Digital technology has become a vital component of the modern world, and many of our
daily interactions involve some aspect of the internet.
Here are some key elements of the internet’s journey (Jefferson Online, 2016):
Idea for global computer
network is developed by MIT
computer scientist j.C.R.
In 1969, the first ever
messege sent via an
network (arpanet) was sent.
Robert kahn and vinton
cerf develop a protocol for
linking multiple networks
Robert metcalfe developed
a system to allow the
transfer of more data over
a network, which is now
known as ethernet.
The phone net system is
multiple global nations
Domain system is
introduced in 1985.
language (html) and the
uniform resource locator
(url) is developed, forming
the world wide web.
1995 sees the
capitalisation of the
internet with the
introduction of platforms
such as amazon, yahoo and
Google becomes the
dominant search engine.
A rise in the use of wireless
internet (wi-fi) as well as
the use of internet devices
such as smartphones.
Increased internet usage and
reliance has increased the demand
for better speed and connectivity.
The following graph shows an
increase of around 15 megabites
per second from 2007 to 2017
In recent years, we have seen the
introduction of 5G which has
provided much faster internet
speeds and greater connection
capacity than its predecessors 3G
ACCESS TO THE INTERNET
Figure 3 shows the age distribution of internet users worldwide, with 25-34 being the biggest percentage of users.
((3) Clement, 2020)
Older adults have seen a
huge increase in internet
usage, which could be
due to improvements
around navigation and
increased confidence in
the digital world
(Hunsaker & Hargittai,
For the younger
internet has always
been around and a
huge part of their
DIGITAL DEVICES USED BY
With improvements to mobile data infrastructure and phone display quality, smartphones
have taken over as the preferred device for accessing the internet.
Figure 1 shows that a higher percentage of people use a smartphone compared to other devices
Smartphone usage has increased across all
age groups since 2012, with the biggest
increase of 80 per cent among those aged
55-64. Smart phones have become more
accessible in terms of affordability. With a
decrease in average global price of around
60.6 us dollars (O’Dea, 2020).
With factors such as portability and ease of
access, its easy to see why smartphones have
taken the lead!
HOW CUSTOMERS SEARCH FOR
Over 90% of our online experiences begin with a search engine (Harris, 2021). Generally,
we use search engines for the following purposes:
Shopping for health and
In 2019, e-commerce made
up 19 per cent of all global
retail revenue (Chow, 2021).
Keeping up-to-date with
global and national news
Researching for work or
The first listing for a query is
commonly Wikipedia, which
sees over 18 billion page views
per month (Anderson, 2016).
Browsing social media
Almost 5 billion YouTube
videos are viewed per day
WHAT CONSUMERS BUY ONLINE
Figure 5 shows that e-consumption has increased across a variety of categories since 2015
(Wenger, 2019). April 2020 showed the largest consumption in each category, which is
likely due to the outbreak of COVID-19; more people relied on the internet for their
shopping and therefore spent more time and money online.
• With so many consumers now opting to shop online, traditional businesses
are having to adjust to new technologies in order to remain relevant and retain
market share (Scott-Briggs, 2017).
Figure 5 compares the changes in revenues of Netflix and Blockbuster,
from 2006-2010 (Jones, n?a).
The streaming giant Netflix took the
entertainment industry by storm and
became the go-to platform for watching
on demand movies and television.
Although a success story in its early days,
Blockbuster became the less convenient
choice for watching new movie releases.
Consumers opted for the quicker and less
time-consuming choice of Netflix, as it
saved the time and money associated with
travelling to their nearest Blockbuster
TIME SPENT ON THE INTERNET
With increased accessibility to
internet devices and more
businesses operating online, the
time we spend on the internet has
increased dramatically since 2011.
Time spent on the internet does
vary per region. According to the
office of national statistics, UK
internet users spend an average of
5 hours and 46 minutes per day,
compared to 3 hours and 45
minutes per day for users in japan
Figure 2 shows the increase in time spent on the internet, indicating a rise from 2011-2020
HOW HAS THE INTERNET
CHANGED OUR SHOPPING
HABITS? E-commerce has become
increasingly popular over the
years, and more consumers are
opting to shop online rather than
instore (Chaffey, 2017).
Online retail is made easier with
the help of digital technology, as it
is so readily accessible thanks to
the various digital devices.
Consumers also utilize the
internet to look for
recommendations before buying
products; it was found that 84 per
cent of shoppers refer to at least
one social media site when
shopping online (Saleh, 2020).
Figure 4 shows the various reasons for shopping online (Chaffey 2017).
With the rise in the use of the internet, businesses have had to adapt and increase their use
of technology. Consumers hold the power now; we now expect a prompt and fast response
from businesses due to our increased accessibility to them, so in order to retain loyal
customers, businesses have to react to demands.
NEW MARKETING METHODS
Businesses are taking advantage of new online marketing
methods in order to increase market share and relevance.
An Influencer is an individual with a large online following who
works alongside brands to promote their products or services to
their audience. They primarily do this through various social
media accounts and streaming platforms, with the most popular
methods being Instagram posts and YouTube videos (Bailis,
An increasing number of businesses are utilizing influencers
to increase their advertising and boost profits; 65 per cent of
influencer marketing budgets increased in 2020, compared
to only 39 percent in 2018 (Bailis, 2021). This increase in use
of influencers could be due to society’s increasing use of
social media; because we spend more time online, it makes
sense for businesses to focus their advertising online.
Figure 6 shows what businesses budgeted for
influencer marketing spending in 2019, with 19
per cent opting to spend between $1001 and
$10,000 (Bailis, 2021).
THE FUTURE OF THE INTERNET
“Information will be displayed, floating in
the air....The web will appear in the real
world, not just on glass screens.” – Mike
Liebhold, Apple Senior Researcher
Experts believe that digital technologies will continue to expand
in the future. Some believe that there will be less reliance on
typing and more emphasis will be placed upon verbal
communication (Blitz, 2019).
Consumers have sacrificed their private information for convenience; our data is
captured through our phones both verbally and when we search online.
Information sharing and data capture will likely be even more crucial for
businesses, as new technologies will have an increasingly better insight into our
wants and needs (Blitz, 2019).
Image sourced: https://theconversation.com/five-surprising-ways-holograms-are-revolutionising-the-world-77886
• The internet is becoming more and more important in our daily lives.
With the internet, we can connect with people on a global scale, we
can access different businesses and markets we couldn’t access
before, and we are able to access more information than ever before.
• Developments in digital technology and devices have increased
accessibility for different groups and demographics.
• Due to the ongoing global pandemic, many people are relying solely
on the internet for work and entertainment purposes, and the
developments in digital technology have enabled society to continue
in various ways.
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