THE DAILY SCOPE, 12/21/2021: TikTok, the social media and entertainment platform, has taken the globe by storm to the tune of 1 billion global users. With such a massive following, it is unsurprising that retailers have begun approaching the platform as a vast marketing landscape. According to reports obtained by The New York Times, TikTok reported that on average Gen Z users between the ages of 18 and 24 watched 233 TikToks a day, and spent 14 percent more time on the app than Gen Z or millennial users. Also, women ages 25-30 on average spend 60 minutes a day on the app. What makes TikTok such a great platform for advertisers is that advertising content can be mixed seamlessly into a user’s feed so that they engage with ads instead of simply clicking through them. This is due in large part to the use of content influencers as brands’ spokesmen leading to authentic-seeming advertisements. Major retailers such as Amazon and Walmart have taken to the platform’s advertising model, and other CE retailers are likely to follow suit. While clothing and other accessories are a staple of TikTok advertising, there is a growing number of tech products and influencers active on the platform, though still not on the level of the fashion and beauty categories. Some of the tech products that have found success advertising on the app using the #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt include the Lexon Oblio 10W Wireless Charging Station with built-in UV Sanitizer and the VEHHE Rechargeable Electric Candle Lighter. Currently, the #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt campaign has received over 7 billion views. Exposure like that is hard to come by.
On Friday of last week, in a 2-1 decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit, which covers Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee, lifted the hold placed on the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate targeting companies with over 100 employees. The initial hold was granted by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit on November 6, 2021, as a result of a challenge by the National Retail Federation arguing that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) wasn’t in a position to use its emergency authority. With the lifting of the stay, the OSHA reinstated the vaccine mandate, which requires retailers with over 100 employees to provide time off for vaccinations, confirm employee vaccination status, or mandate masks and weekly testing for employees who aren’t vaccinated. In order to give companies time to comply with the mandate, the OSHA has pushed the deadline back to February 9 for full enforcement of the mandate. However, beginning January 4, employees will be required to show proof of vaccination or face weekly testing. The reinstatement of this mandate is something that large employers need to be conscious of, but it may be a moot point for the many independent retailers that do not broach the 100 employee threshold. Either way, vaccines with boosters are proving to be the best defense against the Omicron variant, and the perception that stores are safe places to shop is good for business, as recent data from NPD demonstrated. And in this era of labor shortages, no one needs employees who are down for the count.
Finally, CES 2022 is set to be held in person from January 5-8 in Las Vegas despite the latest wave of the Omicron variant. Over 2,100 vendors are set to attend the event, where around 28-30 percent of the audience is based internationally according to CES officials. In addition to requiring vaccinations of all attendees, CES 2022 is instituting additional protocols for the event in an attempt to quell the spread of the Omicron variant, including requiring all attendees to show a negative COVID-19 test less than 24 hours before entering a CES venue. Rapid tests will also be distributed for free to attendees, per the CTA. At its pre-COVID peak, the event attracted over 160,000 people, while the number will likely be significantly less this year the crowd at the event will undoubtedly still be large. Currently, mask-wearing indoors is required by law in Las Vegas, which is probably for the best since Omicron is proving to infect people with even two doses of the vaccine. Boosters offer better protection and are the best bet for anyone planning to attend.
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