- Marketing communication -
The megatrend: this term for long-term trends is currently the talk of the town. Megatrends often develop unnoticed at first, but have an enormously powerful impact. They represent a model for complex and dynamically changing times. All levels of society are influenced by megatrends: thanks to them, individuals, companies, and entire economic sectors are often subject to evolution. Initially, megatrends appear only on a very selective or regional basis, but over time they develop from a side issue to a worldwide phenomenon. Their dynamics gain more and more momentum through multi-layered interactions. One trend influences the next and so their impact intensifies - like an avalanche that slowly starts rolling. A ubiquitous example of this is the Internet of Things. A few years ago, the term was still haunting the visionary trade press. In the meantime, the Internet of Things has become an integral part of everyday life, leaving the desktop computer to gather dust in the corner. The front door, the dishwasher, the dog collar and the scales: they are all now networked with each other, and we can control them conveniently with our smartphone while on the move. Internet-based data transmission makes it possible!
Challenges for the economy
A megatrend is not simply invented or proclaimed. Rather, one should understand a megatrend as a concentrated interlocking of new developments in both society and the economy. As a company, it is important to recognise these developments at an early stage and to examine trends for the strategic orientation of the business model. The main challenges are being able to see the wood for the trees and distinguishing between the relevant and the irrelevant. This is the task that the MainFirst Global Equities/Absolute Return Multi Asset team has set itself. Finding companies that are pioneers and forerunners of megatrends is the central investment approach of their funds. The challenge for the Portfolio Management team is to continuously observe and analyse a wide variety of social, cultural, and economic developments. Ultimately, it is up to them to draw the right conclusions from this and to interpret the signals that point to the next (mega)trend.
The origin of megatrends
A megatrend reflects social, cultural, and economic changes and, due to the interdependence, has, as it were, significant relevance for the long-term development of societies and economies. Seldom can the exact origin of a trend be determined. Often, several similar developments take place in parallel, mutually reinforcing each other and, at some point, advancing to become a phenomenon. Anyone who believes that all modern progress originates solely from the Western world and its industrialised nations is seriously mistaken. Because megatrends can be found in the most diverse forms all over the world. The topic of e-mobility is now omnipresent here, too, but its actual breakthrough took place long ago in China. For investors who are future-oriented and have long-term plans, it is therefore important to look beyond the domestic horizon and in particular to Asia.
Asia as a growth market
If you want to profit from trends in the technology sector over the next 10 years, you cannot afford to ignore the Asian continent in your asset allocation. The Global Equities/Absolute Return Multi Asset team, consisting of Frank Schwarz, Adrian Daniel, Jan-Christoph Herbst and Johannes Schweinebraden, believes that Asia is the Silicon Valley of the future, at least in part. At the same time, the speed with which new business models in Asia are being advanced and promoted by the state continues to increase. For example, China overtook the US in terms of research and development spending in 2020 and it is expected that by 2025 the People's Republic will already be investing around USD 900 billion annually here. The biggest opportunities in Asia are in core technology areas such as semiconductors, electric vehicles, artificial intelligence, robotics, and automation. The technological epicentres are the countries of South Korea, Japan, China, and Taiwan. The impact of the economic advancement and increasing prosperity will inevitably be reflected in the consumer goods markets. While it cannot be ruled out that European brand groups will also benefit from the Asian dynamic, the Chinese government is now increasingly focusing on promoting local brand manufacturers.
This means that companies are constantly required to keep an open mind. Those who recognise the signs of the times early enough have the opportunity to meet structural changes with an evolutionary or revolutionary business model. Investors have the opportunity to profit strategically from the megatrends of our time and the development of companies participating in them, and to weather short-term fluctuations successfully.
Authors: The MainFirst Global Equities/ Multi Asset Team - Frank Schwarz, Adrian Daniel, Jan-Christoph Herbst, Johannes Schweinebraden, Portfolio Manager for the MainFirst Absolute Return Multi Asset, the MainFirst Global Equities Fund & the MainFirst Global Equities Unconstrained Fund
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