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Silicon Valley Mocks Trump Over Tech Bubble Comment

Silicon Valley had a bit of fun with Donald Trump last week when the outspoken Republican presidential candidate said a financial bubble had formed in the tech industry, reported Reuters’ Heather Somerville.

As part of a wide-ranging interview with Reuters that addressed everything from Obamacare to the Paris Accords, Trump compared the current technology start-up landscape with that of the 2007 stock market, claiming that some companies were selling stocks at high prices despite never earning a profit.

Said Trump in the interview: “You have a stock market that is very strange. Could be a little bit similar to, would you say it’s nine years ago now? I guess it’s sort of nine years ago. But you know, you look at some of these tech stocks that are so, so weak as a concept and a company and they’re selling for so much money. And I would have said can that ever happen again? I think that could happen again.”

“I’m talking about companies that have never made any money, that have a bad concept and that are valued at billions of dollars. So here we go again.”

In response, some in the industry used Twitter and the phrase “Make Bubbles Great Again” to mock the candidate as having what can be considered to be an oft-said, yet much-derided, opinion. Somerville highlighted what was most likely the most public retort: Venture capitalist Marc Andreessen tweeting sarcastically: “FINALLY someone calls it out.”

CTA’s Koenig: Chinese Lead In Online Shopping, Adoption

U.S. tech suppliers eyeing the five largest markets in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region will find big differences in what consumers buy, why they buy, and where they buy, a CTA survey of online consumers found.

The findings, released at CES Asia in Shanghai, show that Chinese consumers overwhelmingly buy tech products online, while consumers in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Vietnam overwhelmingly buy in physical stores, said Steve Koenig, CTA’s senior director of market research. China also has the highest proportion of early adopters, higher than even in the U.S., and Chinese consumers spend more on tech and are less price-sensitive than their counterparts in the other four APAC countries, he said.

Chinese consumers cite entertainment as the primary reason to buy tech products, while consumers in Vietnam and Malaysia cite utility and productivity more than any other reason. Philippine consumers cite communication and information.

Although all five countries exhibit a “voracious appetite” for the latest technology, Chinese consumers by far are the first to adopt new technologies, Koenig said. Fifty-nine percent of surveyed online Chinese consumers said they are among the first people to buy a new technology when it hits the market or shortly thereafter, he said. The proportion of self-described early adopters in Malaysia and Indonesia is 49 percent each, with Vietnam at 40 percent and the Philippines at 32 percent.

In the U.S., the proportion of early adopters is only 15 percent, Koenig said.

Fitbit Still On Top In Wearables But Losing Share To Apple

Global wearable-device shipments, including basic wearables and smart watches, rose more than 67 percent in the first quarter to 19.7 million units, with Fitbit remaining on top as the market-share leader despite losing share to Apple, said research company IDC.

IDC defines basic wearables as devices that don’t run third-party applications as smart watches do. Basic wearables include such products as activity trackers, connected clothes, fitness devices and smart headphones that, for example, track heart rates and other data. The basic category also includes smart eyewear, including Google Glass, Epson’s Moverio and Vuzix.

Despite wearables growth, “several start-ups announced head-count reductions or shut down entirely, underscoring how competitive the wearables market has become,” said research manager Ramon Llamas. “The wearables that we see today are several steps ahead of what we saw when this market began, increasingly taking their cues from form, function, and fashion. That keeps them relevant. The downside is that it is becoming a crowded market, and not everyone is guaranteed success.”

For the quarter, IDC found basic wearable shipments rising 65.1 percent to 16.4 million units while smart watch shipments rose 100.2 percent to 3.2 million. Smart watches accounted for 16.3 percent of wearables shipments.

Half Of Broadband Homes Will Buy Smart-Home Products

Consumer intentions to buy smart-home products jumped in less than two years, and many people who own a smart-home product use them daily, Parks Associates found.

Purchase intentions among U.S. broadband households more than doubled between the first quarter of 2014 and the last quarter of 2015, rising from 21 percent in early 2014 to almost 50 percent at the end of 2015, company research found.

“Safety and security are the main drivers for consumer interest,” said Parks president Stuart Sikes.

Once people get the products home, Sikes added, consumers use them frequently. Among owners of most safety and security devices, 40 to 50 percent control or monitor the products on a daily basis, he said.

Parks also found that 23 percent of U.S. smartphone owners own a smart-home device and that more than three-fourths of them use their smartphone, tablet, or PC to control their smart home devices at least once per month.

Amazon Prime Wins Prime Demographic

Amazon Prime is primed for continued growth thanks to a key demographic among its membership.

According to Wolfe Research retail analyst Scott Mushkin, the loyalty program’s prime customer base is comprised of college-educated millennial women, the majority of whom earn over $100,000 a year.

In a research note, Mushkin said the group appears “quite loyal” to the service, and is sure to draw more premium brands to Amazon over time.

The widening assortment of name-brand products, along with a growing roster of Prime benefits, like streaming content and same-day deliveries, will drive greater membership and share-of-wallet, he postulated, leading to Amazon’s increased dominance with the e-commerce channel.

Mushkin’s prime directive: Own the stock.

Rovi’s Pursuit Of TiVo Finally Comes To Fruition

Rovi announced it will acquire TiVo for a $1.1 billion cash and stock deal.

The deal, which has been rumored since last month, will combine the two companies into a new one that operates under the TiVo name. It will be led by Tom Carson, currently Rovi CEO.

The new company, which will serve close to 500 service providers internationally, is expected to realize at least $100 million in annual cost synergies, said Rovi, with 65 percent of these synergies recognized in the first 12 months. TiVo said last week it had 7 million subscribers. Rovi is a content-discovery platform and Cloud services provider for TV and over-the-top device manufacturers. More than 18 million consumers use its platforms, according to the company.

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