‘Tis the Season to Shop (Online with Your Phone)

Shopping this holiday season is doing very well, thank you, with a bit of a boost from our ubiquitous cellular devices, especially our phones. Last Saturday, the weekend after Thanksgiving, saw $3.6 billion in sales for small businesses in one day alone, from cellphones.


According to Adobe Analytics, a tracker of sales online, that figure is higher by a generous 18% over last year. And if things keep going the way they have been, Adobe says we can expect almost 15% growth over last year’s holiday season sales. Small businesses alone earned $68.2 billion in November of this year.

Purchases as easy as pressing a button. Photo courtesy of Ri Buto


Smartphone sales are way up, says Adobe. Last Saturday smartphone revenue accounted for 41.2% of all e-commerce revenue that day. That represents growth of 22% since 2018.
So, what are people buying like hotcakes this year? Some of the top-selling products include “Frozen 2” companion toys to go with the Disney movie recently released. “Madden 20” and “FIFA 20” video games, of course, and more devices like Amazon Fire TV and Apple AirPods.


What can we expect from Cyber Monday? Adobe says we can anticipate a record-breaking $9.4 billion in online sales, an ecstatic increase of 19% since 2018.

Novartis Agrees to Purchase Cholesterol Manufacturer for $97 Billion

Novartis has agreed to pay $85 per share for The Medicines Company, which developed a new drug to fight against high cholesterol levels in people. The $9.7 billion cash deal acquiring the US drug maker is a bet that Inclisiran, is a “potentially transformational medicine.” There are millions of patients all over the world whose risk of cardiovascular disease is increased because of high levels of cholesterol in their blood.


“We believe that Inclisiran could contribute significantly to improved patient outcomes and help healthcare systems address the leading global cause of death,” Novartis chief executive Vas Narsimhan said.


Swiss-based Novartis has a market value of $203 billion. It has been growing recently in a similar way to many other big pharma companies, via disposals and takeovers.


The Medicines Company presented the results of a successful trial of Inclisiran, which lowers cholesterol in a unique way. Through the use of injections administered every few months, the drug lowers the production of “bad cholesterol” by inhibiting a protein that controls its production. This gene-silencing method of therapy is known as RNA interference, and although it has been around for decades, drugs using this methodology of treatment have been improving in recent years.

Mustang Mach E Electrifying Ford’s 2020 Offerings

The Mustang Mach E, Ford’s newly unveiled electric car, is an SUV with a lot riding on its struts.

1969 Ford Mustang Mach 1 coupe. Photo courtesy of sv1ambo

The Future in Now
Ford Motor Company is betting big that its redesigned, futuristic, sporty, high-performance electric car will sell a lot better than their more utilitarian (read boring) electric cars like the battery-run Focus compact car.


Name that Car
When you think “Mach E” consumers should immediately think about “Mach 1” versions of the Mustang sports car, offered by Ford at different times through the years.


Money is No Object?

Ford is going to sell the Mach E at a base price of $43,000. Buyers will be able to choose from three variants of the car: Select, Premium and First Edition. Next year Ford is promising a “California Route 1” version and a bit later they are hoping to introduce a high-performance GT model.


Batteries are Included
Ford announced that the Mach E battery will go for 230 miles before needing a charge. Extended range models are aiming for 300 miles per charge. This compares well with competitor Tesla’s Model Y sport utility, which has a 300-mile range for its rear-drive versions, and a bit less for its al-wheel drive performance models.


Speed Racer?

Ford’s goal is to get the Mach E from 0 to 60mph even faster than the least expensive Porsche Macan SUV. The GT version of the Mach E is aiming for an acceleration target of the “mid-3-second” range. This compares favorably with the Porsche 911, according to Ford.


Full-Screen Dashboard
The Mach will come equipped with a 15.5-inch screen. Tesla’s Model 3 comes with a 15-inch screen. The screen will offer a new generation of its Sync infotainment software that gets its updates through the air, just like a Tesla.


Its Great. When Can I Get Mine?
Consumers can already place their orders. Beginning on November 17, 2019, customers just need to hand over $500 as a deposit to secure their order. The cars should begin arriving by the end of next year.

BMG Expanding Los Angeles Office

Music producer BMG (Bertelsmann Music Group) is moving to larger digs just up the street in Los Angeles. In keeping with their preference for having everything under one roof, BMG is moving into a two-floor, 30,000-square-foot space at 5670 Wilshire Boulevard. The new location is just seven blocks east of their old location, 6100 Wilshire.


Currently BMG has 135 employees in Los Angeles, but they plan on growing this coming year.


BMG launched a new facility two months ago in Nashville. The new space brings together the company’s publishing business, as well as its copyright and loyalty divisions under the name BBR Music Group, located at 1 Music Circle South.


In addition, BMG opened a new office in New York at 1 Park Avenue only one and a half years ago.


The new Wilshire office will be the home of the company’s west coast publishing and recording teams, its synch and licensing, film and books groups, plus BMG Production Music.


CEO Hartwig Masuch explained:


“Los Angeles is our largest-grossing operation in our largest market, and this marks another significant investment in our fast-growing US business. It is consistent with BMG’s philosophy – all our services under one roof, operating off the same platform, and taking a global perspective.”


BMG was founded in 2008 and headquartered in Berlin, Germany, the same week Spotify launched. It began with only three people in one shared office. By 2019 BMG has 15 offices in 12 countries with 850 employees.

Hiring Slowdown Reported for October

The monthly jobs report for October 2019 showed a slowdown, falling to a seven-year low for new hires. In addition, fewer employees are raising wages. Only 20% of companies surveyed by the National Association for Business Economics said companies have taken on new workers during the last three months.

In July of this year closer to one-third of companies hired more workers. Octobers figures are the lowest they have fallen since October 2012.

The data comes at a time when many businesses are reporting that sales growth and profit increases are slowing down. Many economists predict that the economy will grow more slowly during 2020, partly due to rising tariffs which force companies to raise prices, which reduce sales.

In addition, companies may worry over an economy perceived as weakening, causing them to refrain from hiring new workers, offer higher salaries, or otherwise invest in growth. 

About 67% of economists that took the survey predicted that the economy will grow at about 1.1% to about 2% from Q3 2019 to Q3 2020. Last year economists guessed that the economy would grow between 2.1% and 3% from Q3 2018 to Q3 2019.