The end of Thanksgiving in the United States means one thing: shopping: Black Friday, traditionally an in-store sale, and its online equivalent Cyber Monday, have together become one of the world’s largest shopping events - and this year set a new record. While in-store Black Friday numbers are down from last year, online shopping saw a huge increase in 2018, with sales topping $3 billion. Cyber Monday orders rose by nearly 20 percent this year, and with a huge amount of transactions taking place on the day of Thanksgiving itself, the entire long weekend is beginning to blend into a single online shopping extravaganza, dubbed the “Turkey 5.” Amazon was the biggest winner in e-commerce, recording an astounding 180 million item orders. The Echo Dot smart speaker was Amazon’s overall best-selling item worldwide, while Bose noise canceling headphones and Michelle Obama’s new book Becoming were also among the best-selling products.
Electric car startup Rivian has kept a tight wrap on their production plans since they launched in 2009, but now the curtain has been pulled back and the results are very exciting. The firm this week unveiled its 5 seater R1T electric truck, which has a range of up to 400 miles and can go from 0-60 mph in as little as three seconds. Its all-electric power train has four individual motors that provide enough torque to compete with any similar gas truck equivalent on the market. What’s more, it features sensors that allow for autonomous highway driving and is guided by a software system that can update itself over the air. Rivian, which is also producing an electric SUV, plans to start delivering trucks by 2020 with prices starting at $69,000. Performance and battery life have long been limiting factors in the rise of electric pickup trucks, but it seems Rivian may have found the solution.
The future of motorcycle riding is looking forward - literally. Taiwan’s “intelligent helmet system specialist”, Jarvish, this week launched its X-series of smart helmets. The devices boast a whole host of high-tech features, including voice activation, noise-canceling speakers and an AR-powered display so that riders never have to look down. There is also a forward-facing 2K camera (and a rear one for boosted visibility) that syncs with social media so that every ride can be recorded or even streamed live. This connectivity extends to the display, which provides real-time traffic and weather updates and connects to virtual assistants, such as Amazon’s Alexa. Jarvish says the idea behind the helmets is to provide all the features riders have long been searching for, while simultaneously increasing safety. The company is hoping to begin shipping helmets next year, and launched a crowdfunding campaign to help them do it. It took just one hour to get to 100 percent.
Women are significantly underrepresented in the technology industry, something that has given rise to both co-working spaces for women and women-driven venture capital companies this year – and now Apple is getting involved. The tech giant this week launched its Entrepreneur Camp, a two-week course designed to give women one-on-one coding assistance, as well as offer instruction in the design and business sides of the app-driven tech sector. For a startup to be eligible, it must be founded, co-founded or led by women, and have at least one woman on its development team. The camp is slated to begin next year and will ultimately feature 20 app companies per round. “We’re proud to help cultivate female leadership in the app development community,” said Apple CEO Tim Cook, “and we’re inspired both by the incredible work that’s already happening, and what’s sure to come.”
A new startup is aiming to make high-quality fashion items available to the masses by giving customers direct access to manufacturers. Traditionally, major fashion lines make a profit by purchasing items such as purses or glasses from manufacturers, branding them and then selling these to consumers at a significant markup. Italic removes the middleman by creating an online marketplace that offers those items, which are unbranded, at a major discount. The idea is not to sell the cheapest possible products, but rather to make high-end fashion more affordable to regular shoppers. The company’s “no brands, no markups, no gimmicks” approach to sales has proven so popular that customers are clamoring for invites to their members-based business model. Manufacturers, too, are jumping at the chance to sell their products directly and Italic, which went live this month, has already raised $13 million.