Shocking Revelations from European Consumers

In a recent survey conducted by Ricoh Triple R research company to European customers, it revealed that European customers preferred to do business with companies that maintained a customer relationship. This list was topped by PayPal, followed by Yamaha Motor, Amazon.com and Apple Inc. Other organizations that made into the list chronologically included Samsung Electronics, Adidas, eBay, Microsoft as well as Google, Sony and Walt Disney. The last half of the 20 company list consisted of BMW, H&M, Marks and Spencer, Nokia, Carrefour, Philips as well as Pandora and Siemens. The last company on this list was Facebook.

 

This research revealed that European customers preferred brands that they felt as efficient, personal as well as responsive. In an interview with several customers, Triple R revealed that the customers preferred companies who customer service was taken care of by normal people other than machines and robots. The research was conducted on 3600 people from across Europe and targeted businesses from all industries without considering whether the businesses had incorporated digital solutions to their services. The Triple R is a model used by Ricoh Europe to determine how customers feel about the brand quality relationship. This took care of the commodity before it reached the consumer, during the response time and finally during retaining or purchase time.

 

The same research revealed that many European customers preferred companies that made them feel valued and part of something big. This brought about the necessity of good communication between businesses and their customers. The same brand showed that large percent of businesses care about the customer before they purchase a product, this number being 57 percent. After the purchase, only a small percent of companies care about the customers. The survey also revealed that European consumers wanted companies to adopt a new trend to care about the customers prior and after the purchase.

 

 

British Pound Drops While FTSE Makes New Highs

The pound sterling just dropped under $1.29 as Conservatives are losing their lead over Labour in election polls. The British Prime Minister, Theresa May, has called snap elections to get a new mandate before tough Brexit negotiations begin.

 

Since last June’s Brexit vote, the British currency has lost a lot of value due to economic and political uncertainty. Long gone are the days of high-flying pound. Ten years ago the British currency was worth almost $2.

 

According to the latest poll, MarketWatch reports, the Tories are only leading by 5 percentage points. The elections will take place on June 8th.

 

This political uncertainty has led to decline in currency, but the British stock market is doing quite well. The FTSE 100 Index has just made an all-time high, and now stands over 7,500. What is helping is the weaker pound. Since most of the companies on the FTSE 100 Index are multinationals, weaker currency is helping their exports and profits coming from foreign currencies.

 

Pharmaceutical companies such as GlaxoSmithKline and Hikma Pharmaceuticals picked up gains, and so did a consumer products giant, Univeler PLC.

 

Not all FTSE 100 companies are winning. About 14 percent of the index’s weighting comes from energy stocks. With low petroleum price, oil stocks got hammered.

 

However, down the line a bad Brexit would mean that the United Kingdom would lose access to the single European market and end up under WTO tariffs. Also, the City of London could get hammered. Many financial institutions there are already preparing to set up their operations in continental Europe.

 

 

 

Unity Technologies Finally Accepts Funding

Unity Technologies, the company behind the software which has been used to create a huge number of mobile games, including the great Pokémon Go, has accepted funding. On Wednesday, the company announced it had raised one hundred and eighty-one million US dollars of funds from investors such as Thrive Capital, West Summit Capital, and DFJ Growth as well as from a leading technology entrepreneur Max Levchin.

 

The company, based in Francisco is valued to be approximately or slightly over one point five billion US dollars, particularly after the funding.

 

Unity Technologies expertise in game engine

 

Unity Technologies is famous for its game engine, the code behind the captivating graphics and sounds in a game which handles all the basic operations. All game developers are aware of the huge role game engines play in the development process.

 

According to Unity Technologies, its engine is used by an estimated percentage of more than thirty-one percent of the top one thousand earning mobile games. The company also has it, that its software is applied in slightly about ninety percent of the content created by Samsung’s virtual reality platform, Gear VR as well as Facebook’s Oculus which uses mobile phones as its screen.

 

Unity’s augmented reality

 

Another prospective area of the success of Unity Technologies might be augmented reality, which attracted the interest of the public especially with the release of Pokémon Go.

 

John Riccitiello, the Chief Executive Officer of Unity Technologies, said in a recent phone interview carried out by The New York Times that the company does not have immediate need of money. The statement came despite Unity Technologies refusing to comment on its valuation.

 

Competitors of Unity Technologies

 

Like any other business, Unity Technologies faces stiff competition from other leading game engine maker. These leading companies include Tencent Holdings based in China and Amazon whose engines, such as Epic Games and Lumberyard respectively are typical for many game developers.

 

About Pokémon Go

 

Pokémon Go is a smartphone game available freely to the users. Since its release recently, Pokémon Go has attracted a lot of people from all walks of life. The game involves players doing their best to capture monsters from Pokémon. It makes use of some smartphone technologies such as a camera and location tracking.

 

 

Amazon Channels Expand in Europe

Amazon keeps on expanding. The giant company just announced that it’ll launch Amazon Channels in Germany and the United Kingdom, according to TechCrunch.com report.

 

Amazon will offer 50 on-demand channels in these two countries as part of its Amazon Prime service. This will allow viewers to see many popular channels without having to subscribe to a bundled package of channels. Each channel will cost between £1.49 and £9.49 a month, with the average being around £4.50.

 

Some of the popular channels will include Discovery, MGM, Filmbox, and Eurosport.

 

This will give freedom to subscribers when it comes to selection. They will also save money by not having to subscribe to unwanted channels. Amazon Channels will be available through Amazon’s video app as well smart TVs and Android apps.

 

Amazon is also looking to produce content itself. The company, for example, is interested in bidding for sports broadcast rights as well as music concerts. In the past, online companies such Twitter and Facebook had made deals to broadcast sports via their sites.

 

Amazon is also growing its relationship with Dish TV in the United States and has also launched Echo Show, which is home hub with a screen, and it is voice-powered by Alexa.

 

The competitors are taking notice, too. The ITV Hub gives its viewers a choice as to which channels to subscribe, including channels without ads.

 

Amazon has started in the 1990s as an online book seller. By now, it has grown to an e-commerce giant. A share of Amazon now trades for almost $1,000, more than 10 times up in 10 years. The whole company is valued at $476 billion, placing it among the largest stock market capitalizations in the world.

 

Service Sector Slows in UK Causing Troubling Economy Growth

In the UK, economic growth hit a new low at a rate of only 0.3% for the beginning of the year. According to the Office for National Statistics, this drop in growth was due to a decline in the Service Sector. The last time economic growth hit an all-time low was in 2016 when the rate was at 0.8%. The fact that the January-to-March period yielded more than a 50% decrease from last year is cause for worry amongst UK officials.

As inflation continues to rise, economists had planned for a decrease in Gross Domestic Product growth. However, their estimate remained at a hopeful 0.4%. Unfortunately, the reality is much different. While a 0.1% difference may not seem important, it is statistically significant. IHS Markit Chief Economist Chris Williamson reports that the rising costs have finally reached household spending.

As the Service Sector accounts for roughly 78% of the UK Economy, the decrease in spending is being felt by businesses nationwide. Restaurants, hotels and distributors took the largest hit falling by 0.5%. Retail trade was also inhibited as rising prices are continuing from the constant inflation. Overall industrial production was able to grow by 0.3% in the the first three months of 2017 thanks to the rise in motor vehicle output. On the other hand, agriculture has seen a slight decrease during this first period.

All of this decrease in sales is resulting from a lack in household spending. The rising inflation in the UK has reached a high level of 2.3% this March. During the fist period of the year, retail sales saw their largest fall in seven years. Businesses of all sizes are feeling the effects of the rising inflation. While the period from January-to-March typically sees lower sales, many companies fear this trend will continue into the following periods. After all, the inflation issue doesn’t seem to be curbing.

Boris Explains How Brexit Could Promote Trade in the United Kingdom

The United Kingdom joined the European Union in 1973. Two years later, it confirmed its membership through a referendum. In the 1980’s, a move or decision to exit the European Union was supported. Unlike then, the same movement is highly discouraged currently. Of late, the news headlines have been labeled with bold statements screaming Brexit. Although the United Kingdom has not made a decision to exit the European Union, investors and politicians have started predicting the future of stock markets in the region, in the case of Brexit. Boris Johnson explains that amidst all adversities, Brexit could be a good move for the people of the United Kingdom.

Export Business

While giving his first speech in the completed general elections, Boris said that Brexit would allow Theresa May to enter into business with the United States of America and India. As a result, there would be a trade in the foreign exchange market. This is good for business in the United Kingdom. Boris made it to the general elections campaign amidst sources from people that Theresa May, the serving prime minister of the United Kingdom, would take full credit for his victory. Boris further added that Brexit could mark the beginning of a new, positive era in the world of business for the United Kingdom.

Trade

Citing haggis, the staple food of Scotland, was banned in the United States of America as one of the products that can be exported for business. He also added that Scotch whiskey would make an excellent export venture. This brand has a heavy duty tax in India. Boris added that while walking in Uxbridge, he encountered a wooden display of counter. The proprietors were selling Toblerones. This was in Saudi Arabia. If the United Kingdom could hack such markets, it means that Brexit can be a good thing in the end.

What do we expect after Britain Invokes Article 50?

Did you know that the British referendum was not legally binding? For the British people to leave the European Union, they must invoke Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty that came to be in the year 2009. The Brexit is likely to affect European business in many ways especially now that Theresa May, the British Prime Minister has been authorized by the British Parliament to initiate the exit process. This means that if the European Union and Britain reach an agreement, all the treaties between these two bodies will cease to exist. Uncertainty is likely to increase if the European Union and Britain do not reach an agreement. Two years of negotiations will be added to undo all the treaties dating back to the formation of the European Union.

The British people have leverage in this deal allowing them to negotiate from a position of strength. This is from the fact that UK imports products from the European Union. However, experts say that if UK negotiators put a lot of emphasis on this notion, this argument will end up being counterproductive. There are concerns that if UK can gain better terms that when it was a member state, this is likely to encourage other member states to leave the European Union.

The European Union is also expected to accept some terms that portray is as weak just for economic gains. Experts also say that the stable nations in Europe economically are those nations that do trade with the United Kingdom. The major issues concerning Brexit are trade and immigration. Movement across Europe will become restricted for many Britons. Conducting business across Europe will also be complicated unlike before as they will be expected to produce more papers. It’s the desire of the British people to keep their relationship with the European Union as it is today. However, this is very unlikely, and a lot of changes are expected.

Manufacturing Output Growth Slows At End Of First Quarter Of 2017

The manufacturing PMI index decreased for the second consecutive month in March to 53.9 in March from 54.8 in February.

 

The Spanish manufacturing sector remained in the growth zone at the end of the first quarter of the year and business confidence remained high and well above the series average, which has already reached almost five years. Although there were also signs of a slowdown in the sector, as it is extracted from the PMI Index of the Spanish Manufacturing Sector made public today by Markit IHS.

 

Manufacturing production increased significantly in March, extending the current expansion sequence to 40 months. However, the pace of growth slowed for the third consecutive month and was the slowest since October 2016. According to Andrew Harker, senior economist at IHS Markit, the report data suggests some loss of momentum during the first quarter of the year.

 

The report notes that both production and employment rose in March, albeit weaker, and inflation has grown at its highest rate since April 2011 (71 months), just behind the January rise.

 

Markit stated that although there is still a strong monthly improvement in the health sector, the latest strengthening of business conditions was the weakest since October last year.

 

New orders also rose at a weaker pace, but higher customer demand continued to support overall expansion. New orders for exports increased sharply, but at the slowest pace of five months.

 

Pending orders continued to increase in line with the increase in new orders, but the pace of accumulation in March was moderate. Companies struggled to increase their capacity by hiring additional staff, but the rate of job creation slowed.

 

The rate of inflation of costs accelerated in March to the fastest in almost six years, having accelerated for the seventh consecutive month, and rose especially cotton, paper, plastics, steel, fuel and other by-products of the oil. There were indications of a shortage of raw material supply in March, the report notes in this regard.

 

Europeans Complain about McDonald’s

McDonald’s is facing complaints from groups in Italy, Germany, and France about its allegedly anti-competitive policies related to franchising. These complaints ask national competition regulators to look into chain’s practices, Investing.com reports.

 

The American fast-food chain has been accused of unfair franchising conditions and terms such as prices set for products sold at franchise units, which allegedly are higher than prices charged at company-owned units. This leads, the complaints state, to having franchisees charge higher prices than customers pay at outlets owned directly by McDonald’s.

 

So far, the French authorities have acknowledged that they received complaints but haven’t made any further comments. Meanwhile, the regulators in Italy and Germany haven’t responded yet.

 

More than 80 percent of all McDonald’s units are not owned directly by the company, instead they are franchised to private individuals and companies. So, any allegations that the franchisees are not treated fairly are of serious concern. McDonald’s has already responded. “Our franchisees set their own menu prices,” Terry Hickey, a spokesperson for the company claimed.

 

However, a large French consumer organization, Indecosa-CGT, claims that McDonald’s in France made franchisees charge higher prices. Meanwhile, several Italian consumer groups are withdrawing complaints made to the European Union, claiming the procedures are too slow. Instead, they’ll be proceeding with direct complaints to the Italian national competition regulators.

 

At the same time, other complaints involve claims of restrictions on suppliers, excessive rents for premises, and tying franchising deals with leases.

 

If found guilty of antitrust violations, the national competition authorities can fine a company as much as 10 percent of its global sales.

 

In 2016, McDonald’s Corporation had revenues exceeding $24 billion, with net profits of $4.6 billion. Its market capitalization exceeds $100 billion, placing it among the biggest companies in the world, and certainly one of the few dominant players in its industry.

European Union Leader Falls Further From Reality

The European Union bureaucrats get more and more ridiculous by the day. The European Commission’s President, Jean-Claude Juncker, just attacked Donald Trump for promoting Brexit, and threatened to support Texan independence as a revenge, states CNBC article. And it wasn’t April Fool’s Day joke.

 

“The newly elected U.S. president was happy that Brexit was taking place and has asked other countries to do the same,” Juncker stated. “If he [Trump] goes on like that, I am going to promote the independence of Ohio and Austin, Texas,” he continued.

 

In the past, Juncker had served as a Prime Minister of Luxembourg, an ultra-tiny nation of around half a million people. After, he has joined the EU’s bureaucratic ranks and is among the permanent faces on the European political scene.

 

The European Union bureaucrats are known for creating excessive and often ridiculous policies. In fact, the regulatory burden, on top of migration, was a reason for Brexit. The United kingdom has just began its two-year journey through exit negotiations. Some say, Britain is likely to be punished to prevent other member states from leaving.

 

Among the latest announcements, is the European Union’s plan to crack down on toasters and hair-dryers as devices considered to be harmful to the environment. The European Union also recognizes snails as fish, and bans bananas that have abnormal curvatures.

 

What’s more, the EU prohibits recycling of teabags and makes it illegal for children under 8 to blow balloons. Meanwhile, the taxes in Europe are high, deficits rising, while youth unemployment is high. In some countries, such as Greece, Spain, and Italy, it exceeds 20 percent.

 

The EU officials are out of touch with reality, and Juncker is just another example of how ridiculous the EU has become. Soon, this structure may as well collapse. Other nations are already considering their own “Brexits.”