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In this week’s Commercial Awareness update, we discuss the challenges ahead for the new French President, the markets, more excellent results for Facebook, the Sunday Times Rich List and more.
1. Macron becomes French President
Last night, it was announced that Emmanuel Macron would become the youngest President of France after defeating National Front’s Marine Le Pen in the final round of voting. The pro-business, pro-EU centralist candidate secured 66.06% of the vote in a convincing victory. This is the first time in decades that the Presidency hasn’t been challenged by the two traditional main left and right wing parties. Macron served in Francois Hollande's government, but set up a new movement called En Marche! just last year. The markets had been worried about the potentially destructive far-right wing candidate Le Pen, so news of Macron's victory caused the Euro the rise 0.2% against the dollar.
This comprehensive victory for Macron doesn’t mean the start of his Presidency will be easy. This election shows the French people have become disillusioned with mainstream politics and Macron will have to redress political and social divides. As a brand new movement, En Marche! has no representation in the French Parliament. Next month there are elections and En Marche! hope to run candidates in all seats. However, it’s highly unlikely they will gain an absolute majority, meaning Macron will be relying on his negotiating skills to form a stable government.
Questions to ask yourself… Is Macron’s win good for Britain’s Brexit negotiations? Why do people feel mainstream politics is failing them?
2. Market watch
Adidas growing faster than Nike
Global sportswear company Adidas saw their sales increase 16% in the first quarter of 2017, as it outperformed closest rival Nike. In the key markets of America and China sales rose by 31%, compared with 3% and 15% for Nike. Shares in Adidas hit record highs on the news and the strong performance is expected to continue throughout 2017. The popularity of its retro trainers has been essential in the strong performance, as well as a 53% boost to online sales.
Facebook’s profits and growth show no signs of stalling as they released their first quarter results last week. The social media giant reported revenue had increased by 49% to $8 billion, compared to the same period last year, and profits were up 76%. What’s possibly more incredible is the growing number of monthly users – now at 1.94 billion. Facebook claims 1.3 billion people use the social network daily, which equates to around one-sixth of the total global population. Despite these excellent results, investors are cautious about the continued growth of the company amid fears advertising revenue cannot continue growing this rate.
Apple’s disappointing iPhone sales
Apple’s share price fell last week on the news there was another dip in iPhone sales during the last quarter. The company sold 50.8 million iPhone which was below expectations and a drop from the 51.2 million sold in the same period last year. In wasn’t all bad news, as the company reported better than expected profits and sales of their Mac range did increase. Nonetheless, the share price fell by 1.5% in the hours after these results were released. The iPhone 8 is scheduled to be launched in September, so it could be people are waiting for later in the year to purchase a new iPhone.
Questions to ask yourself… How has Facebook been able to continue growing this quickly? What can Apple do to boost sales in its flagship product?
3. The new Rich List
The new Sunday Times Rich List has been published with a record 134 British billionaires included in the 1,000 richest people. Across those included wealth rose by 14% to £658 billion in the last year – gains in the stock market has been a key factor in this increase. Equality campaigners have highlighted these figures as a clear indication Britain is only working for the wealthiest few. Despite the belief that Brexit would harm the wealthiest, they have actually enjoyed a boost thanks to events since the Leave vote.
There was more diversity in the composition of this year’s list, with more women and people from ethnic background included than ever before. Steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal saw the largest wealth increase, gaining £6 billion in the last 12 months.
Questions to ask yourself… Does the increased wealth of the richest show the UK economy is strong?
4. Election update... what did that Diane Abbott interview teach us?
Last week, an interview Labour MP Diane Abbott did with radio station LBC went viral for all the wrong reasons – I’m sure many of you saw it (if not, here it is). The shadow Home Secretary got in a complete muddle about Labour’s election pledge to increase the number of police officers and quoted figures which suggested the 10,000 new officers would be paid just £30. It’s difficult not to laugh and cringe while listening to it, but it does also highlight some key issues surrounding interviews.
Firstly, research is fundamental. I’m sure you’ve heard this advice multiple times, but not knowing your stuff about a firm you’re applying too sticks out like a sore thumb. You will never be able to know everything, but having a strong understanding of how the business works and key figures surrounding revenue and business activity is paramount. Secondly, if you really don’t know something, don’t make it up. When it comes to figures and statistics, the Abbott interview highlights how much you can lack credibility when you get them mixed up. Many questions in interviews aren’t as black and white, but if you’re not sure about something it’s often best to honest. Starting an answer with: ‘I’m not 100% sure, but would expect…’, is better than pretending to know.
Questions to ask yourself… Do blunders like this lead to a lack of confidence in politicians?