Friday 19 January 2018

Grasping consumer trends key to boost in shares

Donal O'Donovan

Donal O'Donovan

CRISIS, what crisis?

Emerging corporate titans Google in the US and Paddy Power in Ireland have seen share prices hit all-time highs this week, and they are not alone.

It comes as last night Wall Street's most watched index, the Dow Jones Industrial Average, surged to its highest level since a year before the collapse of the Lehman Brothers investment bank.

That means the broad measure of confidence in corporate America has now wiped out all of the losses of the global financial crisis.

The same trend is being seen on the markets here, where investors are piling into the markets – especially businesses that survived the bust and look like emerging as the pillars of an increasingly stabilising economy.

Increasingly that means backing technology managers who can shift from the older "internet" to mobile.

Those seen as succeeding are being feted on the markets. Mobile is now regarded not so much as the future as the present. Mobile devices are the first stop for many consumers who not only access media over the phone and tablet devices, but manage their money, pay bills, and shop 24/7 without stepping inside a shop or switching on an old-fashioned computer.

Globally, Google is seen as the one most likely to succeed.

It's a household name, thanks to its search engine, but Google is on a high because it owns Android technology used by "smart" mobile phones made by numerous producers – and it's also winning the battle for mobile advertising.

Market leader

Closer to home, Paddy Power is regarded as a market leader, and not because of any superior ability to call the gambling odds.

It's because of its grasp of rapidly developing consumer habits and its ability to create products around changing habits,

With relatively few companies really seen as fully grasping the shift to mobile, those who have are being snapped up by investors.

The big surge in shares is a combination of that factor with markets that are buoyant anyway.

The shift to mobile and beyond is a big threat to traditional players, especially in the big traditional consumer markets.

The collapse of one-time giants like HMV is just one example of the ground being pulled from under old-school retailers.

Banks, booksellers and bookies all face equal challenges in the coming years.

Ireland is seen as a winner in the new, new economy.

Job losses here are being off-set by some big gains.

Google employs over 2,000 people in Dublin, so does Paddy Power.

Both are set for further expansion.

Irish Independent

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