MarketLine Blog

Posts written in February 2014

Motorcycles sales stuck in neutral

MarketLine

After a brief recovery in 2011, the global motorcycles market contracted again in 2012-13, with the European region showing the steepest decline. According to the Motorcycle Industry European Association (ACEM), the European market has now hit rock bottom and 2014 should see a slightly more positive sales performance. In addition to general weak economic conditions, motorcycle distributors blamed poor climate, especially the long lasting winter in 2013, for negatively impacting on sales. In the UK, the market for motorcycles is taking longer to recover than the car market, as the… Read more

Another American dream over: the failure of Tesco PLC in the US

MarketLine

Tesco joined a growing list of failed British retailers in the US – including J Sainsbury and Marks & Spencer, as it finally disposed of its US venture Fresh & Easy in November 2013. The scale of losses the company incurred is astonishing- amounting to £1bn in just 6 years. Just how did Britain’s largest grocery retailer, with numerous international businesses, fail so badly? The difficulties faced by Tesco’s Fresh & Easy US venture may be best understood as an interaction between macro-economic problems in the US economy and conceptual… Read more

Cadbury investing heavily in sales to expand market in India as sales slip

MarketLine

According to the Indian Times, Cadbury brand owner Mondelez International is investing heavily in sales and route-to-market expansion in India, a priority market for the American food giant where sales have slumped to their lowest since 2005. Cadbury’s factory was set up in India in 1948 and the brand is a significant player within the confectionery market with a value market share of over 70% (in the chocolate category). Cadbury Dairy Milk is considered the ‘gold standard’ for chocolate in India.  Cadbury has six company- owned manufacturing facilities in India… Read more

Tim Cook needs to take a bite into Apple’s innovative core

MarketLine

Following his death in October 2011, Steve Jobs was always going to be a tough act to follow. He was named CEO of the decade by Fortune Magazine in 2009 and turned a loss making company into the world’s most valuable one. The increasing sales revenue the new CEO, Tim Cook, has managed in a more competitive market, saturated with similar products, is therefore very impressive. Selling 150m iPhones in 2013, compared to 72m in 2011 is no mean feat, either operationally or in terms of obtaining the sales. However,… Read more

The importance of providing a multichannel, personalized experience to retail consumers

MarketLine

An IBM study of 30,000 respondents found that consumers were willing to share their personal information, such as their current location via GPS, mobile number, and social media handles, particularly if they received good value in return. 36% of consumers were willing to share their location, 38% would share their mobile numbers, and 32% would share their social media handles with retailers. Jill Puleri, IBM Retail Global Industry Leader explains, “Today’s consumer has been conditioned by multiple industries — from healthcare to travel — to expect personalized interactions across different… Read more

Heartbreaking Policy Choice

MarketLine

The pace of the economic recovery in the Eurozone should have been dictated by an active policy aimed at expanding the loans base to consumers. The expansion of loans to consumers would have been translated into more consumption, investment and, consequently, economic growth. This policy choice is an economic reality in the United States and the United Kingdom but not so in the Eurozone. The increase in government expenditure, which was the other policy option available to reduce the size of the economic contraction, had been discarded a few years… Read more

The Iranian nuclear deal: international firms look on with anticipation following diplomatic breakthrough

MarketLine

Decades of abrasive diplomacy and mutual suspicion about the Iranian government’s decision to engage in uranium enrichment have led to strong sanctions from the international community. Following the election of more conciliatory presidents in both the US and Iran, negotiations to temporarily lift economic sanctions in exchange for slowing in progress of uranium enrichment have been achieved. Iran has faced economic sanctions since 2002 because of its desire to enrich uranium and intransigence in clarifying its purposes to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) about its use. The United Nations… Read more

Microsoft’s new CEO – opening the window to a fresh start?

MarketLine

Microsoft’s newly appointed CEO Satya Nadella faces a number of challenges as he takes over leadership of the technology giant. In recent years Microsoft has been criticised for failing to adapt quickly enough to technology trends such as the switch to mobile. Microsoft has been criticised for being too reactionary with its new technology products, and for bringing new products to market too late to be able to secure a large market share. This has been partly blamed on the company’s need to be more conservative than competitors to appease… Read more

The i has it

MarketLine

Newspapers are the oldest of the mass media, but might their sometimes glorious (and occasionally scurrilous) history be coming to an end? Having seen off the challenge first of radio and then of television, printed news in the UK is now under serious threat from digital media. But one publisher has made a counter-intuitive decision. The sales figures tell a story of long-term decline. Looking at the 2002-2012 period, circulations of UK national daily newspapers fell every single year. For the mass-market tabloid segment, the annualized rate of change was… Read more

The container shipping capacity glut; is Maersk Line’s gluttonous Triple-E vessel and the P3 Network the answer?

MarketLine

Maersk Line, the world’s largest container shipping company, has gained notoriety for the development of its Triple-E container ship, taking delivery of the first tranche of in mid-to-late 2013. At almost 400 meters in length, and with a capacity of 18,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU), the vessels have been delivered at a time when excess capacity is hobbling the container shipping industry, proving somewhat controversial. Designed specifically for slow-steaming, to reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions, Maersk Line saw its economies of scale benefit, however critics pointed out that current… Read more

CVS tobacco sales up in smoke

MarketLine

Earlier this week (Wednesday February 7th), the second largest drugstore chain in the US, CVS, announced that it is going to cease sales of cigarettes by October 1st. In doing so, it blazed a trail as it became the first US drugstore operator to announce such a move. Why is a company that brands itself ‘America’s largest integrated pharmacy healthcare provider’ selling tobacco products in the first place? Surely this goes against the company’s stated aim of improving people’s quality of life? The answer is, unsurprisingly, it’s profitable. Shares in… Read more

Rare earths: rising prices, hidden costs

MarketLine

Will our search for environmentally-friendly energy end up damaging the environment? It could be so. An article in the Guardian this week (03 February 2014, bit.ly/1bUgEVa) describes the threat of pollution from mining rare earth metals, among whose applications are the powerful magnets used in wind turbines and electric car motors. They are also vital raw materials in other high-tech manufactured products from catalysts to optical fibers. Rare earth metals are not actually all that rare, but finding ore bodies with high enough concentrations to mine them economically is difficult…. Read more

Super Bowl XLVIII: $4m per 30 second ad? Not quite.

MarketLine

Last night, New York played host to the Greatest Show on Earth as the Seattle Seahawks took on the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII. Record numbers were expected to tune in as the NFL’s leading offense faced off against its most miserly defense, the much-vaunted ‘Legion of Boom.’ This was music to the ears of host broadcaster Fox, who looked to cash in on companies’ desire to reach as many eyeballs as possible, setting the price for a 30 second ad at around $4m. But is the situation that… Read more