Marketnewsupdates.com Market Commentary
Latin America is seeing insatiable demand for internet and smartphones among its population of 650 million. In fact, “smartphones have been instrumental in establishing Latin America as one of the world’s largest consumers of social media, with the vast majority of usage occurring over mobile networks,” reports GSMA Intelligence. In addition, some of the region’s leading markets are among the highest-ranked worldwide for total hours per week spent on the Internet, most notably on mobile devices, including Brazil, Mexico and Argentina. Some of the top companies that are benefiting from this growth trend include Cool Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ:IFON), Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), Samsung Electronics Co. (OTC:SSNLF), Telmex International and NII Holdings (NASDAQ:NIHD).
Whether it is Cool Holding’s recent acquisition of an Apple-licensed reseller that now provides it with a gateway to Latin America, or Samsung’s desire to tap the appetite of the region’s consumers, companies are just beginning to attract a significant amount of attention.
Latin America: The Smartphone Market is Booming
In 2012, smartphones accounted to fewer than one in 10 connections. Nowadays, smartphones account for six out of 10 mobile connections. That’s only expected to increase as much of Latin America experiences stronger economic growth, and as the new middle class seeks newer technologies. In addition, new technology upgrades and the evolution of smartphones will drive growth in the coming years.
There’s little wonder then that global e-commerce platforms and retailers are quickly investing in the Latin America, as well. China, for example, wants to build an Internet finance platform in Mexico, says Bloomberg. Smartphone company Transsion Holdings is setting up operations in Colombia. China Mobile Games & Entertainment plans to distribute mobile games in Mexico.
Samsung for example has captured nearly 30% of the Latin America market in the six most prominent markets – Brazil, Mexico, Chile, Argentina, Colombia and Peru. However, while Samsung may have considerable market share, sales of Apple iPhone devices are growing much more rapidly than those other brands, according to The Wharton School. In fact, Apple is still aggressively pushing to the region. It’s expected to open its first global flagship store in a Mexico City mall by 2019. Apple also signed a lease for its upcoming Antara Hall location, just months after opening its first store in Mexico’s Centro Santa Fe mall.
Even companies such as Cool Holdings Inc. (formerly InfoSonics Inc.) are widening their exposure to Latin America’s insatiable need for smartphones and other technologies.
A Cool Move into Latin America
Cool Holdings (NASDAQ:IFON) has just begun picking up considerable market share through acquisition. In fact, it recent closed a merger with Apple-licensed and reseller Cooltech Holding Corporation that now provides it with a gateway to Latin America and the potential for further expansion in the region. It’s important to note that Cooltech is one of just a limited number of partners under the Apple Premium Reseller and Apple Authorized Reseller Mono-Brand programs in Latin America.
“We are extremely excited to complete the merger and move forward to execute our strategy as an Apple licensed partner to grow our retail footprint under our OneClick branded stores,” says InfoSonics President and CEO Mauricio Diaz. “We are one of a limited number of partners under the Apple Premium Reseller and Apple Authorized Reseller Mono-Brand programs in Latin America and the United States, and hope to expand into other countries in the near future. In addition, we want to take advantage of the synergies between our distribution business and verykool, and provide all InfoSonics shareholders with the opportunity for growth to maximize the value of our Company.”
The OneClick stores offer Apple products and approved accessories, as well as hardware and software technical service centers where customers can take their Apple equipment for repair and maintenance. The company just opened its newest OneClick store in the El Solar Shopping District in Buenos Aires, Argentina. This represents OneClick’s sixth store in the country, with plans to open seven more new stores across Argentina.
Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) – Apple Inc. designs, manufactures, and markets mobile communication and media devices, and personal computers to consumers, and small and mid-sized businesses; and education, enterprise, and government customers worldwide. The company also sells related software, services, accessories, networking solutions, and third-party digital content and applications.
Samsung (OTC: SSNLF) – Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. engages in the manufacturing and selling of electronics and computer peripherals. The company operates through following business divisions: Consumer Electronics, Information Technology & Mobile Communications and Device Solutions. The Consumer Electronics business division provides cable television, monitor, printer, air-conditioners, refrigerators, washing machines and medical devices. The Information Technology & Mobile Communications business division offers handheld products, communication systems, computers and digital cameras. The Device Solutions business division comprises of memory, system large-scale integrated circuit and light emitting diode.
Telmex International – Telmex is a Mexican telecommunications company headquartered in Mexico City that provides telecommunications products and services in Mexico, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Brazil, Ecuador, Peru, Venezuela and other countries in Latin America.
NII Holdings (NASDAQ:NIHD) – NII Holdings, Inc., through its subsidiaries, provides wireless communication services to the individual consumers under the Nextel brand in Brazil. The company offers its services through wideband code division multiple access and long-term evolution networks. Its services include mobile telephone voice and wireless data, international voice and data roaming, and application-based radio connection services. The company also provides value-added services, including sports, music, and entertainment streaming capabilities; online education; and access to national and international WiFi hotspot networks.
For a more in-depth look atCool Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ:IFON),please read the full report on WallStreetNation.com.
How to overcome the ‘groundhog day’ effect Of remote working
By Chris Farmer, leadership and management training expert and founder of Corporate Coach Group
The ongoing pandemic means that for many people their place of work has been the lounge, the spare room or the ‘home office’ for more than the past six months. While it might have been a novelty at first, for many the lack of human interaction and spending so much time within the same four walls is becoming monotonous and this could lead to common bad habits which could destroy productivity and peace of mind.
In order to improve productivity and retrain the mind as we head into the winter period, here are some simple but powerful techniques you can use to make the most of working from home.
Don’t work in the room where you rest, relax or entertain yourself
Everyone is affected by their environment. We form strong mental-emotional associations between a particular activity and its location. When we are in a restaurant, we feel like eating; when we are in a swimming pool, we do NOT feel like eating.
When working from home, the associations between “Work” and “NOT-Work” become blurred because the two activities are taking place at the same location.
Consequently, both activities suffer. We feel we are never quite “at work”, and we feel we are never quite NOT at work. We feel we are in a strange “No man’s land” between the two states, and it is unsettling.
It is vital to separate our “work-space” from “rest space”. Ideally, you should have a separate room where you do all your work and NONE of your rest. Your living room is not where you work. If you do not have a separate room, then at least have a separate chair, and face an opposite wall.
We know people who work in their lounge. They sit in the same chair that they will be in, that evening, when watching TV. This is a mistake.
Dress for work, even when at home
Everyone is affected by the clothes they wear. When a police officer, a nurse, or a firefighter gets ready for duty, they put on their uniform. Why? Because every profession has its own identity; and every identity has an associated appearance.
Just because your physical place of work has changed doesn’t mean that your appearance needs to as well, and that’s not just because of video calls and meetings. It’s the same principle as working from your living room, if you adopt the identity of working in your casual clothes you will likely have the same mindset as you do when not at work.
We all know people who hang around the house in their dressing gowns and slippers, working with one eye on the TV and this is not conducive to productive working.
Dress as if you were going to work. Groom yourself as if you were going to work, because you are! When you have finished work, it is equally important to change back into your scruffs and relax.
Don’t allow the media to become your new best friend
People who work at home do not have the company of their colleagues, and so may turn to mainstream news for company. Everyone is susceptible to the suggestive influences of the media, which would be fine, if the media was objective and reasonably optimistic.
Unfortunately, the majority of headlines suggest; “It is bad and it’s going to get worse” and while it’s important for all of us to be aware of the latest updates regarding the pandemic and wider current affairs, it can also have the tendency to fill the mind with negative, pessimistic information.
The constant low-level hypnotic suggestions have an inevitable negative effect on our thoughts, feelings, actions and therefore our outputs. Avoid spending all of your time soaking your mind in the news agenda where possible such as through Facebook or Twitter and concentrate your attention onto something more productive to add value to your life.
Form a “Mastermind Alliance” with like minded people and talk to them every day
We are all profoundly affected by the company we keep and the voices we listen to.
Forming an alliance with two or three like minded individuals who (preferably), you do NOT work with, but who are in a similar position as you can be a really effective way of reminding yourself of the bigger picture and that in a sense we’re all in this together.
Your Mastermind Alliance may be from different companies or even a different industry but it is key this is composed of people who have an upbeat and can-do attitude.
Talk to them every day. The purpose of your mastermind alliance is mutual inspiration and emotional support. We ally ourselves with a small number of the right people: people whom we admire and who will challenge us to be at our best.
Keep good health habits; eat, sleep and exercise well
One of the basics that in particular needs to be prioritised as we head towards the winter is the focus on good health habits.
Why? Everything that we do in life requires energy – even if it’s just engaging your brain to perform your daily work from your desk at home. Energy defines your capacity to do work and it must be generated effectively to allow for maximum productivity.
This means you must maximise sleep, nutrition and exercise to generate sufficient energy while also minimising other negatives such as alcohol, calorific food and smoking, or using coping mechanisms such as comfort eating.
Instead, maximise the quality of your Sleep, nutrition and exercise.
- Sleep eight hours a night
- Eat small but eat well
- Exercise three times a week
- Avoid alcohol where possible
Keep your eye on the end goal
I know many of us are fed up of hearing this advice but it really is important to remember that this pandemic will not last forever. Life will return to some normality again and it’s important that we all continue to focus on our long term aspirations which we had before this all kicked off in March.
The human mind can tend towards one of two states: “goal focused” or “drifter mentality” and it’s important to focus on the former.
When working from home our biggest danger is that we lose our focus. We become distracted, disenchanted and we lose our edge. The solution is to continually monitor our state of mind and to do everything necessary to maintain a “Goal focused mentality”.
Goal focused mentality means continually setting goals: Set goals to:
- Improve your Work life balance (deliberately and knowingly separate your work activities from your non-work activities)
- Improve your dress code, grooming and appearance
- Maintain your professional identity
- Reduce your time on social media
- Engage the services of your mastermind alliance
- Increase the QUALITY of your nutrition
- Increase the quality of your sleep
- Reduce the amount of alcohol
- Increase the quality of your exercise programme.
- Generate more energy.
The only way out of trouble is to go forwards, by setting goals, formulating plans, motivating ourselves to take priority actions, and continually adapt ourselves so we are able to make progress, even when working from home.
Supply Networks: The Future of Procurement
By Sean Thompson, EVP of Network and Ecosystem, SAP Procurement Solutions
No supply chain has been spared by the impact of the coronavirus. Some parts of the world are indeed seeing businesses slowly look toward recovery and a gradual move to a ‘new normal’. But we cannot ignore that small shops and multinational corporations alike will continue to face challenges with regard to their manufacturing, distribution, logistics, and demand functions, as well as their overall financial well-being and that of their business partners.
A contributing factor to this disruption is the traditional, linear supply chain model, where each step is dependent on the one before it. Inefficiencies at one stage result in a cascade of inefficiencies down the line. And when the buyer and supplier are located at either end of the chain, it’s easy to see how collaboration breaks down and end-to-end visibility is nearly impossible.
The resulting reactive and uncoordinated response makes it challenging for procurement teams to know exactly which suppliers, sites, parts and products are at risk, and therefore, extremely difficult to secure new sources of supply in a timely manner.
Fostering the Partner Ecosystem
As businesses grapple with the ramifications of COVID-19, they must learn key lessons as they look to recovery. At the crux of this is rebuilding and restructuring resilient supply chains for a better future. This means moving beyond the traditional linear supply chain model to the implementation of a dynamic, collaborative supply network.
Unlike traditional supply chains, supply networks shift away from singular, point-to-point processes to a many-to-many structure that enables 360-degree visibility. Once an organisation is connected to a network, they become both a buyer and a supplier and gain broad visibility into the interconnected operations of their trading partners. Beyond allowing companies to identify emerging trends or issues more easily, access to a network also enables them to collaborate with new partners, improve cash flow, develop new products and accelerate sustainability.
Connecting to a network that includes producers, vendors, distribution centres, warehouses, transportation companies and retailers contributes to a businesses’ overall ability to move with agility, respond more quickly to demand and address unforeseen circumstances like those we’ve seen this year.
Building the Business Pillars of the Future
The global COVID-19 pandemic has suddenly accelerated the need for organisations to transform and respond to the unplanned and unprecedented. As a different world takes shape, longer term strategies for supply chains and operating models need to be re-assessed and prioritised in order for an organisation to advance in the following three key business pillars of the future: resiliency, profitability, and sustainability.
Digital transformation will play a major role for an organisation to withstand future disruptions and help pivot them toward recovery when disruptions do occur. In turn then, supply networks offer a holistic approach that enables greater transparency between trading partners and help organisations make decisions in real-time. Unlike linear supply chains, supply networks optimise operations and break down functional silos to enable organisations to realise the untapped potential of existing capabilities and achieve higher performance as well as greater value. Indeed, this is demonstrated by recent data from Bain & Company, which reveals how companies with resilient supply chains grow faster because they’re able to move quickly when market demand shifts.
When it comes to an organisation maximising its profit margins, resiliency and profitability go hand in hand. Businesses that run reliable, automated supply chains generate increased revenue because digital supply networks can smooth over any friction, and in turn, maximise the output. With automation and transparency in place, the ROI handles itself and the network becomes a profitability-driving tool.
Finally, businesses should always consider their sustainability goals; not only across their organisation, but within their supply network too. Beyond the need for creating long-term value, sustainability can foster innovation and encourage new ways of thinking that can ultimately lead to increased revenues, stronger customer relationships and improved brand perception. One way this is often addressed is by looking to reduce carbon footprints as a result of operations. However, sustainability exists deep within supply chains, like modern slavery and single-use plastics; these need to be addressed in equal measure too. The use of technology can help spot inefficiencies and risk so that today’s business leaders can instil long-lasting change and dig into the supply chains of their partners and suppliers, prioritising those who are also making sustainability a priority too.
It’s a New Dawn
Transforming from a supply chain to a supply network should support a business’ total digital transformation strategy. By taking advantage of the latest digital tools, businesses can remain resilient and scale at a rate that creates a competitive advantage.
An example of this done successfully is demonstrated by the Danish manufacturing company VELUX Group, which automated 64% of its 20,000 monthly order lines after digitally transforming supply chain operations and streamlining supplier collaboration. Now, the VELUX Group seamlessly conducts transactions with more than 200 vendors and enjoys improved processes, accelerated delivery dates and more time saved.
Digital supply networks are built to anticipate disruptions and mitigate risks. They leverage technology and data analytics to provide a continuous flow of information which allows business leaders to gain a holistic insight to all areas of the business. While moving to a supply network requires fundamental changes to many aspects of an organisation’s planning – from strategy, to business processes, to IT – the ability to keep up with fast-moving market dynamics is essential in today’s business environment more than ever.
Will covid-19 end the dominance of the big four?
By Campbell Shaw, Head of Bank Partnerships, Cardlytics
Across the country, we are readjusting to refreshed restrictions on our daily lives, as we continue to navigate the seemingly unnavigable waters of the coronavirus pandemic.
For all of us, the pandemic has made life anything but ‘normal’, and with social distancing here to stay, it will remain so for a long time yet. These paradigm shifts have impacted every aspect of life, including how we bank.
Focus is already turning to the role the big banks are playing through the pandemic, with experts fearing the economic downturn will only cement the position of the ‘big four’ traditional players.
But has the pandemic shaken the dominance of the big banks? Or has it simply confirmed their position?
Turning to tech
There’s no doubt that the pandemic has caused the big players to be challenged like never before on tech.
Classically slower to adapt to developments in the market, increased demand for online services and contactless payment systems have turbocharged the big banks’ need to act like a challenger.
And they have, agilely adapting to this new normal by updating systems and services to ensure customers’ safety and financial security come first.
Scale is staying power
In these new times, the power and influence of the big players has also been proven.
The big four have provided the lion’s share of the government-backed loans designed to help small and medium-sized businesses through the pandemic. It has also been the big four offering the majority of payment holidays for customers on their mortgages, debt and credit cards.
However, it’s important to note that their power to retain customers goes much deeper than their market share.
Our switching study, which looked at the reasons behind customer switching, found that even before the pandemic, despite nearly half (48%) of UK adults admitting they know they aren’t getting the best deal with their current bank, half have never switched their current account.
That’s often because of the value they can provide to their customers, through personalized service, offers and rewards that keeps customers engaged and invested in them. As brands increasingly look to
Focus on finances
As the world becomes a more financially insecure place, due to COVID-19, there’s been a marked shift towards more attention on finances, which has affected not only the business functions of banks but has impacted banking relationships with customers at their core.
From deals to savings, customers now more than ever are re-evaluating how they bank, and how they manage their money.
The impact on the big four is more pressure than ever to keep up with the best interest rates and deals. That can be difficult for a big, and often slower moving, organisation and could be a stumbling block for them in the months to come.
However, on the plus side, the big four can lean into their sophisticated loyalty schemes, using offers and deals from partner brands to demonstrate value to customers and build up their loyalty.
Engaging with purpose
The pandemic has seen many banks acting with a renewed sense of purpose. Banking has had to be more adaptable than ever before – fitting the needs of those who may be feeling financial stress or dealing with unprecedented challenges.
And showing a little heart can go a long way when it comes to increasing customer loyalty and boosting a bank’s reputation.
Over the last months, traditional banks have been quick to adapt their products and services, in response to the demands and challenges their customers have been face.
No doubt, continuing to build more meaningful, supportive and engaging customer relationships, whether it is online or on the newly reopened high-street, will be critical to banks’ dominance as we look to the future.
Bring on the challengers
However, with their meteoric rise ahead of lockdown, we must keep an eye on the challengers, who still have the potential to knock traditional players off their pedestal.
We found that more than three million people in the UK opened a current account with a new bank last year. Our research found that traditional banks made up well over half (69%) of the accounts UK adults switched from, while newer digital challenger banks such as Monzo, Starling Bank and Revolut made up 25% of current accounts switched to. And these fast moving, fast growing challengers may see further growth if traditional banks are stifled by the declining high-street.
What’s more, the high street could yet prove to be the Achilles heel of the bigger players, as shifting budgets and increasing overheads in the context of a more online banking experience could see more big players struggle with their physical presence, making way for the digital challengers to thrive.
So, while the dominant players may have the lead, they should still keep an eye on the challengers as we look ahead to the next, uncertain, six months.
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