While we’re seeing some encouraging signs on the Euro zone crisis, the U.S. jobless front and the U.S. financial markets, these are fickle indicators which should be taken with a grain of salt. If you’re a business owner, B2B marketer or media owner, we have some more solid signs of optimism for you to sink you teeth into.
Car sales surge
Auto sales in the United States climbed 14 percent in November as lower gas prices and a wider availability of Japanese models helped the industry achieve its highest selling rate in more than two years, automakers and analysts said last week. Chrysler was up 45 percent over November of last year, Ford was up 13 percent and GM 7 percent.
Meanwhile, ComScore, reported that online shoppers spent $1.3 billion on Cyber Monday, a 22 percent increase from last year, at that time the biggest online shopping day of the year. IBM Benchmark said online spending had climbed 33 percent. What’s more, a National Retail Federation survey found that 14 percent of shoppers said they would use mobile devices to shop, up from 7 percent last year.
Technology spending for business in midst of fastest transition ever
The International Data Corporation, whose technology analysis and predictions influence a lot of corporate purchases, foresees the creation of a new high-technology industry in the convergence of mobile devices, social networking, and cloud-based computing and data storage. As a result, the company says in a new study, many industry giants will scramble to sustain relevance, and some upstarts will achieve leadership positions or be purchased.
Frank Gens, IDC’s chief analyst, who led the study, said, “The incumbents are facing a huge transition.”
Spending on the new technologies will reach nearly $700 billion, or about 20 percent of the $3.5 trillion in hardware, software, and services spent on information technology worldwide, IDC said. What’s more, researchers said spending on the new technologies is growing six times that of traditional computer servers and personal computers, and by 2020 will be 80 percent industry growth.
If the IDC predictions hold true, the tech industry could be undergoing its fastest-ever transition. Earlier transitions, like the move from mainframe and mini computers to personal computers and client-server technologies, led to the rise of giants like Oracle and Microsoft, and the downfall of older stalwarts, like Digital Equipment Corp. and Wang Laboratories.
This time will be no different, Mr. Gens said, adding: “Hewlett-Packard will be challenged. Microsoft, Intel, SAP, RIM, Oracle, Cisco, Dell – they are all facing the next transition, competing to be around in 2020. At least a third will fade away.”
Mobile devices, which earlier this year outshipped personal computers worldwide, will in 2012 generate more revenue than PCs for the first time, IDC said. Shipments of mobile devices will outstrip PCs by two to one, and 85 million mobile applications, or apps, will be downloaded. More money will be spent on mobile data networks than on networks tethered by lines.
The rapid transition to mobile, driven by an explosion of tablet computers, will challenge both traditional computer software companies like Microsoft and beneficiaries like Apple, which is seeing the dominance of its iOS operating system challenged by the open source Android operating system developed by Google.
“By 2013 we’ll know who the leaders are,” Mr. Gens said. “Android will be there, iOS will be there – will Windows 8 put Microsoft there? By the end of the year we’ll know if putting a PC operating system onto mobile was a good idea.”
The increasing number of people and machines online will additionally create an explosion of digital data. IDC said that the amount of data stored in 2012 would increase 48 percent from 2011, to 2.7 zetabytes, or 2.7 billion terabytes. By 2015, the firm said, the total will be 8 zetabytes.
No matter how old you are or what stage of life you’re in, we’d like to recommend David Brooks’ recent NY Times editorial series Life Reports.
You can draw your own conclusions, of course, but as marketers and innovators, two things really grabbed us. First, when people take stock of their lives, most regret the risks they DIDN’T take, not the ones they did take. Second, you should measure people by the progress they make in their lives, not by the natural talents they possess.
OUR TAKE: Now if the time of year when many of us reflect on where our businesses and personal lives stand relative to where we thought they’d be a year ago. It can be a gut-wrenching exercise. Just remember that no matter how you measure it, make sure you’re using the right metrics to make your assessment. Also, take time to reflect on everything that DID go right, not just things that came up short.