Today In Data: Cash Flow Concerns, Holiday Spending Bumps And Amicus Briefs

Today in PYMNTS’ data, employees are stealing from their employers, Amazon’s voice-activated virtual assistant Alexa is contributing to contextual commerce, Australian small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are experiencing cash flow concerns, data shows holiday shopping is seeing its best year yet and amicus briefs are being submitted by consumer advocates.


Here are the numbers:

$50 billion | The amount that market research firm Statistic Brain found employees steal from small businesses every year. In fact, 75 percent of employees have reportedly stolen at least once from their employers. Separate research from insurance provider Hiscox found businesses of all sizes lost an average of $1.13 million each from employee theft in the last year alone.

25,000 | Number of activities that Amazon’s Alexa’s skill set currently includes, and it continues to evolve into a more tailored and personalized experience for consumers through innovations in technology. This is especially true in contextual commerce, linking call centers and the voice-activated realm to create the next (possible) big thing in commerce.

39 percent | Portion of Australian SMBs that have reported cash flow concerns were top of mind, according to a survey by accounting software and business solutions provider MYOB. Operating costs were a close second, cited by 37 percent, and more than 25 percent agreed that technology could be instrumental in helping them manage cash flow and other items.

11.9 percent | Holiday shopping spending bump seen on Thanksgiving and Black Friday this year, according to Glenn Fodor, senior vice president of competitive intelligence and data analytics at credit card processing and payment solutions provider First Data. “You can look at the strong performance on Black Friday/ Thanksgiving,” Fodor said. “That was its best year since 2015, with an 11.9 percent bump on the weekend. But unlike 2015, when that holiday shopping weekend [saw a] 10.6 percent jump in sales, that bump came at a cost of the rest of the season. We haven’t see that this year.”

5 | The number of separate amicus briefs submitted by consumer advocates, attorneys general, lawmakers and consumer finance scholars. One brief is signed by 30 current and former members of Congress, including Dodd-Frank architects Barney Frank and Christopher Dodd. That brief explicitly explains that the intent of the Dodd-Frank law was to see the deputy director take over in the absence of the director to insulate the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) from politics.