete with Microsoft and Meta and adhering to China’s new anti-monopolistic regulations.
TikTok is 2021’s most popular domain: According to a recent report by the security firm Cloudflare, the company’s public DNS resolver saw tiktok.com requested more than any other domain—surpassing stalwarts such as google.com and facebook.com. The top 10 was rounded out by the domains for Microsoft, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, YouTube, Twitter, and WhatsApp.
While the report emphasized rankings don’t reflect the number of users on each platform, it does represent TikTok’s meteoric rise since the pandemic began.
TikTok to get into the food business: TikTok Kitchens is a partnership with Virtual Dining Concepts (VDC) that will deliver tasty dishes from the popular app.
While the service isn’t intended to seriously compete with the likes of Doordash and Uber Eats, it does suggest TikTok is confident it can own the end-to-end experience for its users—rather than cede those transactions to food delivery companies. VDC has had success with MrBeast Burger, launched near 2020’s end, which sold 1 million burgers in its first three months, per Fortune.
California sues Walmart over environmental laws: In late December, California’s attorney general filed a lawsuit against Walmart, alleging the company illegally disposed of hazardous waste.
Amazon employees continue to protest working conditions: Amazon workers in the Chicago area walked off their jobs several days before Christmas to demand higher wages and longer break times, Insider reported.