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BenzingaEditorial

Square and Etsy Have What It Takes to Thrive Even More in the New Normal

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Over the past decade, e-commerce and digital payments have changed how the world works. The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the online shift and made sure they won’t lose momentum over the following decade. According to a research from Forbes, more than 13 million Visa (NYSE: V) cardholders made payments through e-commerce for the first time between January and March last year as consumer behavior started change due to the pandemic, enabled by established e-commerce systems that created seamless experiences for the end-user. Square (NYSE: SQ) and Etsy (NASDAQ: ETSY) did a good job in contributing to that new world.

Square: Empowering sellers and consumers to participate in the economy

Square shares may have had an impressive run over the past year, but Wall Street says the best is yet to come for this fintech specialist who continues to defy gravity. Its mission is to empower both consumers and sellers by providing the tools they need to participate in the economy.

Square provides sellers with the tools they need to run a business. Recently, it launched Square Online through which merchants can easily build an e-commerce storefront. Through its platform, they can also sell via Facebook (NASDAQ: FB), Instagram, and Pinterest (NYSE: PINS), or use its payment processing on third-party platforms like Wix.com Ltd (NASDAQ: WIX).

Most importantly, Square’s comprehensive offerings work together as one solution so retailers can manage their entire business from the Square dashboard. This feature is what sets Square apart from many  other payment processors, which often require merchants to use a combination of different products.

Just like PayPal Holdings (NASDAQ: PYPL), Square has a digital wallet as consumers can use Square’s Cash App to send, spend, and invest money as well as bitcoin. In addition to peer-to-peer transfers, Square now offers services like direct deposit and the Square Cash Card, a debit card that allows consumers to spend their Cash App balance in stores or online. The most saw the total balance of Cash App accounts skyrocket 180% compared to last year’s figure.

The Seller and Cash App ecosystems saw such adoption that they made gross profit and free cash flow to explode and Square’s story is just beginning as management sees a $160 billion market opportunity.

Etsy: A unique marketplace for unique goods

Etsy is a global marketplace that connects creative sellers with buyers looking for unique items. Besides giving consumers the ability to get personalized goods, it charges its sellers less than competing platforms like Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) Handmade, and it invests heavily to help its sellers succeed. In 2016, it launched a service that allows sellers to build their own websites for $15 per month called Pattern so they can personalize and differentiate their brands.

Caring for sellers and helping them thrive is what helped Etsy grow its revenue. Etsy’s gross merchandise sales, the value of all goods sold on the marketplace, accelerated in each of the last eight quarters, as the ecosystem expanded rapidly, and Etsy has been effectively monetizing each consumer on its platform.

During the fiscal 2020, Etsy’s business shifted into high gear as GMS and revenue both skyrocketed over 100% in the first nine months of the year. Etsy also has plenty of room to grow with management estimating that the market opportunity will reach $437 billion by 2023.

2021

There’s no doubt that the pandemic has depressed consumption, but there will be promising prospects for prepared merchants. The above two companies have disruption in their DNA and they are much more of a feel-good narrative. Rather than disrupting the brick-and-mortar business model, they enable small businesses to play against larger competitors. They are also well positioned to benefit from the gig economy. Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, the shift toward shifting professional ambitions from the office to a home office was already in full swing. The new normal forced many workers to get a side hustle – and several of them will undoubtedly explore this concept full time.

This article is not a press release and is contributed by a verified independent journalist for IAMNewswire. It should not be construed as investment advice at any time please read the full disclosure . IAM Newswire does not hold any position in the mentioned companies. Press Releases – If you are looking for full Press release distribution contact: press@iamnewswire.com Contributors – IAM Newswire accepts pitches. If you’re interested in becoming an IAM journalist contact: contributors@iamnewswire.com

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BenzingaEditorial

A Major EV Win for the Biden Administration

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On Sunday, the two South Korean battery makers, LG Energy Solution and SK Innovation Co. reached a settlement that will allow two plants in Georgia to move forward with plans to produce lithium-ion batteries for Ford Motor (NYSE: F) and Volkswagen (OTC: VWAGY). The settlement was reached before the Biden administration’s deadline on Sunday to intervene and reverse the decision made by the U.S. International Trade Commission. This outcome is a major win for the administration which recently unveiled a sweeping infrastructure plan to boost its EV progress. Biden’s $2 trillion infrastructure plan includes $174 billion in EV spending, which is more than the amount proposed for spending on roads and bridges.

The deal

Back in February, the ITC ruled that SK Innovation had stolen trade secrets related to EV batteries from LG Energy Solutions and ordered the U.S. to block the company from importing supplies to build batteries. The companies agreed to drop litigation in both the U.S. and South Korea and not pursue further lawsuits for a decade. SK Innovation will also pay LG Energy Solution $1.8 billion in cash and royalties.

Not resolving the dispute would cause more harm than thousands of lost jobs in Georgia, it threatened the whole country’s progress in curbing climate change with its EV efforts. For now, electric vehicles make 2% of new auto sales but the Biden administration is determined to shift away from gas-powered engines. If no settlement was reached, the Biden administration may have had to overrule the ITC in order to allow SK Innovation to build the plant as otherwise, Volkswagen and Ford would have had to find new battery suppliers with diminished bargaining power which would have delayed new model releases and hampered their EV progress. But doing so would harm its relationship with LG Chem that has a joint venture with General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM), with at least one more planned with, along with its other major clients such as Tesla Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA).

Joining forces with to build a strong EV supply chain 

Jong Hyun Kim, CEO of LG Energy Solution, and Jun Kim, CEO of SK Innovation, said in a joint statement that the firms would “compete in an amicable way”. The two South Korean battery makers are dedicated to work together to support the Biden administration’s climate agenda and to develop a robust U.S. supply chain. The United States need a strong, diversified and resilient EV battery supply chain to create good-paying jobs and lay the groundwork for an EV future. The president’s EV proposal also involves installing at least 500,000 charging stations across the country within less than a decade, incentives for Americans to purchase EVs along with funding to equip factories with the new technology and take care of the domestic supply of materials.

This article is not a press release and is contributed by a verified independent journalist for IAMNewswire. It should not be construed as investment advice at any time please read the full disclosure. IAM Newswire does not hold any position in the mentioned companies. Press Releases – If you are looking for full Press release distribution contact: press@iamnewswire.com Contributors – IAM Newswire accepts pitches. If you’re interested in becoming an IAM journalist contact: contributors@iamnewswire.com

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BenzingaEditorial

A Jam-Packed Week Ahead

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JPMorgan (NYSE: JPM), Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS), Delta earnings (NYSE: DAL) along with Coinbase IPO are just some of this week’s main spotlights. Other companies set to report earnings include Bed Bath & Beyond (NASDAQ: BBBY), Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC), PepsiCo Inc (NASDAQ: PEP), and UnitedHealth Group International (NYSE: UNH).

Monday

Monday will be the calm before the economic data storm. The federal budget balance is poised to be the day’s main event.

Tuesday

On Tuesday, we will get a look into some economic data such as the consumer price index for March. The CPI Index rose 0.4% in February, marking an annual increase of 1.7%.

Wednesday

Wednesday is the day of earnings, including reports by JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs and Wells Fargo as well as Bed Bath & Beyond, all before the opening bell.

But, it is also the day of the initial public offering of the cryptocurrency exchange operator, Coinbase (NASDAQ: COIN). Coinbase was founded in 2012 as a platform to trade bitcoin. Today, it has 43 million users and serves 7,000 institutional customers. Its IPO was delayed due to an investigation from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, after which the company agreed to pay $6.5 million to settle regulatory claims that it reported misleading information about its trading volumes. It did not admit to or deny the allegations.

Moderna Inc (NASDAQ: MRNA) will hold a virtual Vaccine Day for analysts and investors, where the company’s leadership will discuss its mRNA vaccines and key considerations for future developments.

Thursday

Besides economic reports, Thursday will also be a big earnings day as Bank of America Corporation (NYSE: BAC), BlackRock (NYSE: BLK), The Charles Schwab Corporation (NYSE: SCHW), Citigroup (NYSE: C), Delta Air Lines, JB Hunt Transportation Services Inc (NASDAQ: JBHT), PepsiCo, Rite Aid Corporation (NYSE: RAD), Truist Financial Corporation (NYSE: TFC), United Health Group, and US Bancorp are all set to report before the market open, while Alcoa Corporation (NYSE: AA) and PPG Industries Inc (NYSE: PPG) will report after the bell.

Friday

Before the opening bell, Ally Financial Inc (NYSE: ALLY), The Bank of New York Mellon (NYSE: BK), Citizens Financial Group Inc (NYSE: CFG), Kansas City Southern (NYSE: KSU), Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS), PNC Financial Services (NYSE: PNC), and State Street Corporation (NYSE: STT) will report their earnings. But many eyes will be upon President Biden who will have his first meeting with a foreign leader since taking office. With Japan Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, Biden is expected to discuss a new trade alliance to bolster semiconductor production as the world faces crippling chip shortages due to the coronavirus pandemic and the U.S. trade war with China.

Overall, a versatile and exciting week is ahead.

This article is not a press release and is contributed by a verified independent journalist for IAMNewswire. It should not be construed as investment advice at any time please read the full disclosure. IAM Newswire does not hold any position in the mentioned companies. Press Releases – If you are looking for full Press release distribution contact: press@iamnewswire.com Contributors – IAM Newswire accepts pitches. If you’re interested in becoming an IAM journalist contact: contributors@iamnewswire.com

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BenzingaEditorial

EV Updates

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President Biden is pushing hard to get more Americans to buy EVs in order to combat global warming and encourage domestic manufacturing with a $2 trillion infrastructure plan he is trying to sell to Congress that includes about $174 billion to boost EV sales and production, which is more than the president proposes spending on roads and bridges. The EV market is developing full speed ahead across the globe, with Europe and China being already ahead of the US in the race towards an all-electric future.

Peugeot Is Coming After Volkswagen and Tesla

As Stellantis N.V. (NYSE: STLA) came to life as Fiat Chrysler (NYSE: FCAU) and Groupe PSA joined forces, one of their subsidiary brands recently revealed a fully electric Peugeot 308 will arrive in 2023 to challenge Volkswagen’s (OTC: VWAGY) multi-billion euro gamble to challenge Tesla’s (NASDAQ: TSLA) electric car dominance, the ID.3. Despite initial software problems, VW’s first all-electric vehicle has been well received with the investment bank UBS declaring it to be a viable threat to Tesla, with a huge family of electric vehicles across the VW brand empire coming along in the near future.

The recent petit e-208, an all-electric version of the popular 208 hatchback made a great first impression with its blend of style, driving dynamics, gadgets and range. The e-208 is currently the quickest and most powerful 208 variant on sale and the upcoming e-308 could become Europe’s best-looking hatchback. Specifics regarding e-308 are rather scarce, besides the fact that it is in the works and that it’s going to debut in 2023.

The future of the U.S. EV market hangs in the balance

President Biden has until Sunday to intervene in a dispute between two major South Korean battery producers over the fate of lithium-ion battery factories in Georgia. His decision carries major implications for plans of US automakers to produce new EVs over the coming years. The outcome threatens Biden’s EV goals for the United States and the Democratic Party’s fragile success in the key state.

The battle of two South Korean Corporations

SK Innovation has built a large battery factory northeast of Atlanta, in the city of Commerce, with another factory alongside it being under construction, and a third in the works. But, earlier this year, SK said its operations in Georgia may be shut down due to a ruling by the U.S. International Trade Commission of its dispute with LG Chem. Despite a deep political division in the state, Democrats and Republicans have found common ground in trying to save the factories. The stakes are high as letting the ruling stand could damage the Democratic Party’s credibility in Georgia and hobble a key supplier in a domestic EV market already hungry for batteries. On the other hand, vetoing the decision would call into question the administration’s global efforts to advance intellectual property protections, which is a major priority from an economic perspective.

The Detroit battle lines are clearly drawn

For the needs of its electric pickup F-150 which is due next year, Ford has contracted with SK Innovation which has been accused of destroying evidence in a case alleging stolen trade secrets. SK threatened to withdraw its battery business from the U.S. altogether if Biden doesn’t overturn the decision, which would leave Ford Motor (NYSE: F) and Volkswagen with diminished bargaining power with remaining suppliers.

On the other end, General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) has a joint venture with at least one more planned with LG Chem. In addition to GM, some of LG’s major clients include Tesla Inc. and Hyundai Motor Company (OTC: HYMTF).

A tough decision to make

Now it’s up to the Biden administration to decide whether to get involved. This situation illustrates the fragility of U.S. automakers’ battery supply chains as traditional automakers are investing heavily in their EV infrastructure but remain reliant on Asian suppliers to provide the energy to power their EVs. President Biden needs to find a way not to condone unfair trade practices but support policies that will support the United States in becoming a leader in the EV market while simultaneously reducing carbon emissions.

This article is not a press release and is contributed by a verified independent journalist for IAMNewswire. It should not be construed as investment advice at any time please read the full disclosure. IAM Newswire does not hold any position in the mentioned companies. Press Releases – If you are looking for full Press release distribution contact: press@iamnewswire.com Contributors – IAM Newswire accepts pitches. If you’re interested in becoming an IAM journalist contact: contributors@iamnewswire.com

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