In January 2019, the 9th edition of the “Digital in 2019 Essential insights into the Internet, social media, mobile, and e-commerce use around the world” report was published. The changes that you can observe in social media, e-commerce and the way people use mobile devices – these are, among others, the topics covered in the report. The latest trends and behaviour of users from over 200 countries and regions have been taken into consideration in it.
1 million new Internet users every day
As of January 2018, the total number of Internet users increased by 366 million, which is a 9% increase, year after year. Every day, there are 1 million more active users. Mobile users are a large percentage here – the group has increased by 100 million throughout the year. The upward trend was also visible in social media – the number of social media users is 3.46 billion, 3.26 billion of which are mobile users.
What does it mean for your business?
The numbers mentioned above clearly indicate the direction in which companies should develop if they want to win new customers and retain the existing ones. 91% of all active Internet users are people using mobile devices. The report clearly shows that it takes much more to be mobile today than it used to a year ago. Having a mobile website is not enough anymore. You need to continually optimise it to improve the user experience that includes easy and intuitive navigation and how fast users can find information on your site. In the case of online stores what also needs to be optimised is the checkout process, the product presentation for smartphone users and the way consumers can get in touch with the customer service.
As we mentioned in one of our previous articles, the “mobile first” approach is also essential for the site’s ranking in the search engine results. Google algorithms pay special attention to usability and the site’s speed performance on mobile devices. The more users browse websites on portable devices, the more critical the second issue is. And the number of mobile users is now growing.
Apart from mobile websites, brands should consider developing mobile applications that use AR to visualise products or AI to create shopping lists, which will make placing orders even more straightforward. Besides, the apps will make it possible to gather data about users’ behaviour.
The most significant upward trends are visible in the Asia and Pacific region. It is in Africa that the increase in the number of mobile users is the highest, especially the ones active in social media. It is an important message if you are planning international expansion and you are looking for countries with the highest potential to grow your business in. If the upward trend in Africa will continue at the current level, companies should consider starting their operations there, mainly if their competitors are not present there yet. They have a chance of becoming the industry pioneer, winning customers’ trust and getting them used to their brand.
What is worth emphasising is the fact that, on average, people spend 7 hours a day online, including 3 hours spent on mobile devices. As you can guess, they usually use social platforms during that time but, according to Alexa, Amazon is equally popular. It shows how consumers’ buying behaviour changes and that in e-commerce, Amazon is still unbeatable.
Both companies claim that voice control will grow in importance due to the increasing use of the Internet in developing countries where literacy is usually quite low.
Your business in social media
The increase in the number of social media users and their activity is getting smaller. You can even notice a decrease on Twitter and Snapchat. In addition, it is more and more challenging to increase your organic reach due to the fact algorithms keep changing. It makes it necessary to use paid ads to promote your brand, products or services. Facebook and YouTube are still leaders. Messengers such as Whatsapp, FB Messenger and Wechat are also extremely popular, so it is a good idea to install them on your site, automate them with chatbots or use paid ads they offer.
Let’s don’t forget that due to the growing awareness of the negative impact of social media brands need well-thought-out strategies that will fit into the ‘purposeful’ use of these channels.
The popularity of YouTube and Instagram is an advantage when it comes to content marketing and providing educational and entertaining content. The collaboration with influencers can be a good idea, as they have already built their communities and their content reach is far broader than that of any of well-known online stores. User-generated content can also support any content creation activities. For an online store, these can be product reviews or photos sent by customers who use the products they bought. That is why it is worth encouraging them to do so.
In the B2B sector, brands can use social media to build relations through modern selling techniques. It is called social selling, and more and more companies use it because cold mailing and cold calling are becoming less and less effective. It is particularly valid for Europe, where due to GDPR, many restrictions related to personal data processing have been introduced.
According to the research done by Statista’s Digital Market Outlook, people spend 14% more on online shopping than they used to a year ago and during the whole year, they spent 1.78 trillion dollars in e-commerce. The most substantial growth can be observed in such sectors as fashion and beauty (17%), food and health (15%), home decor (15%) and toys and hobby (15%).
Despite the waning interest in social media, according to PwC’s research, social channels are much more inspiring when it comes to making a purchase than blogs, brands’ websites or e-mail. It is worth making use of this fact to create video-tutorials, use live streaming to educate customers, or Instagram Stories to present new collections. It will be particularly appealing to Internet users who like to make informed choices as for the consumption of online content.
The latest data from Alexa show the power of the world’s e-commerce, as five online stores are in the top 20 of the most frequently visited websites. Take advantage of this fact to strengthen your position among your competition and allocate more marketing budgets to online channels.
To sum up, the report clearly states that Internet users are more and more likely to use mobile devices and that every brand must start selling through conversation and provide valuable content to their audience. Companies that still use “old” sales techniques, such as cold calling, may be lagging behind the competition. A new reality, new opportunities and customers’ new expectations not only mean that companies must undergo certain changes. They are also a great opportunity to build a relationship with customers before the competition will. That’s why we encourage you to read the full report and make new trends part of your strategic plan.
The report can be downloaded on We Are Social site.