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COMMΞЯCIΛL ΛWΛЯΞNΞSS | 15.04.24

COMMΞЯCIΛL ΛWΛЯΞNΞSS | 15.04.24

A rundown of things that you should know about from last week 15 | 04 | 24

  • SAMSUNG DETHRONES APPLE TO BECOME THE WORLD’S LARGEST SMARTPHONE MAKER AGAIN

Apple is no longer the biggest phone maker in the world, as South Korean owned Samsung is now officially the biggest cellular phone seller after taking the lead in the global market share.

However, this news is shocking to perhaps everyone except Samsung and Apple, as the former has been the biggest seller of mobile phones for 12 years until the final stretch of 2023, when iPhone sales eclipsed Samsung…until now.

Samsung’s now has a 20.8% global market share, while Apple’s share has declined to 17.3%. Global shipments also saw a 10% decrease in Q1 of 2024,

Apple’s ongoing antitrust case in the US, alleging monopolistic practices due to Apple’s dominance, holding over 70% of the US market. Additionally, Apple faces challenges in markets like China, where domestic brands hold significant sway.

For instance, Xiaomi now holds the title of the third largest smartphone maker with 14.1% of the market, which are all impacting Apple’s standing.

  • UK INFLATION SLOWED AGAIN IN MARCH – BUT A RATE CUT COULD BE SOME MONTHS AWAY

In the UK, inflation has fallen once more, bringing some relief to household budgets.

Average prices rose by 3.2% in the year leading up to March. Notably, meat prices dropped by 0.5%, and overall food prices saw only a modest increase.

The Bank of England aims for a 2% inflation rate, so with the current downward trend, we might expect interest rates to decrease soon. In 2022, inflation hit a peak of 11.1%, primarily due to soaring energy costs resulting from the conflict in Ukraine. Food prices also surged during this period.

However, there’s some good news now. Prices are starting to stabilise, and inflation is on the decline.

Still, it’s worth noting that prices are still going up, just not as fast.

  • DR MARTENS SUES TEMU OVER USE OF TRADEMARK

Grungy British footwear brand Dr Martens has launched a lawsuit against online retailer Temu, accusing it of trademark infringement.

Dr Martens alleges that Temu has used Google advertisements to promote boots on its platform, using keywords like “Dr Martens” and “Airwair.” As a result, it says, Temu’s knock-off products gained visibility over Dr Martens’ authentic ones in search results.

While Google allows advertisers to use trademarked terms in their keyword selection, it does ban ads that violate intellectual property rights. Despite this, Temu has spent around $1 billion on advertising outside of Asia in the past year, hoping to solidify its market position.

Temu, known for offering fake versions of popular brands at discount prices, has faced scrutiny over similar practices in the US market. Bernstein analysts recently discovered that Temu’s versions of branded items often appeared first in Google searches.

  • COVENTRY BUILDING SOCIETY MAKES £780M OFFER FOR CO-OPERATIVE BANK

Coventry Building Society has tentatively offered £780m to buy the Co-operative Bank from its hedge fund owners, in what could be the latest in a string of takeovers among UK lenders.

The offer follows nearly four months of exclusive talks between the two lenders, which began in December. If a deal is completed, it would create a new high street challenger with almost 5 million customers and an £89bn balance sheet

However, there are likely to be weeks of negotiation ahead before a deal can be finalised and both groups have stressed that there was still “no certainty at this stage” that a takeover would take place.

This deal is just one piece of the puzzle in the ongoing shake-up of the banking world.

Nationwide, the UK’s biggest building society, recently snagged Virgin Money for a hefty £2.9 billion. But there’s some pushback brewing. Virgin Money shareholders feel the 220p per share offer from Nationwide is not enough, so they’re pushing for a better deal.

  • TRUMP MEDIA STOCK PLUNGES 18%

Donald Trump’s media venture, Trump Media, has hit a rough patch weeks after its IPO.

Its share price has taken a dive, now trading at around $36 per share, nearly 50% lower than the $70 it hit during its IPO.

To raise more cash, Trump Media announced plans to issue new shares, but this move triggered a sell-off, dropping the share price to under $28.

Trump Media has also raised concerns with the Nasdaq about potential market manipulation, particularly through “naked” short selling.

Short selling, where traders bet on a stock’s price falling, involves borrowing stock to sell immediately, with the aim to buy it back at a lower price later. “Nakedshort selling, however, happens without borrowing the stocks first, which is illegal. Trump Media alleges this practice is affecting its share price.

Former President Donald Trump owns 60% of Trump Media stock, but he’s not allowed to sell any of it for at least six months after the IPO.

  • ASOS LOSSES WIDEN TO £120M AS SALES FALL 18%

ASOS has reported larger losses as cost-of-living pressures and stock reduction measures continued to weigh on sales. The online fashion retailer revealed adjusted pre-tax losses climbed to £120million in the six months ending 3 March, from £87.4million over the same period last year.

Its margins were significantly impacted by heavy discounting aimed at removing old stock accumulated during the peak of Covid-related restrictions.

ASOS did reduce its inventory levels to £593million, having set a goal to hold around £600million of stock by the end of this financial year. But the move also contributed to its half-year turnover slumping by 18 per cent to £1.51billion, with sales further hit by poor trade across major territories and shipping disruptions in the Red Sea.

In the UK, the group’s revenue declined by 16 per cent as the challenging economic backdrop discouraged its younger customer base from making clothes purchases. ASOS, also faces increasing rivalry from Chinese fast fashion brands Temu and Shein, whose sales have skyrocketed in recent years.

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