Spend Matters Friday Latte

Asymco does a smartphone study. Most of us still have dumb phones.
The US smartphone landscape -- Penetration reached 37.4%, an increase of 2.9 million or 1.24 points of percentage. Approximately 650k consumers switched from non-smart to smartphones every week during September. Based on trailing average of six months' growth, 50% penetration will be reached by end of September 2012, though the trend is for accelerated adoption (see chart below).

Payday in China!
Minimum wage hike coming to Guangdong, the world's factory -- Guangdong, the Chinese province in the Pearl River Delta where practically everything you've bought in the past ten years was made, is about to see a minimum wage increase effective Jan 1, with some workers seeing increases as high as 20 percent. Guangdong has experienced high inflation. The wage increases, combined with weak western currencies, suggests that prices for virtually every consumer good in the west will rise significantly in the new year. The experts quoted in this Global Post article say that while other cheap labor markets exist in places like Bangladesh, they lack the scale and infrastructure of south China and are unlikely to provide a substitute.

The sky is expensive.
Making the skies safer, cleaner and cheaper to manage -- The extensive and clear overview from the control tower at Brno airport enables the air traffic managers here to calmly control the airspace above. Getting a similarly clear view of how the European skies they help keep safe are managed is much harder. From whichever angle you look at Europe's air traffic management system, it seems to be in a sorry state.

First world problems.
Thanksgiving as Day to Shop Meets Rejection -- Part of the objection is inconvenience. To be at or near the front of the line, shoppers say they will now have to leave home hours earlier -- in the middle of the turkey dinner for some. But the wider objections reflect sentiments like those of the Occupy Wall Street movement, including a growing attention to the rights of workers and a wariness of decisions by big business. Either way, many in the shop-till-you-drop crowd have had enough with Black Friday creep.

Sheena Moore

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