Making Cars Cool Again

On Monday, September 11, 2017, Category: Ludovic Subran

​Last year, a colleague of mine went twice to the Paris Motor Show. The first time, as an industry expert, he was invited along with the press to discover the brand new models - before the show even started. He came back to the office with stars in his eyes: the electric car was the star of the event and finally making it to the center stage. Skeptics and cynics could crawl back into the hole they came from - me included! The second time, a week after, he took his wife to see the concept cars. Yet, he could only show her humongous SUVs which had replaced the edgy electric vehicles. 

That was a year after the Dieselgate. 

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The Global Financial Crisis: 10 Years, 3 Achievements, 3 Must Do’s

On Friday, August 11, 2017, Category: Ludovic Subran

On a cool summer morning, ten years ago, the world’s end began. Or so it seemed when subprime funds were frozen on the 9th of August 2007. The credit crunch sent a chill down investors’ spines, which spread into the entire world economy.

What came to be known as the Global Financial Crisis is no cause for celebration. It cost jobs, destroyed wealth, and shattered trust.

A decade later, economic recovery finally begins to gather steam. What will we carry with us? Even during the bleakest hours of the GFC, there’s been much that world leaders have done well. At the same time, there’s much to be done to ensure the current upward trajectory and prepare for future shocks. These always come, eventually.
Here are six takeaways from the crisis: three things the world has done well, and three goals that are yet to be achieved.

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​Saving the World, One Purchase at a Time

On Tuesday, August 01, 2017, Category: Ludovic Subran

Here’s an idea for a mental exercise.
First, try to remember what you thought about the Chinese economy twenty years ago. If you’re too young for that, go back in time as far as you can. What do you see? If you’ve watched TV news reports or, assuming you take your information needs seriously, read economic research analysis, you’d probably imagine something along the lines of a lot of cheap trinkets, toys or garments.
Now think again, but this time focus on the present. What do you see when you conjure up the Chinese economy? High-end electronics purchased on Alibaba, the world’s largest online shopping platform? Long lines of well-to-do tourists queuing outside luxury shops in London, Paris and New York?
There are many signals alerting us to China’s transformation from an export-dependent manufacturer of low-margin products into a consumer-driven economy. But what does this monumental shift mean to the global economy?

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Poker face

On Friday, June 30, 2017, Category: Ludovic Subran

​I was once told that there are only two options for a report with unpleasant messages. You have to spice it up with either sex or gambling. We went for the latter and named our newest study “High Stakes Game: Payment Behavior, Cash Piles and Major Insolvencies”. After all, an Economic Outlook report can still be considered PG-rated. 

The news are not great. 

The economic acceleration does come with disagreeable surprises. Turnovers are growing but so are input costs and the jaw effect on companies can be important. While credit is still cheap, the time has come to wean the private sector off abundant liquidity. And of course, when it comes to political risk, all bets are off.

From payment behavior to cash piles to major insolvencies, companies will have to gamble a little if they want to break the bank this year yet you should never roll the dice when it comes to payment risk.

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​Thinking Outside the Cube

On Monday, May 22, 2017, Category: Ludovic Subran

“One cannot escape from one's own epoch, however revolutionary one may be.” - Georges Braque 

Connected, segmented, cross-channeled, omni-channeled, seamless, automated and optimized. Whatever the adjective, whatever the angle, all of these seem to boil down to the one meta-buzzword of our epoch: Customer Experience (CX). 

It might be tempting to dismiss it as hype. But the quest for CX is reshaping the multi-billion industry that is retail​. It is also threatening millions of jobs, as employees of insolvent giant chains sadly learn almost on a daily basis. And it is one of the focuses of our latest in-depth study, ”Retail, Disrupted – Pressure and Potential in the Digital Age​”.

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