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Small Slivers Of Hope In The Global War On Cash

Small Slivers Of Hope In The Global War On Cash

Authored by Nick Corbishley via,

2022: The Year That Many Brits Learnt…



Small Slivers Of Hope In The Global War On Cash

Authored by Nick Corbishley via,

2022: The Year That Many Brits Learnt to Love Cash Again

However it may seem, the title of this article does not include a typo. It mentions the year 2022, not 2023, for the simple reason that the publication of data on payment habits in the UK has roughly a one-year lag. As such,

it wasn’t until late 2023 that it became apparent that the use of cash had rebounded in 2022, for the first time in ten years.

This is potentially an important trend reversal. Until recently it seemed that the British public, with a little helpful nudging from the government, high street banks and retailers, payment card companies, fintech firms and tech giants, was intent on abandoning cash as quickly as possible. A decade ago, around 60% of payments in the UK were made using cash; by 2021, with the COVID-19 pandemic raging, e-commerce booming and the contactless revolution in full swing, that figure had slumped to 15%. As in many other countries, the amount of cash in circulation did increase during this time, but this was a sign of hoarding, not of increased payments.

At the beginning of this year, Mastercard, a company that has singled out cash as its number one enemy and whose former CEO (and now World Bank Managing Director) Ajay Banga described physical money as “public enemy number one”, unveiled the findings of a survey it had commissioned into payment trends in the UK. Those findings, the company said, pointed to a further decrease in cash usage in the UK, which aligned perfectly with the company’s broader goals, exemplified by its current slogan: “World Beyond Cash”.

But then something rather unexpected happened (though we did kind of call it in August 2022): cash began staging a come back. In September this year, a report on payment trends by UK Finance, the country’s largest bank lobbying group, included a striking finding: cash payments had risen in 2022, for the first time in a decade. The number of cash payments had risen by 7%, the report noted, adding that surging inflation had prompted many people to turn back to cash or use it more often than before to help them manage their budgets.

This trend was further confirmed earlier this month (December 2023), when the British Retail Consortium (BRC) released the findings of its annual payments survey, which covers 2022. Like UK Finance, the BRC survey found that cash use had increased. From the Daily Telegraph:

Coins and banknotes accounted for nearly a fifth of transactions in 2022, according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC)’s annual Payments Survey.

Its report said: “This year’s Payments Survey shows an increase in cash usage for the first time in a decade, up from 15pc (in 2021) to just under 19pc of transactions (in 2022).

“Faced with rising living costs, cash was a useful tool for some people to manage their finances and track their day-to-day spending.”

The increase also reflects a natural return to cash following the move to contactless during the pandemic, the report said.

It is the first time since the BRC’s reports started in 2013 that cash usage has increased year-on-year.

The BRC report tries to make light of this trend reversal, describing the use of cash in shops as still “fairly minimal,” adding that it reflects a “natural return” to cash following the huge shift toward contactless during the pandemic. There may well be some truth to this and one should be wary of reading too much into this potentially short-lived trend reversal. Card payments are still the number payment choice for UK citizens and it is quite possible that this rebound in cash use is merely a dead cat bounce (apologies to cat lovers).

But it is also worth bearing in mind that this is the UK’s largest retail lobbying group doing the talking here. The companies it represents, including large retailers, big banks, tech firms and payment companies like Visa and Mastercard, have a clear bias toward non-cash payments. For example, retailers and banks prefer people to use contactless payments as much as possible because: a) they are quicker to process, which means more sales per hour and more fees for the banks; and b) people tend to spend their money in a more carefree manner, which also means more sales for the retailers and more commissions and fees for the banks.

This was already known when contactless cards began making their appearance almost two decades ago, as a 2006 Financial Times article makes clear:

Mr Williams, [controller at The Bailey Co, parent company of Arby’s, a fast food restaurant chain based in the US], has found that customers spend about 50 per cent more when they use a contactless card than when they pay for their food with cash: “I think it is psychological: because customers are not pulling cash out of their wallet, they spend more.” Arby’s has also made productivity gains with less time being spent on counting money and taking it to the bank, Mr Williams says.

Another benefit to retailers is that cards allow them to capture data about their customers from small transactions.

“If contactless cards offer merchants better information on their customers, that could prove to be valuable,” says Mr Uzureau.

These are all major perks for retail businesses, banks and payment processing companies like Visa and Mastercard, but can be major shortcomings for individual consumers, particularly in times of hardship such as now.  As inflation has surged in the UK, more and more people have struggled to make ends meet, and many are turning to cash for relief. It is an example of how one broadly negative trend — the gradual pauperisation of large swathes of the population through austerity and inflation — can give rise to a broadly positive trend: the rediscovery of the benefits of cash.

As in the US, tightening household budgets have triggered a surge in what has become known as “cash stuffing.” As Forbes reported in August, this is nothing more than “a new name for the time-honoured, simple but effective budgeting method known as the ‘envelope system’ or ‘envelope budgeting””:

Cash stuffing involves taking your spending money, converting it to cash and stuffing it into envelopes marked with spending categories like rent, bills, groceries and gas.

You determine how much money you want to spend in each category on a weekly or monthly basis. Then, you put that much cash in each envelope and commit to only spending what’s in your envelopes.

While you can use a spreadsheet or a budgeting app to do this, many people find using physical cash and envelopes to visualize their spending to be more effective. Money in a bank account can seem more abstract, and you might not be able to keep track of how much you have left to spend at all times. If you go to grab cash out of your groceries envelope and see you have $40 left, you know exactly how much you can spend at the supermarket without going over budget.

On December 14, the British tabloid The Sun on Sunday ran a feature on how two mothers had saved hundreds of pounds in one month by switching from contactless to cash. One of the mothers realised that if she continued the practice she would be more than £5,512 better off over the course of the year. While this may be anecdotal, a survey by the consumer affairs magazine Which? found that 52% of respondents believe that using cash helps them to keep better track of their expenses. One in five of those who don’t use cash said they will start if inflation continues to rise.

“ When you pay with coins and notes it feels more like you are spending money,” clinical psychologist Dr Marianne Trent told the Sun on Sunday.

“In many ways it doesn’t feel as real if you are using plastic and it’s easy to tap away without realising just how much is coming out of your account.”

The Post Office has been offering intermediary cash services for banks in recent years and since the summer of 2022 has seen a sustained surge in the amount of cash being deposited and withdrawn at its branches. In November this year, personal cash withdrawals across the Post Office’s 11,500 branches totaled £878 million, the highest amount on record. Nearly half (44%) of respondents to a recent Post Office survey said they will be using cash to help budget during the festive period.

What’s more, the overall volume of cash deposit transactions, including by businesses, was up more than 450,000 year-on-year (+8.5%), suggesting that businesses in particular are responding to bank-imposed cash limits by depositing smaller values but at higher volumes at their local Post Office. As we reported a few months ago, this is happening despite the fact that large banks in the UK, with the help of the Financial Conduct Authority, are making it increasingly difficult for people to not only deposit cash in their branches but also use the intermediary services offered by the Post Office. 

This raises a key point: cash use is rebounding despite the concerted efforts by the government, banks and retailers to limit its use, which I believe makes this trend reversal all the more impressive.

The UK’s high street banks have already closed some 5,000 branches over the past eight years — at a rate of around 54 per month — and 15,000 cashpoints, or ATMs, over the past five, with hundreds more scheduled to close this year. Both large and small retailers have also refused to accept cash. The government could, of course, step in and do what many state and local governments in the US have done and pass a law prohibiting businesses from not accepting cash.

But that’s not happening. Instead, government is getting in on the act. Many local authorities, for example, have already banned cash as a means of paying for parking. The government even recently proposed closing all rail ticket offices, which would force all passengers to use card-only vending machines or make their purchases online. But the idea triggered such a visceral backlash, particularly from organisations representing the blind, wheelchair-bound and other disadvantaged groups, that the government ended up shelving it two months later.

There have been other small victories along the way. In November, the supermarket chain Booths became the first large British retailer to axe almost all of the self-service tills in its stores, which tend to favour quicker, less fiddly non-cash payments, saying the decision was in response to feedback from customers. A similar trend is taking place in the US where major retail chains such as Costco, Walmart and Wegmans are rethinking their self-checkout strategies, in large part due to an explosion in shoplifting. One study of retailers in the US, UK and other European countries found that companies with self-checkout lanes had a loss rate of around 4%, more than twice the industry average.

There was positive news for cash lovers from other parts of the world this year, too.

In Switzerland cash is once against the most frequently used means of payment after losing ground during the pandemic. The same goes for my country of residence, Spain, where three out of four Spaniards continue to use cash on a daily basis, according to a Bank of Spain survey.

Earlier this month, the BBC reported that cash “continues to rule” in India despite a recent boom in digital payments sparked by the Modi government’s demonetisation program, which will go down in history as one of the largest government-led attacks against physical money. The people of Nigeria also stuck with cash despite the central bank’s disastrous attempts to force its floundering CBDC, the eNaira, on the population. As we reported in February, the government and central bank eventually backed down, but only after visiting untold economic pain on millions of Nigerian citizens.

In some countries, including Slovakia and Austria, governments have taken steps to enshrine the use of cash in the national constitution. Austria’s attempt to protect the use of cash through legal means was denounced by Brussels’ European Commission representative in the country, Martin Selmayr, who argued that it contravened EU law. When asked on the matter in November, Paul Gentiloni, the EU Commissioner for Economy, responded that “Member States cannot legislate or adopt legally binding acts in that area, unless the EU empowers them or if they do so for the implementation of EU acts.”

In other words, according to the European Commission, no national government in the Euro Area can pass laws to protect the use of cash — at least not without its say so! The Commission, which has been waging a decade-long war against cash and which, together with the European Central Bank, is determined to launch a digital euro, claims to have sole jurisdiction in this area.

It is a reminder that while small but key victories have been achieved in defence of cash this year, the global war against physical money continues unabated.

Tyler Durden Sun, 12/31/2023 - 09:20

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Congress’ failure so far to deliver on promise of tens of billions in new research spending threatens America’s long-term economic competitiveness

A deal that avoided a shutdown also slashed spending for the National Science Foundation, putting it billions below a congressional target intended to…



Science is again on the chopping block on Capitol Hill. AP Photo/Sait Serkan Gurbuz

Federal spending on fundamental scientific research is pivotal to America’s long-term economic competitiveness and growth. But less than two years after agreeing the U.S. needed to invest tens of billions of dollars more in basic research than it had been, Congress is already seriously scaling back its plans.

A package of funding bills recently passed by Congress and signed by President Joe Biden on March 9, 2024, cuts the current fiscal year budget for the National Science Foundation, America’s premier basic science research agency, by over 8% relative to last year. That puts the NSF’s current allocation US$6.6 billion below targets Congress set in 2022.

And the president’s budget blueprint for the next fiscal year, released on March 11, doesn’t look much better. Even assuming his request for the NSF is fully funded, it would still, based on my calculations, leave the agency a total of $15 billion behind the plan Congress laid out to help the U.S. keep up with countries such as China that are rapidly increasing their science budgets.

I am a sociologist who studies how research universities contribute to the public good. I’m also the executive director of the Institute for Research on Innovation and Science, a national university consortium whose members share data that helps us understand, explain and work to amplify those benefits.

Our data shows how underfunding basic research, especially in high-priority areas, poses a real threat to the United States’ role as a leader in critical technology areas, forestalls innovation and makes it harder to recruit the skilled workers that high-tech companies need to succeed.

A promised investment

Less than two years ago, in August 2022, university researchers like me had reason to celebrate.

Congress had just passed the bipartisan CHIPS and Science Act. The science part of the law promised one of the biggest federal investments in the National Science Foundation in its 74-year history.

The CHIPS act authorized US$81 billion for the agency, promised to double its budget by 2027 and directed it to “address societal, national, and geostrategic challenges for the benefit of all Americans” by investing in research.

But there was one very big snag. The money still has to be appropriated by Congress every year. Lawmakers haven’t been good at doing that recently. As lawmakers struggle to keep the lights on, fundamental research is quickly becoming a casualty of political dysfunction.

Research’s critical impact

That’s bad because fundamental research matters in more ways than you might expect.

For instance, the basic discoveries that made the COVID-19 vaccine possible stretch back to the early 1960s. Such research investments contribute to the health, wealth and well-being of society, support jobs and regional economies and are vital to the U.S. economy and national security.

Lagging research investment will hurt U.S. leadership in critical technologies such as artificial intelligence, advanced communications, clean energy and biotechnology. Less support means less new research work gets done, fewer new researchers are trained and important new discoveries are made elsewhere.

But disrupting federal research funding also directly affects people’s jobs, lives and the economy.

Businesses nationwide thrive by selling the goods and services – everything from pipettes and biological specimens to notebooks and plane tickets – that are necessary for research. Those vendors include high-tech startups, manufacturers, contractors and even Main Street businesses like your local hardware store. They employ your neighbors and friends and contribute to the economic health of your hometown and the nation.

Nearly a third of the $10 billion in federal research funds that 26 of the universities in our consortium used in 2022 directly supported U.S. employers, including:

  • A Detroit welding shop that sells gases many labs use in experiments funded by the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, Department of Defense and Department of Energy.

  • A Dallas-based construction company that is building an advanced vaccine and drug development facility paid for by the Department of Health and Human Services.

  • More than a dozen Utah businesses, including surveyors, engineers and construction and trucking companies, working on a Department of Energy project to develop breakthroughs in geothermal energy.

When Congress shortchanges basic research, it also damages businesses like these and people you might not usually associate with academic science and engineering. Construction and manufacturing companies earn more than $2 billion each year from federally funded research done by our consortium’s members.

A lag or cut in federal research funding would harm U.S. competitiveness in critical advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence and robotics. Hispanolistic/E+ via Getty Images

Jobs and innovation

Disrupting or decreasing research funding also slows the flow of STEM – science, technology, engineering and math – talent from universities to American businesses. Highly trained people are essential to corporate innovation and to U.S. leadership in key fields, such as AI, where companies depend on hiring to secure research expertise.

In 2022, federal research grants paid wages for about 122,500 people at universities that shared data with my institute. More than half of them were students or trainees. Our data shows that they go on to many types of jobs but are particularly important for leading tech companies such as Google, Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Intel.

That same data lets me estimate that over 300,000 people who worked at U.S. universities in 2022 were paid by federal research funds. Threats to federal research investments put academic jobs at risk. They also hurt private sector innovation because even the most successful companies need to hire people with expert research skills. Most people learn those skills by working on university research projects, and most of those projects are federally funded.

High stakes

If Congress doesn’t move to fund fundamental science research to meet CHIPS and Science Act targets – and make up for the $11.6 billion it’s already behind schedule – the long-term consequences for American competitiveness could be serious.

Over time, companies would see fewer skilled job candidates, and academic and corporate researchers would produce fewer discoveries. Fewer high-tech startups would mean slower economic growth. America would become less competitive in the age of AI. This would turn one of the fears that led lawmakers to pass the CHIPS and Science Act into a reality.

Ultimately, it’s up to lawmakers to decide whether to fulfill their promise to invest more in the research that supports jobs across the economy and in American innovation, competitiveness and economic growth. So far, that promise is looking pretty fragile.

This is an updated version of an article originally published on Jan. 16, 2024.

Jason Owen-Smith receives research support from the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and Wellcome Leap.

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What’s Driving Industrial Development in the Southwest U.S.

The post-COVID-19 pandemic pipeline, supply imbalances, investment and construction challenges: these are just a few of the topics address by a powerhouse…



The post-COVID-19 pandemic pipeline, supply imbalances, investment and construction challenges: these are just a few of the topics address by a powerhouse panel of executives in industrial real estate this week at NAIOP’s I.CON West in Long Beach, California. Led by Dawn McCombs, principal and Denver lead industrial specialist for Avison Young, the panel tackled some of the biggest issues facing the sector in the Western U.S. 

Starting with the pandemic in 2020 and continuing through 2022, McCombs said, the industrial sector experienced a huge surge in demand, resulting in historic vacancies, rent growth and record deliveries. Operating fundamentals began to normalize in 2023 and construction starts declined, certainly impacting vacancy and absorption moving forward.  

“Development starts dropped by 65% year-over-year across the U.S. last year. In Q4, we were down 25% from pre-COVID norms,” began Megan Creecy-Herman, president, U.S. West Region, Prologis, noting that all of that is setting us up to see an improvement of fundamentals in the market. “U.S. vacancy ended 2023 at about 5%, which is very healthy.” 

Vacancies are expected to grow in Q1 and Q2, peaking mid-year at around 7%. Creecy-Herman expects to see an increase in absorption as customers begin to have confidence in the economy, and everyone gets some certainty on what the Fed does with interest rates. 

“It’s an interesting dynamic to see such a great increase in rents, which have almost doubled in some markets,” said Reon Roski, CEO, Majestic Realty Co. “It’s healthy to see a slowing down… before [rents] go back up.” 

Pre-pandemic, a lot of markets were used to 4-5% vacancy, said Brooke Birtcher Gustafson, fifth-generation president of Birtcher Development. “Everyone was a little tepid about where things are headed with a mediocre outlook for 2024, but much of this is normalizing in the Southwest markets.”  

McCombs asked the panel where their companies found themselves in the construction pipeline when the Fed raised rates in 2022.   

In Salt Lake City, said Angela Eldredge, chief operations officer at Price Real Estate, there is a typical 12-18-month lead time on construction materials. “As rates started to rise in 2022, lots of permits had already been pulled and construction starts were beginning, so those project deliveries were in fall 2023. [The slowdown] was good for our market because it kept rates high, vacancies lower and helped normalize the market to a healthy pace.” 

A supply imbalance can stress any market, and Gustafson joked that the current imbalance reminded her of a favorite quote from the movie Super Troopers: “Desperation is a stinky cologne.” “We’re all still a little crazed where this imbalance has put us, but for the patient investor and owner, there will be a rebalancing and opportunity for the good quality real estate to pass the sniff test,” she said.  

At Bircher, Gustafson said that mid-pandemic, there were predictions that one billion square feet of new product would be required to meet tenant demand, e-commerce growth and safety stock. That transition opened a great opportunity for investors to run at the goal. “In California, the entitlement process is lengthy, around 24-36 months to get from the start of an acquisition to the completion of a building,” she said. Fast forward to 2023-2024, a lot of what is being delivered in 2024 is the result of that chase.  

“Being an optimistic developer, there is good news. The supply imbalance helped normalize what was an unsustainable surge in rents and land values,” she said. “It allowed corporate heads of real estate to proactively evaluate growth opportunities, opened the door for contrarian investors to land bank as values drop, and provided tenants with options as there is more product. Investment goals and strategies have shifted, and that’s created opportunity for buyers.” 

“Developers only know how to run and develop as much as we can,” said Roski. “There are certain times in cycles that we are forced to slow down, which is a good thing. In the last few years, Majestic has delivered 12-14 million square feet, and this year we are developing 6-8 million square feet. It’s all part of the cycle.”  

Creecy-Herman noted that compared to the other asset classes and opportunities out there, including office and multifamily, industrial remains much more attractive for investment. “That was absolutely one of the things that underpinned the amount of investment we saw in a relatively short time period,” she said.  

Market rent growth across Los Angeles, Inland Empire and Orange County moved up more than 100% in a 24-month period. That created opportunities for landlords to flexible as they’re filling up their buildings. “Normalizing can be uncomfortable especially after that kind of historic high, but at the same time it’s setting us up for strong years ahead,” she said. 

Issues that owners and landlords are facing with not as much movement in the market is driving a change in strategy, noted Gustafson. “Comps are all over the place,” she said. “You have to dive deep into every single deal that is done to understand it and how investment strategies are changing.” 

Tenants experienced a variety of challenges in the pandemic years, from supply chain to labor shortages on the negative side, to increased demand for products on the positive, McCombs noted.  

“Prologis has about 6,700 customers around the world, from small to large, and the universal lesson [from the pandemic] is taking a more conservative posture on inventories,” Creecy-Herman said. “Customers are beefing up inventories, and that conservatism in the supply chain is a lesson learned that’s going to stick with us for a long time.” She noted that the company has plenty of clients who want to take more space but are waiting on more certainty from the broader economy.  

“E-commerce grew by 8% last year, and we think that’s going to accelerate to 10% this year. This is still less than 25% of all retail sales, so the acceleration we’re going to see in e-commerce… is going to drive the business forward for a long time,” she said. 

Roski noted that customers continually re-evaluate their warehouse locations, expanding during the pandemic and now consolidating but staying within one delivery day of vast consumer bases.  

“This is a generational change,” said Creecy-Herman. “Millions of young consumers have one-day delivery as a baseline for their shopping experience. Think of what this means for our business long term to help our customers meet these expectations.” 

McCombs asked the panelists what kind of leasing activity they are experiencing as a return to normalcy is expected in 2024. 

“During the pandemic, shifts in the ports and supply chain created a build up along the Mexican border,” said Roski, noting border towns’ importance to increased manufacturing in Mexico. A shift of populations out of California and into Arizona, Nevada, Texas and Florida have resulted in an expansion of warehouses in those markets. 

Eldridge said that Salt Lake City’s “sweet spot” is 100-200 million square feet, noting that the market is best described as a mid-box distribution hub that is close to California and Midwest markets. “Our location opens up the entire U.S. to our market, and it’s continuing to grow,” she said.   

The recent supply chain and West Coast port clogs prompted significant investment in nearshoring and port improvements. “Ports are always changing,” said Roski, listing a looming strike at East Coast ports, challenges with pirates in the Suez Canal, and water issues in the Panama Canal. “Companies used to fix on one port and that’s where they’d bring in their imports, but now see they need to be [bring product] in a couple of places.” 

“Laredo, [Texas,] is one of the largest ports in the U.S., and there’s no water. It’s trucks coming across the border. Companies have learned to be nimble and not focused on one area,” she said. 

“All of the markets in the southwest are becoming more interconnected and interdependent than they were previously,” Creecy-Herman said. “In Southern California, there are 10 markets within 500 miles with over 25 million consumers who spend, on average, 10% more than typical U.S. consumers.” Combined with the port complex, those fundamentals aren’t changing. Creecy-Herman noted that it’s less of a California exodus than it is a complementary strategy where customers are taking space in other markets as they grow. In the last 10 years, she noted there has been significant maturation of markets such as Las Vegas and Phoenix. As they’ve become more diversified, customers want to have a presence there. 

In the last decade, Gustafson said, the consumer base has shifted. Tenants continue to change strategies to adapt, such as hub-and-spoke approaches.  From an investment perspective, she said that strategies change weekly in response to market dynamics that are unprecedented.  

McCombs said that construction challenges and utility constraints have been compounded by increased demand for water and power. 

“Those are big issues from the beginning when we’re deciding on whether to buy the dirt, and another decision during construction,” Roski said. “In some markets, we order transformers more than a year before they are needed. Otherwise, the time comes [to use them] and we can’t get them. It’s a new dynamic of how leases are structured because it’s something that’s out of our control.” She noted that it’s becoming a bigger issue with electrification of cars, trucks and real estate, and the U.S. power grid is not prepared to handle it.  

Salt Lake City’s land constraints play a role in site selection, said Eldridge. “Land values of areas near water are skyrocketing.” 

The panelists agreed that a favorable outlook is ahead for 2024, and today’s rebalancing will drive a healthy industry in the future as demand and rates return to normalized levels, creating opportunities for investors, developers and tenants.  

This post is brought to you by JLL, the social media and conference blog sponsor of NAIOP’s I.CON West 2024. Learn more about JLL at or

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Analyst reviews Apple stock price target amid challenges

Here’s what could happen to Apple shares next.



They said it was bound to happen.

It was Jan. 11, 2024 when software giant Microsoft  (MSFT)  briefly passed Apple  (AAPL)  as the most valuable company in the world.

Microsoft's stock closed 0.5% higher, giving it a market valuation of $2.859 trillion. 

It rose as much as 2% during the session and the company was briefly worth $2.903 trillion. Apple closed 0.3% lower, giving the company a market capitalization of $2.886 trillion. 

"It was inevitable that Microsoft would overtake Apple since Microsoft is growing faster and has more to benefit from the generative AI revolution," D.A. Davidson analyst Gil Luria said at the time, according to Reuters.

The two tech titans have jostled for top spot over the years and Microsoft was ahead at last check, with a market cap of $3.085 trillion, compared with Apple's value of $2.684 trillion.

Analysts noted that Apple had been dealing with weakening demand, including for the iPhone, the company’s main source of revenue. 

Demand in China, a major market, has slumped as the country's economy makes a slow recovery from the pandemic and competition from Huawei.

Sales in China of Apple's iPhone fell by 24% in the first six weeks of 2024 compared with a year earlier, according to research firm Counterpoint, as the company contended with stiff competition from a resurgent Huawei "while getting squeezed in the middle on aggressive pricing from the likes of OPPO, vivo and Xiaomi," said senior Analyst Mengmeng Zhang.

“Although the iPhone 15 is a great device, it has no significant upgrades from the previous version, so consumers feel fine holding on to the older-generation iPhones for now," he said.

A man scrolling through Netflix on an Apple iPad Pro. Photo by Phil Barker/Future Publishing via Getty Images.

Future Publishing/Getty Images

Big plans for China

Counterpoint said that the first six weeks of 2023 saw abnormally high numbers with significant unit sales being deferred from December 2022 due to production issues.

Apple is planning to open its eighth store in Shanghai – and its 47th across China – on March 21.

Related: Tech News Now: OpenAI says Musk contract 'never existed', Xiaomi's EV, and more

The company also plans to expand its research centre in Shanghai to support all of its product lines and open a new lab in southern tech hub Shenzhen later this year, according to the South China Morning Post.

Meanwhile, over in Europe, Apple announced changes to comply with the European Union's Digital Markets Act (DMA), which went into effect last week, Reuters reported on March 12.

Beginning this spring, software developers operating in Europe will be able to distribute apps to EU customers directly from their own websites instead of through the App Store.

"To reflect the DMA’s changes, users in the EU can install apps from alternative app marketplaces in iOS 17.4 and later," Apple said on its website, referring to the software platform that runs iPhones and iPads. 

"Users will be able to download an alternative marketplace app from the marketplace developer’s website," the company said.

Apple has also said it will appeal a $2 billion EU antitrust fine for thwarting competition from Spotify  (SPOT)  and other music streaming rivals via restrictions on the App Store.

The company's shares have suffered amid all this upheaval, but some analysts still see good things in Apple's future.

Bank of America Securities confirmed its positive stance on Apple, maintaining a buy rating with a steady price target of $225, according to

The firm's analysis highlighted Apple's pricing strategy evolution since the introduction of the first iPhone in 2007, with initial prices set at $499 for the 4GB model and $599 for the 8GB model.

BofA said that Apple has consistently launched new iPhone models, including the Pro/Pro Max versions, to target the premium market. 

Analyst says Apple selloff 'overdone'

Concurrently, prices for previous models are typically reduced by about $100 with each new release. 

This strategy, coupled with installment plans from Apple and carriers, has contributed to the iPhone's installed base reaching a record 1.2 billion in 2023, the firm said.

More Tech Stocks:

Apple has effectively shifted its sales mix toward higher-value units despite experiencing slower unit sales, BofA said.

This trend is expected to persist and could help mitigate potential unit sales weaknesses, particularly in China. 

BofA also noted Apple's dominance in the high-end market, maintaining a market share of over 90% in the $1,000 and above price band for the past three years.

The firm also cited the anticipation of a multi-year iPhone cycle propelled by next-generation AI technology, robust services growth, and the potential for margin expansion.

On Monday, Evercore ISI analysts said they believed that the sell-off in the iPhone maker’s shares may be “overdone.”

The firm said that investors' growing preference for AI-focused stocks like Nvidia  (NVDA)  has led to a reallocation of funds away from Apple. 

In addition, Evercore said concerns over weakening demand in China, where Apple may be losing market share in the smartphone segment, have affected investor sentiment.

And then ongoing regulatory issues continue to have an impact on investor confidence in the world's second-biggest company.

“We think the sell-off is rather overdone, while we suspect there is strong valuation support at current levels to down 10%, there are three distinct drivers that could unlock upside on the stock from here – a) Cap allocation, b) AI inferencing, and c) Risk-off/defensive shift," the firm said in a research note.

Related: Veteran fund manager picks favorite stocks for 2024

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