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Rapidly changing behaviours are accelerating consumer embrace of digital and health trends

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The acceleration of consumer trends and behavior that was already underway prior to the COVID-19 outbreak has taken another leap forward and will spark consumer-facing companies and retailers to reinvent the way they do business, according to a new PwC report.

The findings from two surveys taken before and after the COVID-19 pandemic and published today in PwC’s 11th consecutive Global Consumer Insights Survey focus on urban consumer purchasing habits and behaviours, and how global disruption has forced the acceleration of a more digital way of life.Billions of people worldwide live in cities, and this concentration has created a new era in global consumption; cities are the hubs where economic activity happens.

The survey results reveal that the pandemic and the ensuing social distancing measures put in place have led to fundamental changes in how consumers work, eat, communicate, and take care of their health. 

Consumers have adapted how they shop

Social distancing measures put in place because of the coronavirus have affected consumers in all aspects of life, including how they purchase groceries. While in-store grocery shopping is the main channel of choice, over a third of consumers (35%) are now buying food online, with 86% of those who shop online planning to continue after social distancing measures are removed. For non-food items, prior to the pandemic in-store shopping was still dominant compared to online shopping with 47% of consumers saying they shopped at brick-and-mortar stores daily or weekly compared to shopping via mobile phones (30%), computers (28%) and smart assistants (15%). Since then, online shopping for non-food items has seen a substantial increase (mobile phone 45%; computer 41%; tablet (33%), the trend is especially pronounced in China and the Middle East, with 60% and 58% of respondents respectively saying they’ve started shopping more on their mobile phones.

The importance of connection, community and self-care is clear

Fifty-nine percent of millennials and 57% of those with children are placing a greater focus on their wellbeing than other groups. Focus on self-care has increased, with 51% of urban consumers agreeing or strongly agreeing that they are more focused on taking care of their mental health and wellbeing, physical health and diet as a result of COVID-19. 

Urban dwellers surveyed after the outbreak, viewed safety and security and healthcare just as important to their quality of life  as employment prospects, with 49% and 45% of respondents saying so, respectively, compared to 45% for employment. 

Consumers and sustainability

Our research showed a clear embrace of sustainability and a sense of civic duty. For example, in survey results taken prior to the pandemic, 45% of our global respondents say they avoid the use of plastic whenever possible, 43% expect businesses to be accountable for their environmental impact, and 41% expect retailers to eliminate plastic bags and packaging for perishable items. Interestingly, when we asked consumers who were most responsible for encouraging sustainable behaviours in their city, 20% chose “me the consumer,” while 15% chose “the producer or manufacturer.” When we asked consumers about their willingness to share data, 49% said they were willing to share their data if it helped improve their city. 

“While certain trends have been on the upswing for quite some time, our research shows that the pandemic has sharpened consumers’ desire for transparency, sustainability and convenience. The companies that will reap the most rewards are the ones that have established trust with the consumer, invested in a seamless and frictionless end-to-end customer purchase journey and prioritized the consumers’ health and safety,” says Steve Barr, Global Consumer Markets Leader, PwC US.

In addition, Oz Ozturk, Global Consumer Markets Advisory Leader, PwC UK said,”In our 11 years of surveying consumers around the globe, we have never documented such a clear convergence of themes around transparency, sustainability, and social consciousness. At such a pivotal moment, the need for consumer-facing companies to establish trust with potential customers could not be any clearer.” 

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Development

Despite COVID-19 connectivity boost, world’s poorest left far behind 

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Digital connectivity is indispensable to overcome the pandemic, and for a sustainable and inclusive recovery. Photo: United Nations/Chetan Soni

Some 2.9 billion people still have never used the internet, and 96 per cent live in developing countries, a new UN report has found. According to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the estimated number of people who have gone online this year actually went up, to 4.9 billion, partially because of a “COVID connectivity boost”.   

This is good news for global development, but ITU said that people’s ability to connect remains profoundly unequal – as many hundreds of millions might only go online infrequently, using shared devices or facing connection speeds that hamper their internet use. 

“While almost two-thirds of the world’s population is now online, there is a lot more to do to get everyone connected to the Internet,” Houlin Zhao, ITU Secretary-General said. 

“ITU will work with all parties to make sure that the building blocks are in place to connect the remaining 2.9 billion. We are determined to ensure no one will be left behind.” 

‘Connectivity boost’ 

The UN agency’s report found that the unusually sharp rise in the number of people online suggests that measures taken during the pandemic contributed to the “COVID connectivity boost.” 

There were an estimated 782 million additional people who went online since 2019, an increase of 17 per cent due to measures such as lockdowns, school closures and the need to access services like remote banking.  

Uneven growth 

According to the document, users globally grew by more than 10 per cent in the first year of the COVID crisis, which was the largest annual increase in a decade. But it pointed out that growth has been uneven. 

Internet access is often unaffordable in poorer nations and almost three-quarters of people have never been online in the 46 least-developed countries.  

A ‘connectivity Grand Canyon’ 

Speaking in Geneva, Doreen Bogdan-Martin, Director of the ITU said: “The internet divide runs deep between developed and developing countries. Only a third of the population in Africa is using the internet. 

“In Europe, the shares are almost 90 per cent, which is the gap between those two regions of almost 60 percentage points. And there is what the UN Secretary-General António Guterres, has called in his Common Agenda blueprint for the future, “a connectivity Grand Canyon”. 

‘Digitally excluded’ 

The report found that younger people, men and urban dwellers are more likely to use the Internet than older adults, women and those in rural areas, with the gender gap more pronounced in developing nations. 

Poverty, illiteracy, limited electricity access and a lack of digital skills continued to hinder “digitally excluded” communities, ITU noted. 

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Finance

How Smart Investing can be a Significant Strategy for Traders

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Despite being one of the biggest sources of passive income, the forex market is still unexplored by many. The main reason is the risk involved. Traders, especially those with little experience, fear losing money because its an unpredictable and uncertain industry. However, the truth is that with smart investing strategies, you can save yourself from losses.

Strategies have always been an essential part of forex trading. Beginners are also advised to go through reviews, strategies, and recommendations from experts. For those who are just getting started, here are some of the strategies that can help in trading and smart investing.

Understand About Trading Styles and Your Goals:

When you decide to set out on a trading journey, the very first thing is to get a clear goal in your mind about the methods you are going to use. Each trading style has a separate risk profile attached to it. Therefore, the right decision is essential to have a successful trading journey.

Maintaining a slow pace

The best key to a successful trading career is consistency. Indeed, all traders have lost money, but if you have a positive edge, you can be at the top in no time. The best way to gain success is to educate yourself and create a trading plan for the future. Sticking to the plan and working on it is what you need to focus on.

Exploring new trading plans

Yes, consistency is important but never be afraid to reevaluate your trading plan if things are not working. The more your experience grows, the better your needs might change. Your plan must reflect your goal. In case your financial situation changes, you need to work with a new plan.

Checking your emotions

Keeping your emotions under control is what you need to look forward to. Never let your emotions do the talking for you. Remember, ‘revenge trading’ rarely ends on a positive note. If you lose a trade, don’t go all in and invest everything in it. Rather, try to stick to your initial plan and maintain the loss over time.

Knowing the market

The exact importance of educating yourself on the Forex market is essential. Try to understand every trend the trade has to follow and take time to study it all. You also need to know what exactly affects the capital before you risk it. This is a future investment that you are focusing on for positive revenue in returns.

Acknowledging your limits

The exact limit that you are willing to risk needs to be acknowledged before using it. The money invested in trade can never be returned after investment. This is why you need to set boundaries for yourself before actually using the capital. Never risk more capital than you can afford.

Knowing where to stop

Try to act upon the orders by maintaining a stop and limit-based order. The last thing you need to do is actually sit back and analyze the market every time. Trailing stops are very useful as it helps to specify the movement of the market in the future. In this case, if you place contingent orders, it will not limit your risks for loss.

Choosing the right trading partner

The right selection of the trading partner is as important as choosing the base capital. The right partner can help you create an influence over proper execution, pricing, and customer satisfaction. Take time to decide the partner and select it according to your need.

Bottom line

The above-detailed steps will help you to be a successful trader and help you towards success. But, remember, trading is an art, and the only way to ace it is by discipline and practice.

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Finance

Global ICT Excellence Awards rated highly Moscow for the startups ecosystem development

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The Government of Moscow won the second place among state structures in the International contest Global ICT Excellence Awards in the Startup Ecosystem nomination. The award is given to organizations that have implemented the most successful startup support projects. The Malaysian Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) won the first place. The winners were announced at the 25th World Congress of Information Technologies WCIT.

The jury of the award highly appreciated the Moscow Government programs for technology entrepreneurship. In particular, the experts rated the activities of the Moscow Innovation Cluster (MIC) aimed at transforming startups into a full-scale innovative business.

The cluster has combined all the main elements of the urban ecosystem for innovators. With its help, they can find partners and investors, organize production, establish cooperation with large companies, industrial, educational and scientific organizations.

Within the MIC framework, 11 intersectoral clusters specializing in developments of artificial intelligence, medicines, motor sports and other fields have been created. More than 10 thousand specialists from different fields participate in these projects alone.

More than 30 thousand organizations from Moscow and 80 more regions of Russia have already joined the Moscow Innovation Cluster. The cluster is supervised by the Moscow Department of Entrepreneurship and Innovative Development, and the City Department of Information Technology is responsible for its digital capabilities.

The programs of the Moscow Innovation Agency were also highly appreciated by the jury. Among them is the Moscow Accelerator project for scaling innovative solutions in promising batches in partnership with leading corporations. In two years, 13 thematic tracks were organized, for participation in which more than 4.8 thousand applications were received. Another major project is a pilot innovation testing program intended for testing ready-made technological products in urban environment. More than 140 sites in 18 branches are available for piloting. At the moment, 110 tests have been completed, 41 more are in the process of testing.

The Global ICT Excellence Awards have been awarded for more than 20 years for the best innovative solutions in the private and public sector aimed at developing information and communication technologies and improving the quality of people’s lives. Its founder is the World Information Technologies and Services Alliance (WITSA). The organization includes more than 80 countries.

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