Category Archives: Digital Lifestyle

Thematic Reads: May 10, 2021

Thematic Reads: May 10, 2021

Thematic Reads

Each week Team Tematica consumes an immense quantity and range of content as we look to stay on top of the latest data and mine it for tailwind and headwind signals for our investment themes and indices.

Cleaner Living
Growing demand for items that claim to be better for you and the planet:

The clean movement is probably definitely the biggest thing to happen to the beauty industry in a long, long time. Just take a look around the next time you head to a major beauty retailer like Sephora, Ulta, or Target: Whole entire sections—both IRL and virtual—are now dedicated to showcasing the best skin, hair, and makeup products in the clean space.
Everything you need to know about the Clean Beauty movement.

Consumer habits are evolving, people have started to be concerned about what they are putting into their bodies, which in turn initiated a clean eating movement across the world. Now the emphasis pivots to what they are putting on their face. While commercial beauty brands are restructuring their beauty strategy, natural beauty products such as Tata Harper are feeding the needs of the new green consumer.
– The Rise In Clean Beauty Brands

House Democratic leaders are lining up behind a White House push to allocate $8 billion in taxpayer funding for the latest iteration of mail truck, paving the way for a fully electric fleet instead of the piecemeal strategy U.S. Postal Service leaders have been pursuing.
Push to electrify mail trucks gains wide support, an unlikely win for both DeJoy and Biden

Synergy Flavors (part of Carbery Group) has acquired savory flavor and ingredient supplier, Innova Flavors, from Griffith Foods Worldwide, ramping up its savory product development of plant-based alternatives.
Synergy Flavors acquires Innova Flavors fueling plant-based food and beverage product development.

Mercedes-Benz is giving a sneak peek of an electric van that’s among the models broadening its battery-powered range over the next year. The electric iteration of the Mercedes T-Class, dubbed EQT, will accommodate as many as seven passengers and launch in 2022, Daimler AG’s main division said Monday. It will flank the Citan commercial van due to be introduced later this year, a version of which will be battery-electric.
– Mercedes Unveils Electric Van for Growing Battery-Powered Lineup

 

Cyber Security & Data Privacy
Securing individuals and organizations against cyber threats and privacy violations:

A text-message scam that infects Android phones is spreading across the UK, experts have warned. The message – which pretends to be from a package delivery firm, prompts users to install a tracking app – but is actually a malicious piece of spyware.
Flubot: Warning over major Android ‘package delivery’ scam

Top U.S. fuel pipeline operator Colonial Pipeline has shut its entire network after a cyber attack, the company said in a statement on Friday. Colonial’s network supplies fuel from U.S refiners on the Gulf Coast to the populous eastern and southern United States. The company transports 2.5 million barrels per day of gasoline, diesel, jet fuel and other refined products through 5,500 miles (8,850 km) of pipelines. Colonial Pipeline says it transports 45% of East Coast fuel supply.
– U.S. pipeline operator that transports 45% of East Coast fuel shuts entire network after cyberattack

Researchers on Thursday reported that despite a 50% increase in mobile device management (MDM) adoption during the past year, average quarterly exposure to phishing attacks on mobile devices in the financial sector rose by 125% – and malware and app risk exposure increased by more than five times.
– Financial sector saw a 125% increase in mobile phishing attacks during 2020

Apple (AAPL) recently rolled out its highly anticipated App Tracking Transparency feature with iOS 14.5, which lets users decide whether apps track their activity for targeted advertising. Overwhelmingly, users seem happy to leave app tracking disabled. Just 4% of iPhone users in the U.S. have agreed to app tracking after updating their device, according to the latest data from Verizon-owned analytics firm Flurry.
– Too Bad, Zuck: Just 4% of U.S. iPhone Users Let Apps Track Them After iOS Update

“Identity Security is at the center of every major industry tailwind, including digital transformation, zero trust, hacker innovation, and compliance. Digital transformation and the explosion of technologies applications and automation tools are not only blurring the line between a privileged user and a workforce user, but also between human users, applications and bots.”
CyberArk Software (CYBR) earnings conference call (May 5, 2021)


Digital Infrastructure & Connectivity

The Buildout and upgrading of our Networks, Data Storage Facilities, and Equipment:

This week I want to talk digital infrastructure, again. I say again because my most recent Financial Times column focused on the topic. In that column I probably was not as explicit as I should have been about why I think investors need to have some exposure to digital infrastructure. I am going to pass over the obvious demand drivers – you’d have to be in a cave not to understand what’s going on with the internet, digitalisation, 5G etc.
Stevenson: Put 10-20% of your assets in digital infrastructure

Cristiano Amon, the CEO-elect of mobile-phone chip maker Qualcomm (QCOM), rubs his hands in glee when you ask him to talk about 5G. And for good reason: The speedy new wireless standard is creating boom times for his San Diego–based company, which reported 52% revenue growth in its latest quarter.
Qualcomm Is a 5G Winner. Here’s Why the Company’s New CEO Is So Bullish on the Future.

The world’s digital connections are about to become broader and faster, providing a platform for every industry to boost productivity and innovation. We have identified hundreds of use cases across more than 17 commercial domains that can run on an enhanced digital backbone. This research focuses on four of them: mobility, healthcare, manufacturing, and retail.
– Connected world: An evolution in connectivity beyond the 5G revolution

“Globally, 5G deployment is still in an early stage given that less than 20% of the global operators that currently use LTE have deployed 5G. The U.S. and Northeast Asia markets continue to deploy 5G aggressively for both public and private networks.”
PC-Tel (PCTI) earnings conference call (May 9, 2021)

 

Digital Payments & FinTech
Companies leveraging technology to disrupt and improve the financial services and payments industries:

The pandemic has not only altered consumers’ shopping behaviors, but it’s also changed how they pay for goods and services. A significant number of people in the US were already using proximity mobile payments regularly before the pandemic—about 72 million in 2019, according to our estimates. As more consumers experimented with different forms of payment in 2020, however, the number of proximity mobile payment users in the US rose by 29.0% year over year to 92.3 million. We expect the user base to surpass 100 million this year and growth to continue steadily through the end of our forecast period in 2025.
– More than 100 million Americans will use proximity mobile payments in 2021

The Mastercard (MA) New Payments Index shows 95% of Middle East and North Africa (MENA) consumers will consider using at least one emerging payment method, such as cryptocurrency, biometrics, contactless, or QR code, in the next year. Over two-thirds of respondents (65%) agree they have tried a new payment method they would not have tried under normal circumstances, but the pandemic has galvanised people to try flexible new payment options to get what they want, when they want it.
– Mastercard’s Payment Index Shows 95% Of MENA Consumers Want To Try New Digital Payment Methods

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the Bank of Thailand (BOT) today launched the linkage of Singapore’s PayNow and Thailand’s PromptPay real-time retail payment systems. The first of its kind globally, the linkage is the culmination of several years of extensive collaboration between MAS and BOT, both countries’ payment system operators, bankers’ associations, and participating banks.
– Singapore and Thailand Launch World’s First Linkage of Real-time Payment Systems

The adoption of digitisation in trade finance has been something of a “slow burn” as practices have historically relied on the transfer of paper documents between involved parties and largely manual processes. This vitally important area of financial services has trailed behind the digitisation progress that has been made, especially in the last decade, in consumer and retail banking.
– Digitising trade finance: the next frontier for financial services innovation


Thematic Dividend All-Star
Combining the power of rising dividends and thematics.

The first quarter’s uptick in interest rates has some investors concerned about the potential for stock market headwinds. But unlike bonds, stocks often rise in value when interest rates increase. Dividend growth strategies that focus on companies with the longest track records of consistent dividend growth tend to be all-weather strategies that have performed well during a variety of interest rate environments.
– When Interest Rates Are Rising, Your Dividends Need To Be Growing


Sustainable Future of Food
Companies addressing the challenge of providing healthy, affordable and nutritious food to a growing global population amid dwindling natural resources.

Wunda is a ‘fully versatile’ milk alternative for baking, cooking, frothing, and drinking either hot or cold, according to Nestlé, who is rolling out the new brand in France, Portugal, and the Netherlands.
Nestlé develops pea-based alt milk with “neutral taste” for versatility

Tyson Foods is expanding its plant-based protein line Raised & Rooted into hamburger patties and grounds, bratwurst and Italian sausages.
– Tyson expands Raised & Rooted offerings further into competitive plant-based market

Two-thirds (67%) of consumers consider it important that the products they buy are in recyclable packaging, and the same percentage consider themselves environmentally aware — the same share as before the pandemic, according to Trivium Packaging’s 2021 Global Buying Green Report.
– Consumer demand for sustainable packaging holds despite pandemic

During the past 50 years, the world’s population has grown about 2.1 times, and consumption has grown more; for some goods, much more. Between 1968 and 2018 (the most recent year for which we have global data), production of both primary energy and of steel rose 3.4 times, that of meat grew 3.5 times, and that of grain grew 2.6 times. The total number of cars on the world’s roads rose sixfold, and the number of revenue-generating passenger-kilometers flown (an industry metric) grew by about 24 times. But the rise in aquacultural production beats them all.
– The Fabulous Growth in Aquaculture

 

Tematica Research Indices

 

Thematic Reads: April 26, 2021

Thematic Reads: April 26, 2021

Thematic Reads

Each week Team Tematica consumes an immense quantity and range of content as we look to stay on top of the latest data and mine it for tailwind and headwind signals for our investment themes and indices.

Cleaner Living
Growing demand for items that claim to be better for you and the planet:

 Volvo AB (VOLVF), the world’s second-largest truck-maker, is looking to generate half of its sales in Europe from electric vehicles by 2030. The company recently announced three new heavy-duty electric trucks designed for intercity regional transport and urban construction. Production of the trucks is expected to start in the latter half of 2022.

Toyota Motor (TM) introduced the Toyota bZ4X Concept, the first of a global series of battery-electric vehiclesto be launched under the “Toyota bZ” brand umbrella.

German automotive company Daimler (DDAIF) shared it will create 1,000 new jobs for software programmers at its S-Class production facility to develop its planned operating system for electric vehicles. Daimler’s MBOS system, which will run electric-only vehicles, is expected to hit the market in 2024.

The Oprah Winfrey-backed oat-milk maker Oatly Group AB (OTLY) has filed to go public in the US and intends to raise at least $100 million.

Nestlé SA (NSRGY) is in talks to buy the maker of Nature’s Bounty vitamins for a price in the mid-single-digit billions, according to people familiar with the matter, as the Swiss food giant pushes further into nutritional offerings… In addition to Nature’s Bounty vitamins, Bountiful’s brands include Pure Protein, which makes protein bars, Osteo Bi-Flex joint-care supplements and Puritan’s Pride vitamins and supplements.
Nestlé Looks to Buy Maker of Nature’s Bounty Vitamins


Cyber Security & Data Privacy

Securing individuals and organizations against cyber threats and privacy violations:

The Biden administration is buckling down on cyber threats to the U.S. power infrastructure. The Department of Energy (DOE) announced a 100-day plan to help shore up the U.S. electric power system against cyber threats. The plan, rolled out with the private sector and the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), is meant to help owners and operators develop more comprehensive approaches to detection, mitigation and forensic capabilities, according to the National Security Council.
Biden administration unveils plan to defend electric sector from cyberattacks

An ongoing phishing campaign is impersonating Michael Page consultants to push Ursnif data-stealing malware capable of harvesting credentials and sensitive data from infected computers.
Phishing impersonates global recruitment firm to push malware

Costco Wholesale (COST) warned American internet users to be wary of more than a dozen digital scams targeting its customer base. On its website, the American multinational corporation has published screenshots of 14 “prominent fraudulent emails, texts, and posts” in which cyber-criminals are impersonating Costco.
Costco Issues Scam Warning

Check Point reported March quarter results that topped top and bottom-line expectations. Exiting the quarter, deferred revenues were $1.46 billion, up 8% YoY. Per the company, “The cyber threat landscape is reaching new levels of risk and requires a holistic security architecture to prevent the next cyber pandemic.”
Checkpoint Software (CHKP), April 26, 2021


Digital Infrastructure & Connectivity

The Buildout and upgrading of our Networks, Data Storage Facilities, and Equipment:

“Several factors are at play in driving this robust wafer front end growth. First, secular tailwinds such as AI, 5G, and IoT continue to strengthen. And over the past year, COVID-19-related impacts like work and learn from home have accelerated adoption of these technologies.”
Lam Research (LRCX), April 21, 2021

“Compared to three months ago, we are seeing a significant increase in demand across all market segments and our product portfolio. The build-up of the digital infrastructure with secular growth drivers such as 5G, AI and High- Performance Computing solutions fuels demand for advanced and mature nodes in Logic as well as Memory. We now expect revenue growth towards 30% in 2021 compared to last year.”
ASML Holding (ASML), April 21, 2021

“In data center, we believe revenue bottomed in Q1 and will increase in Q2 as cloud digestion impacts begin to subside, and enterprise and government momentum continues.”
Intel (INTC), April 23, 2021

“We have partnered with leading brands across diverse verticals, such as Honda to innovate connected and autonomous driving; Deloitte and SAP to create a 5G and edge computing retail digital platform that will provide retailers with real-time operations data; and Dreamscape and Arizona State University to build and commercialize immersive learning and training.”
Verizon (VZ), April 21, 2021

“…the latest slew of UK government broadband funding, which has largely been based on clear and unambiguous objectives: providing gigabit-speed connections to 85 per cent of the country by 2025, be that through FTTP or 5G, or any other sufficiently-capable technology.”
Maybe high-speed internet is infrastructure after all, say US Republicans in proposal to spend $65bn over five years


Digital Lifestyle

The increasingly digital landscape that now underpins the entire consumer experience:

Walt Disney (DIS) and Sony’s (SNE) Sony Pictures Entertainment announced a multi-year content licensing agreement for US streaming and TV rights to Sony Pictures’ new theatrical releases across Disney+ and Hulu, as well as ABC, Disney Channels, Freeform, FX and National Geographic.

Digital Payments & FinTech
Companies leveraging technology to disrupt and improve the financial services and payments industries:

PayPal (PYPL) announced the launch of crypto on Venmo, a new way for Venmo’s more than 70 million customers to buy, hold and sell cryptocurrency directly within the Venmo app.

Amazon (AMZN) is expanding Amazon One, its palm-scanning payment system to a Whole Foods store in Seattle, the first of many planned rollouts at other locations.

Juniper’s Digital Money Transfer & Remittances whitepaper says mobile transactions will represent an 89 per cent per cent share of total transaction value by 2025. The report also found that with shifting customer expectations, existing money transfer models face an increasing threat from instant payments, with domestic instant payment transaction values forecast to grow from $524billion in 2020, to $2trillion in 2025.
Mobile Transactions Will See Digital Money Transfers Soar to $3.4 trillion


Thematic Dividend All-Star
Combining the power of rising dividends and thematics.

 “The historical evidence strongly suggests that expected future earnings growth is fastest when current payout ratios are high and slowest when payout ratios are low.”
Does Dividend Policy Foretell Earnings Growth?


Sustainable Future of Food
Companies addressing the challenge of providing healthy, affordable and nutritious food to a growing global population amid dwindling natural resources.

Trimble (TRMB) and HORSCH announced a collaboration focused on developing solutions that enable autonomy in agriculture with the goal of building a future for autonomous machines and workflows in the industry.

Raven Industries (RAVN) purchased all of the intellectual property and patents of Jaybridge Robotics, an early developer of automated agriculture technology. Raven will leverage the portfolio with its continued development of Driverless Ag Technology — including integration of the technology into the company’s AutoCart platform.

Bear Flag Robotics tractors provide growers increased command and control to take control of any situation in the field, higher levels of safety for farmers and the machines and path generation technology to give operators total control
Bear Flag Robotics Autonomous Tractor

Tematica Research Indices

 

Facebook users’ data leaked online, again…

Facebook users’ data leaked online, again…

Over 500 Million Facebook user’s data from 2019 has been made publicly and freely available. While not every record is current, this release still affects many users of the social network.

The data includes phone numbers, Facebook IDs, full names, locations, birthdates, bios, and — in some cases — email addresses.

Source: 533 million Facebook users’ phone numbers and personal data have been leaked online

Cheaters Never Prosper

Cheaters Never Prosper

Video Game publisher Activision recently published a report that outlines how players downloading and installing various cheats for Call of Duty: Warzone are not only gaining an unfair edge over their competitors but are also installing any number of credential stealing, computer compromising, and all-around not good malware as well. Want to get better? Start grinding, or as we like to say, practice makes better!

https://www.activision.com/cdn/research/cheating_cheaters_final.pdf

US Senators Urge White House to Modernize Bandwidth Standards

US Senators Urge White House to Modernize Bandwidth Standards

A bipartisan group of US Senators published a letter yesterday calling for updated minimum standards for broadband access across the United States.  Current Standards dictate a 25Mbps minimum but even by Federal Communications Commission household broadband guidelines, it is clear that a 25Mbps connection is inadequate for most families even prior to the Covid-19 pandemic. This touches on our Digital Lifestyle theme but plays directly to the core premise of our Digital Infrastructure and Connectivity theme and will provide momentum for this industry along the virtuous circle of increased capacity leading to innovation and increased demand leading to…

Today, U.S. Senators Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Angus King (I-Maine), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) wrote to the Biden Administration urging it to update federal standards for high-speed broadband to reflect modern uses and align those standards across the government.

Source: Bennet, King, Portman, Manchin Urge Biden Administration to Create Modern, Unified Federal Broadband Standard | Press Releases | U.S. Senator Michael Bennet

Tematica investment themes front and center in Super Bowl 2021 Ads

Tematica investment themes front and center in Super Bowl 2021 Ads

One of the wonderful things about thematic investing when it is done right, is the number of recognizable and relatable points of confirmation to be had once an investor has fine-tuned their focus, or as we at Tematica like to say, strapped on your thematic lens. The traditional investor analyzes and assess a variety of data points ranging from monthly and quarterly economic data to survey findings and third-party research reports as well as industry and company specific news and events. We at Tematica do all that as well, given our fundamental and global macro upbringing, but we also look for other confirming data points such as new product introductions, M&A activity as company’s look to reposition their offerings, new partnerships and the like. This has us being those pesky people that slowly walk the aisles of store, be it grocery or other, looking for the new, new thing while also noting how much of the floor and shelf space has been usurped by products that fit hand in glove with our investment themes. That’s pretty much week in week out for the Tematica team but from time to time there is a confirmation blitz, and it so happens the 2021 Super Bowl was just such an event.

While the 2021 Super Bowl may have been a meh event to many, it was still the most watched television event so far this year and was likely at least on par with the 100 million people in the US that have watched each Super Bowl over the last decade. On a global basis, total viewership is estimated to be another 30-50 million more. The sheer magnitude of eye-balls being captured during the game means it’s a big-ticket item for a company to reach all those viewers, roughly $5.5 million in 2021 for a 30-second spot. In today’s digitally connected world, that increasingly favors ad placement with focused online content, it means the Super Bowl is one of the last bastions of major mass marketing in which advertisers can reshape their brand awareness, oftentimes looking to become a household name. And that doesn’t factor in the additional views to be had on YouTube and other video platforms, given the penchant to discuss them as part of pop culture and the latest zeitgeist.

From our perspective, it means companies are looking to use this event to reach viewers they may not normally speak to and reveal to them, sometimes in a subtle way, how they are tilting their businesses into the thematic tailwinds that are unfolding before our very eyes. For Tematica, this year’s Super Bowl ads were a cornucopia of confirming data signals for many of our themes. Here are some examples:

Cleaner Living

Digital Infrastructure & Connectivity

Digital Lifestyle

Unlike many thematic strategists Tematica doesn’t just look for themes that “could be happening if” or the companies that are “skating to where the puck will be.” We focus on the themes arise from structural changes in behavior and spending and the companies whose business models allow them to prosper. And yes, we recognize that neither Verizon (VZ) nor T-Mobile (TMUS) are in our Digital Infrastructure & Connectivity Index, but the focus of their commercials on 5G speak to the one of the key drivers of that theme and index as well as as the corresponding ETF. The bottom line is this – the ad spending on Super Bowl LV while providing pivot points for some, re-enforced to us that our investment themes and indices are on track.

Disclosures

  • Chipotle Mexican Grille (CMG) is a constituent in Tematica Research’s Cleaner Living Index.
Just in Time For 5G – More Streaming!

Just in Time For 5G – More Streaming!

Just when you thought that the digital infrastructure underlying the internet and overall connectivity wasn’t strained enough in the work-from-home, learn-from-home, stay-at-home era, it appears that Google has joined the ranks of direct streaming services switching on direct to YouTube capabilities on its Stadia gaming platform.

Rolling out to some users now, Stadia appears to finally be adding support for direct streaming to YouTube without any extra software.

Source: Stadia YouTube direct streaming is rolling out – 9to5Google

XBOX Helps Set Network Traffic Record

XBOX Helps Set Network Traffic Record

In as much as everyone is focusing on 5G, self-driving cars, and an impending IoT revolution there is already plenty of demand for high bandwidth digital infrastructure.

Virgin Media has revealed that Tuesday 10 November saw its busiest day on record for internet traffic across its network.

Source: Virgin Media sees record breaking network traffic on day of Xbox Series X/S launch

How The Pandemic Has Increased The Need for Cybersecurity

How The Pandemic Has Increased The Need for Cybersecurity

The first known cyberattack hit in 1988, when what became known as the Morris Worm installed itself on a computer every one out of seven times, even if the computer claimed it already had the program. With each installation, the infected computers would become further debilitated until they finally crashed. The worm damaged approximately 6,000 computers, which represented 10% of the entire internet at the time, and we have never looked back.

Over the ensuing three decades, computing and connectivity would become increasingly ubiquitous as more of how we work, play, and live becomes digital, and the combination of chips and sensors have become the fabric of our lives.

The dark side of this increasingly digital lifestyle is the voluminous growth in the number of attack vectors by cybercriminals and other bad actors. While driven primarily by financial motives, one of the more lucrative areas for cybercriminals today is data theft. Early in 2020, the Department of Homeland Security warned of an increase in cyber threats due to heightened tensions with Iran. Later in 2020, a little thing known as the coronavirus accelerated the adoption of digital technologies and solutions, leaving us and our data increasingly vulnerable as companies were forced to go virtual nearly overnight.

Read more here…

How the Pandemic Irreversibly Forced Digital Acceleration

How the Pandemic Irreversibly Forced Digital Acceleration

When we look back on 2020, there will be several notable items that jump out from the record books. The COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the global economy will likely be at the top of the list, as will the pull-forward in digital transformation that ensued as people adjusted how they worked, lived, and played.

Pain points tend to give way to solutions, and given the number of pain points that emerged as a result of the pandemic, we have seen digital solutions come about in part to solve consumers’ needs.

With the deployment of new connective technologies such as 5G and gigabit fiber bringing greater data speeds and network capacity as well as lower latency compared to existing networks, there will be no putting the digital genie back in the bottle.

Read more here…