247. The trends changing the world…and how to invest in them
The Invesco Global Focus fund has a refreshingly simple approach: understand the structural trends...
I admit it. I’m a huge nerd. I love random (and generally useless) pieces of information, especially when it comes to technology. For example, did you know that the common keyboard (QWERTY) was designed to actually slow down the speed at which we type? It stems from the original typewriter designs when metal arms would often jam if you typed too quickly.
Gunmaker Remington manufactured the design and very cleverly offered the very first typist certifications. The result was that offices across the United States were stocked with QWERTY keyboards. And despite all the wonders and progress of technology, we continue to use it, even though it’s proven less efficient. Talk about brand loyalty and good marketing.
“Business has only two functions — marketing and innovation.” — Milan Kundera, author
Amazon is a marketing giant. Although it is arguably best known for next day shipping, its AWS software is a key part of the businesses success. When you have loyal customers and the power of the internet behind you, you can take a few chances, including a hair salon…
Amazon’s very first Amazon Salon will soon be opening in East London, where it will trial the latest industry technology. This includes an augmented reality app that lets customers see what different hair styles and colours look like on them before they decide on a change. Amazon has announced no future plans for a Salon rollout, and I suspect it’s more of a marketing stunt than anything else, as the announcement coincided with the launch of Amazon’s online Professional Beauty Store. This new store allows business owners can get access to distributor prices with valid beauty credentials.
Beauty isn’t the only area where Amazon is branching out. Amazon Pharmacy launched last year in the US and there’s concern about the move to the UK. Amazon is not only a marketing giant, but it has the logistics network to out-dispense Boots or your local independent pharmacy.
Similarly, yesterday, it launched Amazon’s Pet Pharmacy. The website now fulfils restricted medication for your pets (Advantage flea treatment, for example) alongside non-restricted medication. Chris St John, manager of AXA Framlington UK Mid Cap, talks more about pet ownership in the UK in this recent podcast.
And Amazon didn’t stop there. In the US it has begun rolling out biometric payment technology at Whole Foods, the grocery chain it acquired back in 2017. Amazon One, the technology behind it, allows customers to associate a credit card with their palm print. Is this the new contactless payment method?
Amazon is a holding in these Elite Rated funds: Invesco Global Focus*, Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust*, T. Rowe Price US Large Cap Growth Equity** and Threadneedle Global Extended Alpha*.
Last week, Apple announced new product refreshes for iMac, iPad Pro and more, Including the new iMac in a variety of vibrant colours – a throwback to its original coloured desktops, and utterly beautiful. It’s also a great example of design and marketing – tapping into millennial nostalgia. I can remember using an original bulk red Mac – it’s where I learned to type! – and would love to use a modern version.
Another feature the company revealed was Apple Card Family. Apple Card Family is aimed at helping families build credit together. This could be very beneficial for young people. Family Sharing will allow parents to give kids as young as 13 access (with spending limits) to help teach better money habits. For those over the age of 18, the joint family card can allow them to start building a strong and healthy credit history.
As a reminder, in a traditional model, the primary account holder receives the benefit of building a strong credit history, while the other doesn’t. This tends to impact women more as typically the husband is listed as the primary account holder. According to Jennifer Bailey, Apple’s vice president of Apple Pay, “We designed Apple Card Family because we saw an opportunity to reinvent how spouses, partners, and the people you trust most share credit cards and build credit together.”
Understand these five credit card myths you shouldn’t believe
Apple Card, is run by Goldman Sachs using the Mastercard platform, a holding in Brown Advisory Global Leaders. Unfortunately, Apple Card is currently only available in the US and there’s still speculation as to if and when it might become available in the UK. However, it’s comparable to other challenger banks like Monzo and might spark similar changes from these companies.
Apple is a holding in these Elite Rated funds: AXA Framlington American Growth, BMO Responsible Global Equity, Fidelity Global Special Situations.
*Source: Fund factsheet, 31 March 2021
**Source: T. Rowe Price, 28 February 2021
***Source: Fund factsheet, 28 February 2021