China accounted for nearly half of app downloads in 2018

China accounted for nearly half of app downloads in 2018

It’s not only the pace of the smartphone market that is slowing here in the US, so is the rate at which we are downloading apps even though Apple’s App Store and Google Play remain dominant platforms. A new report shows that China, India, Brazil, and Indonesia are the driving force behind app downloads and app-related revenue growth, which likely reflects the deployment of 4G networks and the adoption of smartphones. No wonder Apple is keen on cracking China and India. To us, this is our Rise of the New Middle-class investing theme intermingling with our Digital Lifestyle theme.

Global app downloads topped 194 billion in 2018, up 35 percent from 2016, according to App Annie’s annual “State of Mobile 2019” report released today. Consumer spending across app stores was up 75 percent to reach $101 billion. The report, which analyzes trends across iOS, Android and the third-party Android stores in China combined, follows the company’s earlier report released at year-end, which looked at downloads and spending across just iOS and Google Play.

According to the “State of Mobile” report, China accounted for nearly 50 percent of total downloads in 2018 across iOS and the third-party stores, despite the slowdown related to a nine-month game license freeze in the country. China also accounted for nearly 40 percent of consumer spending in 2018.

Emerging markets played a role in fueling downloads, as well, accounting for three out of the top five markets for downloads (India, Brazil and Indonesia). Download growth in the U.S., meanwhile, has slowed.

Developing markets played little role in consumer spend, however. Instead, the countries contributing the most on that front were (in order): China, the U.S., Japan, South Korea and the U.K.

It found that Chinese mobile gaming giant Tencent was the global leader for overall revenue across iOS and Android, not counting the third-party Android app stores. It was also the leader in game revenue. Tencent topped the non-game app chart for 2018, too, with its Tencent Video app clocking in at No. 3.

Source: China accounted for nearly half of app downloads in 2018, 40% of consumer spend | TechCrunch

Restaurants ring up Big Data to drive sales

Restaurants ring up Big Data to drive sales

We’ve said it before and odds are we will say it again – applications for our Disruptive Innovators can come from a number of areas, including ones that are less than obvious. Big Data and its use in the restaurant industry is such an example as those companies look to overcome flat traffic trends and drive incremental purchases. How? By knowing what your preference are thanks to Big Data, mobile apps, and loyalty programs, which allow them to notify you when your preferred items, or ones that match your profile, are on sale. This likely means more pop-ups for last minute, impulse item additions like the extra guac from Chipotle courtesy of DoorDash. And yes, Chipotle is in the process of rolling out its own loyalty program.


Data is emerging as a powerful weapon in the increasingly competitive battle for the restaurant consumer. An explosion of food vendors—and menu items—is giving diners more choices than ever. Some restaurants say using customer data to tailor menus to their tastes can give them a leg up.

“Total restaurant traffic is not growing, so anything restaurants can do to offer a better customer experience differentiates them from the competition,” says David Portalatin, a food-industry adviser at market-research firm NPD Group Inc.

Many restaurants collect customer data through their loyalty programs, which diners can sign up for online or via an app. (After customers make a certain number of visits, they earn points that can be redeemed for discounted items or at no charge.) But the data that companies collect through such programs offer a window into the habits of only their most loyal customers, who aren’t the ones they really need to convince to return. And there are limitations to some online loyalty programs: Restaurants that collect email addresses without logging specific purchases can only send out emails about promotions to the whole customer base. An email for half-priced Frappuccinos, for example, would be wasted on someone who only ever orders coffee.

By contrast, individuals’ purchases are easier to track on mobile-order apps. Starbucks Corp. realized that its mobile app, which had only been accessible to members of its Starbucks Rewards loyalty program, could be more effective if it were open to everyone. Starbucks had 15 million active Rewards members, but it had another 60 million monthly customers it knew nothing about. Starbucks in March opened the app to everyone.

Source: How Restaurants Are Using Big Data as a Competitive Tool – WSJ

Verizon taps augmented reality and virtual reality apps for training

Verizon taps augmented reality and virtual reality apps for training

Use for new and Disruptive Technologies tend to crop in some unexpected places, but they usually help pave the way for greater adoption. One such use for augmented and virutal reality apps is in worker training. Carrying out these tasks in the virtual world leads to not only savings, but it also allows for the simulation of locations that might be problematic in a classroom setting. I expect to see far more adoption of these apps across Corproate America in the coming quarters, especially as companies are having difficulty finding the skilled workers they need.


Ever been down a New York City manhole Or in a bucket truck to the top of a city pole Or, for that matter, climbed ladders or into bucket trucks to install the unseen fiber we depend on for our Internet. These are the scenarios that thousands of Verizon technicians face every day in New York City. Beginning this month, the Verizon team will launch new and engaging AR and VR applications to deliver more effective new hire training and to enhance employee education, communications and skills to help enhance the customer experience.

Technicians will experience virtual reality situations to provide them with realistic scenarios (working on fiber splices, installing Fios service and repairing optical network terminals) of some of the most challenging field environments: working aloft in a bucket truck, going in a manhole under the busy streets of New York City, installing fiber from rooftops and climbing ladders on utility poles in busy pedestrian areas.

Source: Verizon using Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality apps to train employees

Cash-strapped consumer want more digital coupons

In a recent Thematic Signal post, we shared that Apple (AAPL) is making in roads with Apple Pay as smartphones account for a growing percentage of digital commerce. We lamented on the lack of loyalty program support in Apple Pay, but it is becoming increasingly clear that shoppers want digital couponing. Currently there are third party apps that “clip” digital coupons, but wouldn’t it be convenient to have all those coupons alongside your payment cards in Apple’s iOS Wallet… especially if it were tied into Reminders with a “use by” date. Maybe in iOS 12? Such a move by Apple might actually prompt more food and consumer product companies to offer digital coupons, something that could hit shares of Quotient Technology (QUOT), the parent of

With consumer debt levels rising and nonsupervisory wages flat year over year in December 2017, we see this as a natural for the intersection of our Cash-strapped Consumer and Connected Society themes.

Online grocery sales are a booming business, with the eCommerce segment expected to make up 20 percent of all grocery sales by 2025.

Traditional brick-and-mortar grocery stores are seeking to adapt to this new market through ominchannel marketing. Kroger, for example, plans to spend $9 billion over the next three years to modernize, according to the Omni Usage Index.

As the online grocery business grows, retailers that sell the products that stock refrigerators and pantries across the country are seeking to expand their marketing efforts across multiple channels — online and in-store. When trying to connect with consumers or offering them a deal on a product, here are five things to keep in mind.

— While a large percentage of large-format grocers already use digital coupons, 40 percent, 33 percent would use them if retailers offered them. Target, for example, has a mobile app called Cartwheel that brings manufacturers’ digital coupons to consumers’ smartphones. From the app, consumers can “clip” coupons that, in some cases, are the same ones found in the local newspaper. As TechCrunch has pointed out, this digital method of coupon clipping increases Target shoppers’ potential savings, as manufacturers’ coupons frequently offer greater discounts than those offered only through the app, like special offers on Target’s private label products.

Source: Grocery Shoppers Want To Use Online Coupons |

Two More Thematic Tailwinds Are About to Change Healthcare

Two More Thematic Tailwinds Are About to Change Healthcare

Healthcare expenditures are being driven by a combination of our Aging of the Population and Rise & Fall of the Middle Class investing themes, but there are two other Tematica themes that are poised to change the how, where, when and why people consume healthcare — Connected Society and Disruptive Technology. There is little argument that today’s healthcare is filled with wasteful spending and paperwork but given connective platforms such as smartphones and wearables,  and disruptive technologies like apps, GPS, and sensors, healthcare is about to be turned on its head.

Last year Americans spent an amount equivalent to about 18% of GDP on health care. That is an extreme, but other countries face rising cost pressures from health spending as populations age.

In rich countries about one-fifth of spending on health care goes to waste, for example on wrong or unnecessary treatments. Eliminating a fraction of this sum is a huge opportunity.

Consumers seem readier to accept digital products than just a few years ago. The field includes mobile apps, telemedicine—health care provided using electronic communications—and predictive analytics (using statistical methods to sift data on outcomes for patients). Other areas are automated diagnoses and wearable sensors to measure things like blood pressure.If there is to be a health-care revolution, it will create winners and losers.

Andy Richards, an investor in digital health, argues that three groups are fighting a war for control of the “health-care value chain”.One group comprises “traditional innovators”—pharmaceutical firms, hospitals and medical-technology companies such as GE Healthcare, Siemens, Medtronic and Philips.

A second category is made up of “incumbent players”, which include health insurers, pharmacy-benefit managers (which buy drugs in bulk), and as single-payer health-care systems such as Britain’s NHS.

The third group are the technology “insurgents”, including Google, Apple, Amazon and a host of hungry entrepreneurs that are creating apps, predictive-diagnostics systems and new devices. These firms may well profit most handsomely from the shift to digital.The threat to the traditional innovators is that as medical records are digitised and new kinds of patient data arrive from genomic sequencing, sensors and even from social media, insurers and governments can get much better insight into which treatments work. These buyers are increasingly demanding “value-based” reimbursement—meaning that if a drug or device doesn’t function well, it will not be bought.

Overall, telemedicine is expected to grow rapidly. In America, GPs will conduct 5.4m video consultations a year by 2020, says IHS Markit, a research firm. Britain’s NHS is testing a medical AI from a London-based startup called Babylon which can field patients’ questions about their health. A paid service called Push Doctor offers an online appointment almost immediately for £20 ($24).

Source: The wonder drug: A digital revolution in health care is speeding up | The Economist

Apple Gets Serious with tvOS, Ups App Size for Better Experience

Apple Gets Serious with tvOS, Ups App Size for Better Experience

Apple TV has been one of the key devices to spur chord cutting, but it’s become an even more powerful platform with tvOS. Cue apps like shopping and ordering food for example via Amazon and Papa Johns (Did you miss the new Amazon shopping app for Apple TV?). As nice as that has been those apps have been lacking due to size, but Apple is fixing that. After tonight, apps can be as big as 4GB, up significantly from the prior 200MB. This should result in a far better user experience (especially for gaming… and you thought GameStop was already hurting), something we know Apple tends to focus on. This also serves to make the living room a greater hub in the Connected Society.

While Apple TV apps were limited to 200MB in size when the device was first announced back in 2015, Apple has announced this evening that it is now accepting larger tvOS binaries. This means that developers can now submit apps as big as 4GB. With today’s change, tvOS apps can now be just as big as iOS apps, which are also capped at 4GB. Apple says that this increase in size will allow for developers to “provide a complete, rich user experience” right from installation.

Source: Apple increases app size restriction for tvOS apps from 200MB to 4GB | 9to5Mac

Mobile dominance moves past early innings, but what’s next for our Connected Society?

Mobile dominance moves past early innings, but what’s next for our Connected Society?

With smartphones nearly ubiquitous in more mature economies, we are only starting to scratch the surface of what their impact will be. Over the coming years, faster mobile networks, Connected Cars, Connected Homes, the Internet of Things and odds are several million to a few billion sensors will further transform how we go about our daily lives. It used to be we would wake up and go grab the paper to “the day’s news” from the front porch or the end of the driveway. No longer as what’s news is updated constantly at the click of a button or two.

We see such a transformation coming to how people shop and transact, with further changes in how they communicate and interact. We expect to see several new aspects to our Connected Society investing theme emerge in the process. Will the early winners — Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and Google — be the winners of tomorrow?

The questions of what will they look like and who will control them are now answered.

The next two decades, predicts Benedict Evans, a partner at venture-capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, will be how smartphones redefine myriad industries from automobiles to ecommerce.

“The platform wars are over,” says Evans in an interview. Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS run on roughly 2.4 billion phones and 700 million tablets.

Source: The second stage of mobile dominance is beginning says Andreessen Horowitz’ Benedict Evans — Quartz

Mondelez to create more apps, online videos in advertising shift @Redbull @BuzzFeed @MDLZ @PepsiCo $MDLZ $PEP #ConnectedSociety

Mondelez to create more apps, online videos in advertising shift @Redbull @BuzzFeed @MDLZ @PepsiCo $MDLZ $PEP #ConnectedSociety

When a brand as trusted (and as yummy) as Oreo moves shifts gears to online and mobile as well as apps because traditional advertising isn’t getting it done…. kinda tells you something. To us its more Content is King and Connected Society at work. 

Massive disruption in the ad industry prompted Mondelez to switch gears as audiences have become more difficult and expensive to reach, Henderson said. “Advertising is no longer a huge part of the content consumption experience.”

Source: Mondelez to create more apps, online videos in advertising shift | Reuters