June 13, 2007

Power to the (online) consumer Part 1

The Internet is hot again; having fully recovered from the boom and bust of the 90s the virtual economy has entered a new era of robust growth in all fronts; with over 1 billion users worldwide it is in several countries already the nr 2 retail channel while online advertising is the fastest growing advertising category. The broadband connections are expanding quickly (there were 285 million subscribers in 2006, expected to reach 560 mill. by 2011) and new technologies like Wiki and Ajax support a whole new family of interactive applications (known as Web 2.0 or social media) giving web users countless new options and capabilities.
The growing importance and influence of the Internet is clearly visible to consumers and businesses. As a teacher I experience a steady increase of requests for supervision of student assignments with subjects related to corporate online presence, mobile commerce and e-marketing during the last two years. On the other hand more and more literature and textbooks about E-Marketing are published every year (the last four months alone I was asked to review two concepts for textbooks about E-Commerce by different publishers).
The Internet has been fully integrated in our life as part of our decision making process. There is hardly anyone around using any other medium than the web when searching for information ranging from news, weather reports, medical information and train departure times to flying tariffs, movie theater schedules, telephone numbers, personal information or information about any person, product, brand or company everywhere in the world. According to a recent study 70% of the high income consumers use already the Internet as their nr 1 information source in the US.
Next week: Part 2