Strong indications are suggesting US consumers are starting to spend more on in-person experiences, with experiential spending hitting 91% of 2019’s pre-pandemic levels, according to research findings from The NPD Group. Spending in general merchandise retail has remained elevated at 19% above pre-pandemic levels. Accessories, beauty and apparel are receiving a boost from in-person sales. Additionally, sales of products that were popular during the pandemic continue to exceed pre-pandemic performance, including small appliances, technology, toys and houseware items.

The Asia-Pacific region was awash with festivities with the announcement of Teleperformance as the region’s growth and innovation top-performing leader in the Frost Radar™: Asia-Pacific Customer Experience Outsourcing Services Market, 2021 report. Teleperformance’s recognition was partly owed to its successful implementation of its global business continuity model to weather the pandemic and develop remote delivery.

Notable developments took place in the Middle East, with airline carrier, Saudi Airlines, confirming its partnership with Informatica, an enterprise cloud data management leader. The collaboration will help Saudi Airlines to modernize its data strategy and transform customer experience (CX) to support the region’s growth targets. This comes at a time when the Saudi Arabian government aims to position the country as a luxury travel destination through its Saudi Vision 2030.

French IT consultancy, Umanis, has been acquired by CGI for a reported fee of €310 million. CGI will inherit 3,000 IT professionals from the deal, who work from offices in France, Spain, Luxembourg, Morocco and Switzerland. Laurent Piepszownik, Founder and Executive Chairman of Umanis, highlighted the shared vision and values between the two companies, making them highly complementary in the acquisition. CGI is among the largest IT and business consulting services firms in the world.

A Canadian parcel service, Rivo, has partnered with shipping leader, eShipper, to deliver rapid air parcel services to small and medium-sized businesses across the North American country. Rivo, which is owned by Air Canada, will now have the largest carrier network in the region and the partnerships will enable a more seamless CX.

In general news, 70% of businesses believe they are delivering suboptimal hybrid customer journeys, according to a Forrester Consulting’s study, called ‘’Reignite Growth with Hybrid Customer Experiences.’’ The report focuses on the importance of businesses adapting to the demands and expectations of customers who expect a well-integrated mix of digital and in-person touchpoints. Regardless of using online or offline channels, customers expect a seamless experience, an expectation intensified by the pandemic.