TGIF! September 2, 2016

Do you remember life before your smartphone?  Could you imagine living without it now?  Most people can’t go a day without using their phone.  Some couldn’t make it an hour.  It’s a connected world we live in, for better or for worse.  Besides, talking is no longer the primary function of a telephone today.  Companies that are tied to smartphones have experienced stellar growth over the years.  Retailers had to adjust their business models to compete.  Start-up companies have flourished.  Information travels at the speed of light and the worldwide web is always open.  It is certainly having an impact on our society.

There are expected to be 2 Billion smartphone users by the end of the year and growing.  That’s over a quarter of the global population.  The fastest growth continues to come from emerging markets.  In fact, developed markets, such as Europe and the United States, are expected to see smartphone usage shrink the next 5 years, while emerging markets are expected to see 5% annual growth by the end of the decade.  Pretty much, everyone who wants a smartphone already has one in the developed world.

You might be surprised to know that the global smartphone market is dominated by Google’s Android operating system.  Android phones have 85% marketshare. Apple’s iPhone is a distant second with 14%.  Traditionally, the iPhone is more popular in economically developed countries.  That’s no surprise, iPhones are generally more expensive.  The iPhone has roughly 40% marketshare in the U.S. and Europe.  It has over 50% in Japan.  Android has a pretty solid stronghold in Asia and Africa. 3 out of 4 smartphone users in both China and India today have an Android phone.   But that’s changing.  Apple is gaining significant traction in these 2 most populous nations.

Samsung is a large producer of Android phones.  It was a bad week for them.  Samsung recalled its brand new Galaxy 7 phones due to exploding batteries.  That’s an unfortunate situation for Samsung and its customers.  It certainly doesn’t hurt Apple and demand for the iPhone ahead of the next launch coming up.  The competition continues.

I was at back-to-school night Thursday and one of my daughter’s teacher said something interesting.  She said that she doesn’t want the kids to spend more than 40 minutes per night on homework.  She would prefer them to spend time having dinner with the family if possible, play outside and use their imagination.  “Kids need to be kids”, she said.  I thought it was great.  Kids today are so programmed with curriculum and activities.  They’re immersed in high-tech.  Making sure they’re still exposed to “low-tech” activities is a good idea in my mind.  Looking out for the next generation always has to be a priority.  Competition is fierce and stress is sky high.  As a side note, I still can’t believe that school starts before Labor Day these days.

Speaking of labor, the August job report showed fewer jobs were created than anticipated.  It was still a solid number.  This key economic datapoint suggests the Fed will not raise rates at their September meeting.  Both stocks and bonds liked the news.  The DOW and S&P remain near their all-time highs.

Happy Labor Day!  I’m curious to hear who can go the longest without using your phone this weekend.

We’ll be back, dark and early, on Tuesday.


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