What Retailers Need to Know About Today’s Hyperconnected Economy
Exhibit A: $1.4 trillion. That's a nice stack of cash.
And according to Forrester Research, it's the amount of U.S. retail sales that will start digitally in 2014. In four years it will be $1.8 trillion. This means consumers literally hold the buying process in the palms of their hands.
Exhibit B: Cisco has found that internet-connected devices outnumber people — and by a wide margin.
By 2020, there will be 50 billion such devices, including PCs, smartphones, tablets, smart TVs, chips, sensors, implants, wearable devices, cars and others not yet invented.
These are two aspects of what Irving Wladawsky-Berger, a commentator on the global evolution of business and technology, calls the "hyperconnected economy." A number of major IT trends, he says, including mobile devices, cloud computing, the Internet of Things, social networks, big data and analytics, are each gathering speed while interacting with and amplifying each other.
This has a direct effect on retailers. According to a report published in September by comScore, m- and e-commerce combined hit $61.6 billion in the second quarter of 2014, up 13 percent from the same period a year ago. Digital commerce is continuing to gain market share from brick-and-mortar retail: combined desktop and mobile e-commerce accounted for 11.6 percent of discretionary spending in the second quarter of 2014, up from 9.7 percent in the same period last year.
Mobile-only commerce also has grown significantly. ComScore says mobile has become the primary medium through which consumers engage with retail brands online, with 70 percent of engagement coming from mobile devices. The firm also says $6.8 billion was spent in mobile commerce in the second quarter — about 11 percent of total digital commerce dollars in that period — up from 8.5 percent for the second quarter of 2013.