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As retail sales continue to heat up during the summer months, June marked the ninth consecutive month of total retail growth. According to the Mastercard SpendingPulseTM, U.S. retail sales excluding automotive and gasoline increased +11.0% year-over-year in June, and when looking at June 2019, the increase was +10.4%. With the pandemic driving a shift to digital E-commerce, growth continued to hold steady with sales at +8.3% vs. 2020 and +95.0% 2019. As consumers continue to venture out more for meals and shop both online and in stores, sales growth have continued to rise in the following categories: Restaurants (+55.1% YOY/ +16.8% YO2Y), Department Stores (+67.4% YOY/ +11.8% YO2Y) and Apparel (+62.9.1% YOY/ +12.7% YO2Y). (Mastercard: 7/8/21)


According to a new report by Deloitte, back to school spending will hit its highest level in recent years, reaching a collective $32.5 billion for K-12 students, or $612 per student. Spending for college students will reach $26.7 billion, or approximately $1,459 per student. With the previous academic year mostly taking place remotely, spending for the upcoming school year will include a 37% increase in technology for K-12 students and a 17% increase for college students. For K-12 students, 56% of planned spending is expected to occur by the end of July, as consumers start their back-to-school shopping earlier. Looking ahead, 55% of K-12 parents and 46% of college parents are more confident about the economy’s prospects (up from 17% & 14% respectively, in 2020). Another positive: 78% of K-12 parents and 75% of college parents say they are in similar or better financial shape than last year. (InsideRadio: 7/9/21)


DoubleVerify’s annual global study on the state of digital media quality and performance finds that CTV verification technologies are having an impact on “cleaning up the supply chain” while mobile app fraud continues to be a challenge. The study also reveals significant declines in violation rates, underscoring the positive impact verification solutions are having on media quality and performance. “Programmatic buying is becoming the norm for premium digital advertisers, even in fast growing channels such as CTV; the ability to build confidence in ecosystem inventory is essential to fostering its continued growth.” CTV has fueled the demand for verification, as nearly 29% of all video ad impressions verified are now delivered on CTV devices in North America, making CTV the leading driver of the region’s verified impressions. And while fraud rates are down for CTV and streaming, it’s evolving; requiring diligence from “the industry at large, while offering in-depth data and analytics to help brands optimize digital strategies.”  (Bloomberg: 7/8/21)


Despite the influence that streaming content has had on the media undustry, “lots and lots of viewers turned to their trusted local stations for perspective on the major issues” that arose in 2020. A Pew Research Center survey from last year revealed that viewers had the most trust in their local news media at 50%, higher than “news media in general” at 44%. Pew also reported that 23% of respondents tuned in more to state and local news on the pandemic, while 15% follow network news more. Stations are wholly focused on strengthening their digital offerings to better connect with the next generation of news viewers, and have been expanding news at a feverish pace since early 2020. The Radio Television Digital News Association reported stations averaged 6.2 hours of news per weekday in 2020, up 18 minutes from 2019. “All these challenges happened in a very short period of time, and local media stepped up in a way they hadn’t done before.” (NextTV: 7/12/21)


Food TV personality, Dan Langan, joined GMA to celebrate National Ice Cream Month, by sharing two ice cream sandwich recipes using fresh raspberry ice cream.  According to Langan, the secret to great homemade ice cream sandwiches is a soft cookie that stays tender even when it is frozen, and his “cakey chocolate cookies and peanut butter cookies make the perfect ice cream sandwich, great eaten as you make em’ or frozen for later on.” And if frozen drinks are more for you, the “Fizzy Friends Kahlúa Ice Cream Float”, made with Serendipity’s Friends inspired “Central Perk Coffee Almond Fudge” ice cream, is a featured video. (Good Morning America: 7/10/21).

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