Germany’s intelligence chief warns spying has surged to Cold War levels as Russia wages war against Ukraine

Thomas Haldenwang, President of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV).

Germany’s intelligence chief warned espionage is reaching Cold War levels, possibly even higher.
This warning comes as Russia’s war in Ukraine pushes tensions between Moscow and the West to historic heights.
The US and Europe have expelled hundreds of Russian diplomats, accusing many of acting as spies, since the war began.

The head of Germany’s domestic intelligence agency (BfV) warned on Thursday that espionage has risen to Cold War levels, possibly even higher, as tensions between the West and Russia hit historic heights amid the ongoing war in Ukraine, the Associated Press reported.

“Today, we assess the level of espionage against Germany at least at the level of the Cold War — if not significantly higher,” BfV chief Thomas Haldenwang said at an event in the German capital. 

“In a world of open hostilities and drastic sanctions, the inhibition threshold for espionage, sabotage, and illegitimate influence will continue to fall,” Haldenwang warned. 

Collectively, the US and Europe have expelled hundreds of Russian diplomats and officials since the war in Ukraine began, accusing many of those made to leave of operating as spies under diplomatic cover. Russia has responded by expelling Western diplomats.

Tensions between Russia and Western countries have been on the rise for years due to issues ranging from Russian election interference to Russia’s unilateral annexation of Crimea in 2014.

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision in February to launch an unprovoked, large-scale invasion of neighboring Ukraine poured gasoline on the fire, prompting the US and Europe to rapidly rally behind Kyiv. Indeed, in just a few months the war has prompted dramatic, unprecedented changes and decisions across the West. 

The US and its European allies have slapped crippling economic sanctions on Russia over the war, and the EU …read more

Source:: Businessinsider

Charlotte Knights manager Wes Helms placed on ‘indefinite leave’ from the Chicago White Sox Triple-A affiliate

Wes Helms was placed on “indefinite leave” as the manager of the Chicago White Sox Triple-A affiliate in Charlotte, the team announced Friday.

The Sox did not provide additional information, calling it a “personnel issue.”

2022 marked Helms’ fourth season in the Sox system and his second as Knights manager. He was a coach at Double-A Birmingham in 2019.

Helms, 46, played for the Atlanta Braves (1998, 2000-02), Milwaukee Brewers (2003-05), Florida (now Miami) Marlins (2006, ‘08-11) and Philadelphia Phillies (2007), hitting .256 with 75 home runs and 374 RBIs in 1,212 career major-league games.

According to reports, Julio Mosquera will serve as Charlotte’s acting manager.

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Source:: The Denver Post

Billionaire Larry Ellison reportedly participated in a call to discuss challenging the legitimacy of the 2020 election results

Larry Ellison joined a phone call to discuss challenging the 2020 election, the Washington Post reported.
Also on the call were Jay Sekulow, Lindsey Graham, Sean Hannity, court filings reportedly show.
The billionaire Oracle co-founder is the largest backer of Elon Musk’s bid to takeover Twitter.

Oracle co-founder, chairman, and chief technology officer Larry Ellison joined several conservative figures on a phone call in November 2020 to discuss strategies for contesting the legitimacy of the presidential election results, The Washington Post reported.

Also on the call were Fox News host Sean Hannity, Donald Trump’s attorney Jay Sekulow, Sen. Lindsey Graham, and Jim Bopp, an attorney for True the Vote, the Post reported, citing court filings and an anonymous participant who was on the call.

Oracle did not respond to the Post or to Insider’s request for comment on this story.

The court documents were brought to light in connection with legal action against True the Vote, which has promoted unfounded claims of widespread voter fraud. More recently, the organization partnered with conservative commentator Dinesh D’Souza on a widely debunked film about so-called ballot “mules.”

“Jim was on a call this evening with Jay Sekulow, Lindsey O. Graham, Sean Hannity, and Larry Ellison,” True the Vote’s founder, Catherine Engelbrecht, wrote in a note that was included in the legal filings, according to the Post. “He explained the work we were doing and they asked for a preliminary report asap, to be used to rally their troops internally, so that’s what I’m working on now.”

Bopp disputed the purpose of the call in an interview with the Post, saying that the question discussed was whether congressional hearings on the 2020 election would be “beneficial” to the people involved.

Ellison has been a prolific donor to conservative causes and Republican candidates, including Donald Trump, …read more

Source:: Businessinsider

What is bitcoin? A beginner’s guide to the world’s most popular type of cryptocurrency, and tips for investing in it

Bitcoin is the most highly widely traded cryptocurrency with a market cap of nearly $550 billion, but remains intensely volatile.

Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency, a type of digital, private money that operates without the involvement of a bank or government.
Bitcoin trades on online exchanges, and since its price has mushroomed since its 2009 debut, it’s increasingly attracting investors’ interest.
As an investment asset, bitcoin offers capital appreciation and an inflation hedge, but its volatile price swings make it a high-risk investment.

Scarcely a news cycle goes by without some mention of bitcoin. As the first and most widely traded cryptocurrency, bitcoin is often seen as a representation of the larger cryptocurrency ecosystem, for better or worse. Throughout its life since being created in 2009, its critics have been decrying its failure while advocates have been making wild projections, former Goldman Sachs hedge-fund chief Raoul Paul going as high as $1 million by 2025. 

But while it has certainly attracted plenty of attention, bitcoin still remains a mystery to casual and experienced investors alike. This shouldn’t really be the case, since the basics of bitcoin and how it works are relatively easy to understand.  

Here’s a brief bitcoin biography: An overview of its origins, operations — and how to invest in it. 

What is bitcoin? 

Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency, an electronic version of money that verifies transactions using cryptography (the science of encoding and decoding information). 

As Bitcoin educator, developer, and entrepreneur Jimmy Song explains, Bitcoin is “decentralized, digital, and scarce money.” Here are the other key characteristics of bitcoin: 

It’s decentralized because this code is run by thousands of computers (i.e., ‘nodes’) spread across the globe.
It’s digital because it exists as a set of code that determines how it operates.
It’s scarce because its code …read more

Source:: Businessinsider

Judge delays LA homelessness lawsuit settlement in which city pledges to spend $3 billion

LOS ANGELES — A federal judge delayed his potential approval Friday of a settlement with the LA Alliance for Human Rights in which the city will spend up to $3 billion over the next five years to develop as many as 16,000 beds or housing units for the homeless.

The Los Angeles City Council voted 12-3 earlier this month to approve the settlement, which would create enough beds to accommodate 60% of the homeless population in each of the 15 council districts.

However, during a brief hearing billed as a final settlement conference Friday, U.S. District Judge David Carter asked for a round of briefings from attorneys and set another hearing for June 9.

Carter is overseeing the March 2020 lawsuit in which L.A. Alliance — a coalition of Skid Row-area housed and homeless residents and business owners — accuses the city and county of Los Angeles of failing to do its part in addressing the homelessness crisis.

The city has proposed a settlement, but co-defendant LA County is not participating and could go to trial.

Carter told attorneys that if he does not approve the city’s proposal, he will move the case forward to trial “much faster than you expect.” He said the same approach would result if the county does not attempt to resolve its part of the suit.

While the proposed settlement does not include L.A. County, city officials said the county will be responsible for providing services and housing for homeless individuals with serious mental illness, substance-use issues or chronic physical illnesses.

Carter also signaled that he wants the parties to address an agreement for the clearance of transients living near freeway overpasses and underpasses.

According to the most recent homeless count, conducted prior to the pandemic in 2020, the countywide homeless population was 66,433, a nearly 13% increase from the previous year. The …read more

Source:: Los Angeles Daily News

19 great books for recent college grads that’ll guide them through their next chapter

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From inspiring memoirs and self-help bestsellers to important career and money how-to guides, these books will set your college grad up for success.

As college graduates ready themselves for the next chapter in their lives, books can provide insightful advice and research-driven tips on how to best move forward. Whether they’re starting their first job or fellowship, paying the brunt of their own expenses for the first time, or unsure of what they want to do next, there are countless people who have been in their shoes before and have some wisdom to impart. 

Below, we rounded up some of the best books to gift recent college grads, from relatable memoirs, straightforward financial guides, and self-help books on everything from forming healthy habits to finding one’s ideal career path. And if you want to pair a book with another gift, be sure to check out our guides to the best college graduation gifts. 

The 19 best books to gift college graduates in 2022:

“Congratulations, By the Way: Some Thoughts on Kindness” by George Saunders

“Congratulations, By the Way,” available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $12.99

Best for: The grad who wants a short, inspirational read

Adapted from author George Saunders’ commencement address at Syracuse University (where he teaches writing), this book is essentially a short, incredibly well-written speech that can be finished in one sitting. As a bonus, the core theme isn’t about common graduation topics like career goals or perseverance, but about something even more important: kindness and empathy for others.

“Designing Your Life: How to …read more

Source:: Businessinsider

When adopting a dog, don’t let breed get in the way of a ‘genuine connection’

Queen B (A501493) is a sweet and affectionate dog who has so much love to give! Queen B enjoys playing fetch, but takes frequent breaks for petting and snuggles. She even sits in people's laps to be extra close to them. Queen B would do best with a family who can give her lots of attention and cuddling. Queen B is available for a 14-day adoption trial. If you are interested in giving her a test adoption run in your home, please book an adoption consultation at pasadenahumane.org/adopt (Photo courtesy of Pasadena Humane)

 

Queen B (A501493) is a sweet and affectionate dog who has so much love to give! Queen B enjoys playing fetch, but takes frequent breaks for petting and snuggles. She even sits in people’s laps to be extra close to them. Queen B would do best with a family who can give her lots of attention and cuddling. Queen B is available for a 14-day adoption trial. If you are interested in giving her a test adoption run in your home, please book an adoption consultation at pasadenahumane.org/adopt (Photo courtesy of Pasadena Humane)

 

My best friend Sueshi can attract a lot of attention. She’s super friendly, very cute with an adorable underbite, and she loves meeting new two-legged and four-legged friends.

I’m often asked, “What breed is she?” My reply is always the same — “Fluffy White Dog.” This is usually met with laughter, followed by, “No, really, what do you think she is?”

The truth is, I have no idea what kind of dog Sueshi is. When I first met her at the Virginia Beach SPCA in 2015, I was drawn to her sweet personality. I wasn’t looking for a specific breed; I was looking for a dog I connected with.

The notion of breed has undoubtedly been a hot topic over the years in animal sheltering. At most shelters, a dog’s breed is assigned at intake. It’s a quick visual identification made by a staff member. It’s not scientific or based on a DNA test. It’s a highly subjective guess based on a dog’s presenting features. That’s why you may have heard a story about that now 60-pound dog who was labeled a chihuahua mix as a shelter puppy.

Lots of people interested in animal welfare think that breed labels have done more to hurt dogs in shelters than help them. This is …read more

Source:: Los Angeles Daily News

Final-hour rally yanks Wall Street from maw of bear market

By DAMIAN J. TROISE and STAN CHOE

NEW YORK (AP) — Wall Street rumbled to the edge of a bear market Friday after another drop for stocks briefly sent the S&P 500 more than 20% below its peak set early this year.

The S&P 500 index, which sits at the heart of most workers’ 401(k) accounts, was down as much as 2.3% for the day before a furious comeback in the final hour of trading sent it to a tiny gain of less than 0.1%. It finished 18.7% below its record, set on Jan. 3. The tumultuous trading capped a seventh straight losing week, its longest such streak since 2001.

Rising interest rates, high inflation, the war in Ukraine, and a slowdown in China’s economy are all punishing stocks and raising fears about a possible U.S. recession. Compounding worries is how the superhero that’s flown to Wall Street’s rescue in the most recent downturns, the Federal Reserve, looks less likely to help as it’s stuck battling the worst inflation in decades.

The S&P 500 finished the day up 0.57 points at 3,901.36. The Dow Jones Industrial Average swung from an early loss of 617 points to close 8.77 higher, or less than 0.1%, at 31,261.90. The Nasdaq composite trimmed a big loss to finish 33.88 points lower, or 0.3%, at 11,354.62.

Because the S&P 500 did not finish the day more than 20% below its record, the company in charge of the index says a bear market has not officially begun. Of course, the 20% threshold is an arbitrary number.

“Whether or not the S&P 500 closes in a bear market does not matter too much,” said Brian Jacobsen, senior investment strategist at Allspring Global Investments. “A lot of pain has already been experienced.”

Many big tech stocks, seen as some of the most vulnerable to rising …read more

Source:: Los Angeles Daily News

A Beverly Hills salon owner who stormed the Capitol wants to rescind her guilty plea to a serious January 6 charge

Gina Bisignano shouted into a bullhorn to encourage others to enter the Capitol on January 6

Gina Bisignano called out, “We need weapons,” over a bullhorn at the Capitol on January 6.
She pleaded guilty months before her judge issued a decision favorable to accused Capitol rioters.
Bisignano said prosecutors “bullied” her into admitting that she obstructed an official proceeding.

A Beverly Hills salon owner asked Friday to rescind her guilty plea to the most serious charge she faced from the January 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol, arguing that federal prosecutors “bullied” her into confessing in court.

Gina Bisignano had pleaded guilty last year to six charges stemming from the January 6 insurrection, including obstruction of an official proceeding, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. In the court filing asking to undo her guilty plea, Bisignano pointed not only to the pressure she felt from prosecutors but also to a recent ruling in which her judge threw out another January 6 defendant’s obstruction charge based on a novel interpretation of the statute.

Bisignano’s defense team cited the March decision from Judge Carl Nichols, a Trump appointee, who ruled that the obstruction statute can only stand if a defendant is accused of “some action with respect to a document, record or other object.”

Prosecutors have interpreted the statute more broadly to charge accused Capitol rioters with disrupting Congress’ certification of the 2020 election results. To date, no other judge on the federal trial court in Washington, DC, has adopted Nichols’ narrower reading.

Other judges have described Nicholas’ interpretation as “strained” and “unnatural.” And earlier this month, Nichols indicated an openness to reconsider, saying he was “very seriously contemplating” a request from the Justice Department to revisit the ruling.

But Bisignano’s request underscored how January 6 defendants are nonetheless attempting to seize …read more

Source:: Businessinsider

Trust Stamp, a facial recognition company with a $7.2 million ICE contract, had dozens of peoples’ data exposed in breach

An asylum seeking migrant shows the phone he was given to take photos of himself for check-ins with Immigration and Customs Enforcement on March 31, 2022.

Trust Stamp, which has a $7.2 million contract with ICE for tracking migrants, has exposed dozens of people’s data in a data breach, Insider has learned.
Credentials meant for prospective clients to test Trust Stamp were posted publicly, leaving names and driver’s license data open.
The vulnerability, which has been resolved, did not appear to expose any migrant data. 

Trust Stamp, a government contractor that develops facial recognition and surveillance tools for agencies like Immigration and Customs Enforcement, left the personal information of several dozen people unsecured on a breached database, Insider has learned. This information included names, birthdays, home addresses, and driver’s license data.

An anonymous tipster who said they were a security researcher contacted Insider and disclosed the breach. Insider confirmed the authenticity of the data with the people named in the data leak. Trust Stamp then confirmed the security vulnerability and breach to Insider. 

In an email to Insider, Trust Stamp’s CEO, Gareth Genner, said that the exposed database was for prospective customers to test its product, and that most entries were “clearly invented data,” such as “Heidi Sample” or “Test Alaska.” A majority of the several-hundred user entries exposed in the breach were indeed for fake users as part of a so-called demo app, the security researcher found, but several dozen entries were of real people. Insider independently authenticated these people’s information as accurate. 

This breach comes shortly after Trust Stamp won a lucrative $7.2 million annual contract with ICE to monitor migrants processed at the southern border, using facial recognition and passive GPS tracking, as Insider previously reported. The company also has partnerships with MasterCard and a major US bank to process …read more

Source:: Businessinsider

Russia claims to have captured the last bastion of Mariupol from Ukraine’s final defenders of the city

A service member of pro-Russian troops stands guard on a road near a bus carrying Ukrainian soldiers, who surrendered at the besieged Azovstal steel mill in the course of Ukraine-Russia conflict, near Mariupol, Ukraine May 20, 2022.

Russia has claimed to have captured Mariupol’s Azovstal steel plant, according to state-owned media.
Azovstal marked the final pocket of Ukrainian resistance in defense of the bombarded port city. 
Russia’s capture of the city marks the end of a months-long devastating and deadly siege.

Russia claimed on Friday to have captured Mariupol’s Azovstal steel plant, where the final pocket of Ukrainian resistance was defending the bombarded port city. 

A Russian defense ministry spokesperson told the state-owned news agency TASS that the steel plant was “completely liberated” on Friday with the surrender of 531 Ukrainian fighters.

TASS reported that Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu informed President Vladimir Putin that Azovstal and Mariupol were under the control of Russian forces.  

This week, Ukraine evacuated many of its soldiers from the steel plant, where they had been holed up alongside civilians for weeks as Russian forces closed in on Mariupol. Aid organizations managed to evacuate civilians earlier in May through humanitarian convoys. 

Russia’s capture of Mariupol marks the end of a months-long devastating siege on the southern port city that officials say has left thousands of civilians dead.

A bombing campaign of Mariupol targeted a school, maternity hospital, theater, and shelters — reducing the city to rubble.

Azovstal eventually became Ukraine’s final stand in the strategic city, where Russia sought to establish a land corridor from occupied Crimea to the eastern Donbas region. 

Translations by Oleksandr Vynogradov.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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Source:: Businessinsider

Stocks claw back from edge of first bear market since 2020

By DAMIAN J. TROISE and STAN CHOE

NEW YORK (AP) — The stock market clawed back from a midday drop Friday after coming to the edge of its first bear market since the beginning of the pandemic. The S&P 500 ended 18.6% below the record high it set in early January. A 20% decline would have been considered the beginning of a bear market. The benchmark index, the heart of many retirement accounts, came back from a loss of 2.3% to end just barely in the green. Rising interest rates, high inflation, the war in Ukraine, and a slowdown in China’s economy have been worrying investors. The Dow erased a 600-point drop.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s earlier story follows below.

NEW YORK (AP) — Another fall for stocks on Friday has the S&P 500 flirting with a 20% drop from its peak set early this year, putting it within the grasp of what Wall Street calls a bear market.

The index that’s at the heart of most workers’ 401(k) accounts was down 0.4% for the day in afternoon trading and on pace for its seventh straight losing week, which would be its longest since 2001.

Rising interest rates, high inflation, the war in Ukraine, and a slowdown in China’s economy are all punishing stocks and raising fears about a possible U.S. recession. Compounding worries is how the superhero that’s flown to Wall Street’s rescue in the most recent downturns, the Federal Reserve, looks less likely to help as it’s stuck battling the worst inflation in decades.

If the S&P 500 finishes the day 20% or more below its record, it would mark the first bear market since early 2020, when the pandemic sparked an unusually brief downturn that sliced 34% off the S&P 500. It gave way to a powerful run where the …read more

Source:: Los Angeles Daily News

Imani — Rose and Monty’s chick from 2021 — spotted in Minnesota

Imani was spotted in Minnesota on May 16.

Provided/Steve Kolbe

And now some good news about piping plovers for Chicago.

Imani, a chick of beloved plover pair Monty and Rose, was spotted in Duluth, Minn. on May 16 and the sighting has been confirmed, according to the president of the Chicago Ornithological Society, Edward Warden.

Monty and Rose had nested in Chicago every year since 2019 after migrating from their wintering spots in Texas and Florida. This year, Rose has been no where to be found and died last week after arriving at Montrose Beach on April 21.

People have taken to social media to mourn the death, and some have organized memorials and commemorations.

Warden said Friday’s news brings hope.

“That’s the best that we can hope for,” Warden said. “That however long Monty and Rose were going to be with us, whether that was five years or 10 years, that their young would go on to continue their story.”

Rose and Monty hatched Imani on Montrose Beach in 2021 along with three other chicks. Only two survived. Siewka, the other chick, has yet not been spotted this year.

Warden said it’s not yet certain what Imani’s plans are. “We don’t know if he’s pursuing a mate or looking for a nest, or maybe will end up somewhere else in the Great Lakes,” Warden said.

Armand Cann, a biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, said plovers look for an ideal spot within their range.

Wherever Imani ends up, Warden said Chicago did its part to help piping plovers by ensuring Monty and Rose were successful in raising their young.

“As long as …read more

Source:: Chicago Sun Times

US stocks close mixed after the S&P 500 slides into a bear market amid recession fears

US stocks closed mixed Friday in a volatile session that saw the S&P 500 hit bear-market territory. 
The S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average extended weekly losing streaks. 
Retailers had a rough week after disappointing financial updates. 

US stocks erased steep intraday losses to close mixed Friday in a volatile session that saw the S&P 500 hit bear-market territory. 

Early Friday, US stocks rose after China’s central bank unleashed additional stimulus in the form of a rate cut, but Wall Street’s gains were short-lived as recession fears weighed. The S&P 500 eventually joined the Nasdaq Composite in a bear market as each index this year has logged declines of more than 20% from recent highs. 

The S&P 500 also cemented a seventh straight weekly loss, its longest such slump since 2001. The Dow Jones Industrial Average with eight weeks of declines marked the longest run of losses since 1923, according to Bloomberg. Investors this week struggled to get past disappointing financial updates from retailers including heavyweights Walmart and Target that raised alarm bells about consumer spending in an economy that depends heavily on shoppers.

Here’s where US indexes stood at 4:00 p.m. on Friday:    

S&P 500: 3,901.36, up 0.01%

Dow Jones Industrial Average: 31,261.90, up 0.03% (8.77 points)

Nasdaq Composite: 11,354.62, down 0.30%

“Another week of incredible market volatility makes it increasingly clear that a ‘buy the dips’ strategy is somewhat treacherous,” David Donabedian, chief investment officer of CIBC Private Wealth US, said in a Friday note. 

“Real-time economic data for May is beginning to show warning signs that the economy is slowing down. The markets are processing the rising risk of recession, which is one reason the equity market is fragile,” he said. The Federal Reserve has been raising interest rates to tame hot inflation that hit 8.3% in …read more

Source:: Businessinsider

DT Travis Jones is second in Ravens’ 2022 draft class to sign rookie contract

Ravens defensive tackle Travis Jones has signed his rookie contract, the team announced Friday.

Jones, a third-round pick, and running back Tyler Badie, a sixth-round pick, are the only players in the Ravens’ 11-man draft class who have signed. The projected value of Jones’ deal, according to salary cap website Spotrac, is $5.3 million, including a $1 million signing bonus.

The 6-foot-4, 327-pound Jones had 47 tackles and 4 1/2 sacks in 11 games for Connecticut last season before impressing at the Senior Bowl and NFL scouting combine.

“He’s a bigger guy,” Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta said after taking Jones No. 76 overall last month. “When you guys see him, he’s going to kind of harken back to some of the guys we’ve had come through here, some of the big guys we’ve had. He’s a legit 335-pound guy — carries his weight very well. And saying that, he’s got unusual quickness for his size. There’s a lot of development that can take place and will take place with our coaches.”

Still unsigned are safety Kyle Hamilton (first round), center Tyler Linderbaum (first), outside linebacker David Ojabo (second), offensive tackle Daniel Faalele (fourth), cornerback Jalyn Armour-Davis (fourth), tight end Charlie Kolar (fourth), punter Jordan Stout (fourth), tight end Isaiah Likely (fourth) and cornerback Damarion Williams (fourth).

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Source:: The Denver Post

Forecast eCommerce trends predicted for Amazon will beat expectations in 2021

Pandemic-driven demand for ecommerce accelerated sales growth for every product category.
And Amazon generates more than one-quarter of US ecommerce sales for every category other than auto/parts.

Do you work in the Ecommerce and Retail industry? Get business insights on the latest tech innovations, market trends, and your competitors with data-driven research.

The following is a preview of one Ecommerce & Retail report, the US Ecommerce by Category 2021 report. You can purchase this report here.

Amazon’s US ecommerce sales will grow by 15.3% this year to $367.19 billion after a meteoric 44.1% rise in sales during 2020.

Amazon’s US ecommerce sales will grow by 15.3% this year to $367.19 billion.

Ecommerce sales at many of Amazon’s competitors—including Walmart and Target—are growing faster, but Amazon’s sales are still growing faster than the overall market. Its share of US ecommerce sales will increase from 39.8% in 2020 to 40.4% in 2021, and at a gain of 0.6 percentage points, this growth will be larger than that of any other company this year.

Amazon eCommerce statistics – what’s changed:

Amazon sales blew past our pre-pandemic expectations for 2020. Before the pandemic, we estimated that Amazon’s US sales would grow 17.2% to reach $260.86 billion in 2020. Instead, they grew 44.1%, reaching $318.41 billion.

In line with overall ecommerce trends, Amazon’s US sales growth was higher than expected in 2020 across every category. The largest upward revisions were to food/beverage, which grew 78.5% in 2020, compared with our pre-pandemic estimate of 22.7%. “Other”—driven by increased demand for home improvement products—grew 58.0%, compared with our pre-pandemic estimate of 18.7%.

There are two verticals where Amazon receives the majority of US ecommerce sales: books/music/video (83.2% of all US ecommerce sales in 2021) and computer/consumer electronics (50.2%).

The ecommerce giant will receive more than 45% of US ecommerce sales dollars this year in three additional …read more

Source:: Businessinsider