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Snapchat Shares Surge 44% in Market Debut



  • Snapchat Shares Surge 44% in Market Debut

Snap Inc. (SNAP) opened for trade at $24 per share on Thursday, up 40% from its pricing of $17 per share. Since its core product, Snapchat, has already captured the millennial market, now the real opportunity is to lure in older Americans, particularly in a corporate context.

Tech executives like Jennifer Morgan, the president of software company SAP’s (SAP) North American division, are using Snapchat to communicate with her 20,000 employees. Morgan, 45, scrapped the all-hands meeting and replaced it with a pre-recorded two-minute video that she e-mailed employees. At the end of the video, she shares her Snapchat code and asks employees to continue the conversation or ask her any questions through the app.

“Traditionally, when you think about communication in the office, employees go to the leader. I’m trying to develop a way to speak with my employees in ways that work for them,” she told Yahoo Finance. “Though nothing can replace in-person events, I’ve discovered that people appreciate effective, efficient communication.”

After consulting with several employees and observing how her 15-year-old son uses the app, Morgan decided that replacing town hall meetings with Snapchat was both efficient and added a layer of personalization.

“I was amazed at how many people thanked me for not only giving them back the time but opening up communication on a platform like Snapchat,” she said. “I think the app is a way to easily communicate in a perfectly imperfect way with my employees.”

She highlights that business executives can come off scripted, almost too polished, and are inaccessible to employees.

“What I love about Snapchat is it’s very real, very authentic, and you can show scenes of your personal and professional lives. A lot of people make these assumptions about both male and female leaders with regard to the pace, glamour and travel of our lives,” she said. “It’s fun to show that, sure, some of those assumptions are true — but at the same time we are all human beings tugging at our time, dealing with the same travel hiccups everyone else experiences.”

Morgan is now one of Snapchat’s 158 million daily active users. Other business leaders may want to take note.

It’s common knowledge that Snapchat is wildly popular among teens. Users spend 25 to 30 minutes every single day sending and receiving these ephemeral photos.

But, for Gen Xers, baby boomers, and even the millennials who aren’t sold on the entertaining utility of the app, this could be a goldmine use case that Snapchat can — and should — tap into.

This decision fits into the larger push that SAP has been making to shake up the traditional way of internal communication.

This month, SAP will be eliminating the “formal, traditional and painful” annual employee reviews for all employees around the world and replacing them with more “frequent and informal conversations” between employees and managers, according to a company spokesperson.

Though Morgan is not part of the app’s core user demographic (70% of Snapchat’s US users are millennials), the app has gained traction with the older generations (parents (and grandparents) love Facebook, after all). And though the overwhelming friend adds came from her employees in their 20s and 30s, older employees have also created accounts to connect with Morgan.

“People who were already on the app added me right away. But others have been creating accounts — like me — now,” she said. “A lot of folks are increasingly curious about Snapchat, especially because they know their kids are on it.”

She said that she’s seeing a phenomenal return on her investment. Several hundred of her employees have added her and 5-20 people have been adding her every day.

“I don’t see it as work. It’s an easy, natural thing to do, and an everyday, on-the-go part of my job now,” she said. “My life blends. I work a lot so it becomes difficult to separate who I am at work and home — I’m pretty much the same person. When I signed up, I knew I had to be willing to put myself out there, for anyone to see.”

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.


YouTube Suspends Trump Channel




YouTube Suspends Trump Channel

Google-owned YouTube on Tuesday temporarily suspended President Donald Trump’s channel and removed a video for violating its policy against inciting violence, joining other social media platforms in banning his accounts after last week’s Capitol riot.

Trump’s access to the social media platforms he has used as a megaphone during his presidency has been largely cut off since a violent mob of his supporters stormed the Capitol in Washington DC last week.

Operators say the embittered leader could use his accounts to foment more unrest in the run-up to President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration.

“In light of concerns about the ongoing potential for violence, we removed new content uploaded to Donald J. Trump’s channel for violating our policies,” YouTube said in a statement.

The channel is now “temporarily prevented from uploading new content for a ‘minimum’ of 7 days,” the statement read.

The video-sharing platform also said it will be “indefinitely disabling comments” on Trump’s channel because of safety concerns.

Facebook last week suspended Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts following the violent invasion of the US Capitol, which temporarily disrupted the certification of Biden’s election victory.

In announcing the suspension last week, Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg said Trump used the platform to incite violent and was concerned he would continue to do so.

Twitter went a step further by deleting Trump’s account, depriving him of his favorite platform. It was already marking his tweets disputing the election outcome with warnings.

The company also deleted more than 70,000 accounts linked to the bizarre QAnon conspiracy theory, which claims, without any evidence, that Trump is waging a secret war against a global cabal of satanist liberals.

Trump also was hit with suspensions by services like Snapchat and Twitch.

The president’s YouTube account has amassed 2.77 million subscribers.

The home page of the Trump channel featured a month-old video of Trump casting doubt on the voting process in November’s presidential election, and had logged some 5.8 million views.

On Tuesday, an activist group called on YouTube to join other platforms in dumping Trump’s accounts, threatening an advertising boycott campaign.


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Analysts Predict 1,137% Earnings Per Share Growth for Shopify’s Full Year 2020




Analysts Predict 1,137% Earnings Per Share Growth for Shopify’s Full Year 2020

While the pandemic has devastated countless businesses, it has provided a major boon for eCommerce platform Shopify.

Shopify’s stock rallied by 169.9% in 2020 compared to the industry’s 26.6% growth. As of mid-December 2020, according to the research data analyzed and published by Finnish site Sijoitusrahastot, it had a 90 RS rating, which means that it had outperformed 90% of stocks during the year.

Based on the Zacks Consensus Estimate, its Q4 earnings per share (EPS) are set to jump by 188.37% to $1.24 while its sales will grow by 78% to $899.2 million. For the full year 2020, analysts project a massive 1,137% jump for the Shopify EPS.

Shopify Merchants Sell Over $5.1 Billion on Black Friday, Cyber Monday

Since Shopify went public in 2015, its stock has risen over 40-fold to more than $1,200 at the end of December 2020. Between 2016 and 2019, it skyrocketed by over 1,400%.

The eCommerce platform’s earnings for Q1 to Q3 2020 grew at an average of 552%. That was well above the 101% three-year average. In Q3 2020, its revenue nearly doubled from $390.6 million to $767.4 million.

Earnings in Q3 2020 rose from a net loss of 29 cents to $1.13 per share. Gross Merchandise Volume (GMV) soared by 109% reaching $30.9 billion, compared to 46% in Q1 2020 and 119% in Q2 2020. For the first nine months of 2020, there was a revenue increase of 82%.

For the first time, Shopify’s GMV surpassed that of eBay in Q2 2020, doing it again in Q3 2020. It claims to have a 6% share of the US market, higher than eBay’s but lower than Amazon’s 37%.

During the Black Friday Cyber Monday weekend, merchants on the Shopify platform sold goods worth $5.1 billion. Compared to 2019, this marked a 76% uptick and set a new record. Comparatively, independent businesses on Amazon sold goods worth $4.8 billion. The number of buyers on Shopify increased by 50% year-over-year (YoY) to 44 million during that weekend.

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Global Digital Payments Market to Grow by 23.7% in 2020 to $4.9 Trillion



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While it was already under way prior to the pandemic, the global shift to digital payments has been positively affected by the crisis.

According to the research data analyzed and published by Finnish website Sijoitusrahastot, the global digital payments market grew by 21% YoY in transaction value during H1 2020. Statista projects that the market’s total transaction value will grow by 23.7% year-over-year (YoY) in 2020 to reach $4.93 trillion. The number of users is also set to increase by 10.1% YoY to reach 3.47 billion.

Asia’s Digital Payments Market to Reach $2.88 Trillion in 2020

In the period between 2020 and 2024, the global digital payments will grow at a 13.4% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) to reach $8.17 trillion by 2024. The market’s top segment is digital commerce, estimated to grow at 4.8% YoY reach $2.93 trillion in 2020. By 2024, it is set to grow to $4.11 trillion, growing at a CAGR of 8.9%.

China will take the lead in digital payments, growing to $2.31 trillion, as well as in digital commerce, reaching $1.17 trillion in 2020. For Asia as a whole, digital payments will reach $2.88 trillion in 2020 as per a Statista report.

According to McKinsey, Asia generated $900 billion in 2019 as payment revenue, almost half the global total. Between 2018 and 2019, digital payments in Asia Pacific grew by 24.7%. Comparatively, the growth rate was 14.1% in the global market, 12.2% in Europe and 5.6% in North America.

China has a dominant role in the market, thanks to mobile payments. Based on a Finextra report, 70% of China’s consumers use mobile wallets regularly. It estimates that in 2020, 80% of global mobile wallet revenue will come from China.

Capgemini projects that in 2020, mobile payments in APAC will grow at 13.9% YoY to reach $277.5 billion. In contrast, the figure will be $229.1 billion in Europe, growing at 6.2% YoY and $184.8 billion in North America, growing at 3.0%.

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