The expected lift in eCommerce spending this year to a conservative $180 Billion will top last year’s efforts by a margin of 17% plus. This will undoubtedly place a great deal of pressure on those days, considered to be the best cyber-shopping days, that follow the Thanksgiving weekend.
When compared to a projected ad spend of $15.7 Billion this year, an ad/sales ratio of 8.7 falls a bit short of overall averages for Food (11.9%), Liquor (10.4%), Movies (13.7%) or Health Services (18.7%). This bodes well for the Internet, expected to continue its upward spiral through this decade.
In the coming weeks, Monday will be the new “Black Friday” as online shopping behavior shifts away from tradition. Monday sales have been indexing at 111 and 119 in the weeks following Black Friday. Weekday and workweek clicks remain highest. ComScore notes, however, that only 9% of online spending occurs during the lunch hour.
Marketers keen to follow trends will manage copy and keyword bid prices to reflect both seasonal and these new intra-week peaks. Beyond bid-management, optimization of shopping comparison site placements should also appear on their radar screens along with personalized e-mail campaigns.
TAKE TWO AND SEE ME IN 2009
It has been three years since the tablet PC made its heralded debut and racked up sales of $1.4 billion the first year. Although he introduction failed to spark the expected interest, last July sales were projected to reach $5.4 billion in 2009.
Fast forward to November and the same predictors now boldly estimate the market for 2009 to be a whooping $15 billion …. almost a threefold increase in a few months!
The science (or art) of projecting tablet sales is just about as accurate as predicting the weather.
Realistically, there are several factors that affect the outcome of any projections for the tablet market.
Market Presence – how many people have you seen pulling out a tablet in a Starbucks lately? The low market penetration is not helping post-early adapters jump in. Out of sight, Out of mind.
Market Penetration - driven by consumer need has not yet rooted. Applications for the consumer market are not obvious. OEMs must do a better job of providing a ‘raison de tare” to incent purchase.
Price – An obvious barrier which will, over time, correct itself. At a price point of $2000 plus, these machines are competing with handheld PCs.
Bulk – who needs to carry around an extra three plus pounds when a pocket PC can do almost as much with much less bulk. Inroads have been made recently by Lenovo, having just announced a tablet PC with over 7 hours of battery life and a hard drive that can expand to 120 GB, and as much as 4 GB of RAM. Dubbed the X60, this machine also boasts the support of nearly all forms of wireless connections.
B to B – Providing the greatest thrust for sales, vertical markets that include Healthcare, Real Estate and Insurance are fueling the projected threefold jump by 2009.
Will the PC tablet market hit $15 billion in 2009? With the right wind behind its sales, it might even hit $18 billion in a perfect storm scenario.
SHADOW WORLDS, SHADOW CUSTOMERS
A cultural phenomenon is surfacing that may change how and where we live with the click of a mouse.
Welcome to virtual worlds. We glimpsed a primitive version of these worlds in the late 90’s with the release of video games where addicted gamers spent countless hours, and in some cases days, chasing imaginary characters in two-dimensional worlds.
We can trace the first arcade video games (Computer Space and Pong) back to 1971. In 1976 Death Race 2000 was released as the first violent video game, where points were earned by running over stick figures. Pac-Man hit the market in 1980 as the most popular game at the time, selling 300,000 units.
Graphics were, however, still relatively unstable until the turn of the century as Microsoft, Sony, Panasonic, Nintendo and other major players entered the gaming arena.
Today, we connect, and in some cases disconnect, to join virtual 3-D worlds via the internet. There are dozens of gateways, providing a menu of worlds that number in the thousands.
By far, the most advance of these worlds is Second Life (www.secondlife.com). As you step into Second Life your options are limitless. You can create your character (avatar) in your own image. You can purchase land, build a home, visit and interact with other avatars, open a business and reap the benefits in real dollars (where Linden dollars, the virtual currency, can be converted to U.S. currency).
There are over 1.2 million residents in Second Life. Marketers are awakening to the phenomenon by securing their positions in this virtual world ….. Starwood Hotels, Adidas and Toyota are just a few of the pioneering marketers pursuing Second Life residents....or shadow customers.
In-game ad spending will surge past $1 billion in 2010. Advertisers eager to secure a foothold in these new worlds should consider exploration in their marketing strategies.