The start of a new year is a natural time for reflection, and for future planning. The start of 2020 brings not only a new year but also a shiny new decade. Looking back, a lot has changed during the past 10 years.
In 2010 our favourite app was Angry Birds, and Toy Story 3 was the biggest film at the box office. We were 2 years into a financial crisis, the effects of which would extended over a full decade. All planes stopped flying for a week because of a volcanic ash cloud, and the word Brexit did not exist.
In the retail world, the last 10 years have seen more than 20,000 shops disappear from our high streets. And this is a trend expected to continue, with another 8,500 likely to close during the next 5 years.
We don’t shop less, we just shop differently. Retail is in the midst of a major revolution that means increasingly we shop online for everyday regular items and a wide range of specialist products not readily available locally. We visit the shops for things we want to see and touch, for an experience, for advice or just for convenience if we are already out and about.
A mix of related developments have shaped the unprecedented scale of this change in our retail habits. Almost universal internet usage by the entire population has been driven by a huge growth in available services, combined with almost ubiquitous access to wifi and steady improvements in usability and functionality of associated hardware and applications.
In 2010 the average home broadband speed was around 5mbps; 50mbps and higher is now available in most homes. 4G mobile access in the UK was introduced in 2012 and now almost universally available.
Apple launched its first ever iPad in 2010 – just 3 years after bringing out the iPhone, a device (along with its competitors) that has done more than any other to drive mobile use of the internet.
Fast forward to 2020 and mobile devices account for over half of visitor traffic to many websites, and around 30% of online spending. The figures vary from source to source, but all evidence is that retail customers are moving increasingly quickly to searching, finding browsing and purchasing using their smartphones, whoever and wherever they may be.
The social network sites such as Instagram and Facebook we use daily on our mobile devices continuously target us with ideas to engage with businesses and buy products and services.
The marketing noise is deafening and you need to find your niche, and then locate your customers and enthusiasts within this. The great news is that it has never been more possible to create something new (or even reinvent something) and expose it to a worldwide (or local) and highly targeted audience.
Good luck in 2020, and for the next 10 years – I suspect it’s going to be quite a ride.