2011 is slowly winding down and Christmas is just over the horizon. I’m looking forward to a few days off, but also to coming back in 2012 and getting stuck in.
2012 will be a very different year in Digital
The browser wars may be over but 2011 saw an exponential explosion in the number and diversity of devices and locations in which people access eCommerce sites. Mobiles, tablets and computers, in and out of the house are used individually or combined by the same individual during a single research and purchasing process. Tracking cookies are both illegal and becoming largely irrelevant as people use more and more browsers. And as customer habits and expectations evolve ever quicker in a complex device and social ecosystem and a tight economic environment, the ability to generate and apply customer insight will be the key factor influencing an online business’ ability to succeed in 2012.
Social Media will continue to rapidly evolve
Facebook is evolving from a Destination Website to a Social Ecosystem. Facebook’s population is 13 times higher than that of the UK (only India and China are larger than Facebook) and people are spending most of their time on social networks. In 2012, Social Networking platforms start significantly encroaching into the role of other Internet services such as Search and Email, and with it the nature of the Internet itself may change – from loose a network of independent sites and services to a tightly vertically integrated Facebook Walled Garden, via the API-enabled Social Ecosystem it will be in 2012.
Mobile will become ever more ubiquitous
The pace of adoption of mobile devices will continue to increase, as may also do the refresh cycle (not necessarily driven by new hardware adoption but rather by software updates and associated device resets). The user experience will become fragmented and disjointed as user behaviour overtakes best UX Design practice -currently oriented to single-device scenarios. It will take a while, most likely beyond 2013, for design, technology and its application to catch up with the multi-device, always on users of 2012.
The Economy will prove ever more challenging
The impact of a further economic slowdown is very difficult to predict. So I won’t try to. But it is clear that any developments in the global economic landscape will have a great impact on our customers, and therefore on us.
As I think about next year’s demanding commercial and technical environment, these are some of the areas I think will determine who will win in Digital and who will not. What do you think? Please let me know in the comments, and Merry Christmas!