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Almost half of world’s population to be online by 2016

Almost half of world’s population to be online by 2016

New research suggests that the already booming online world is likely to double in size over the next four years. The Google-commissioned report states that by 2016, close to 50% of the world’s population will have access to the Internet – nearly twice as many as now. That’s a percentage that should bring those retailers without an online presence kicking and screaming into the digital world! So, what can be done to capitalise on these astonishing numbers?

Some businesses may be content with a regular website, but nowadays mobile users must also be prioritised, as the report – which was compiled by the Boston Consulting Group – shows. It highlights how consumers can now be targeted on the move as well as in the home, and suggests that mobile devices could contribute to 80% of all broadband connections by 2016.

Globalisation is key

Multi-platform support isn’t the only pre-requisite for a successful ecommerce business, either: expanding your target market to other countries can also help to push your company’s profitability further. This is a fact not lost on the MD of UK search engine marketing firm, QueryClick. Christopher Liversidge divulged, “Our SEO case studies have revealed great results for global campaigns."

Kayak is one retailer determined to not be left behind by the ever-changing retail landscape. It recently redesigned its online portal to make it more consistent over all its platforms: web, mobile web and apps. The company’s recent S-1 filing stated that both profits and revenues were up even before the rebranding, and this activity suggests that it wants to build on its expanding customer base. You can read more about the transition of mobile internet into mobile commerce in A4u’s M-Commerce report 2011.

Progressing from desktop to mobile

While Kayak points to the future of retail evolution, some companies still continue to focus on their desktop offering. Liversidge offers a possible explanation for this: “High street brands often struggle to adapt to technical change simply because they have more complex systems to deliver their eComms systems,” he says. "It's just a question of freeing up enough technical resource to implement a change that might only take a day's worth of work for a small website, but which requires complex coding and rigorous testing when you're processing multiple million pounds worth of sales every day through your website store."

Even with difficulties such as these, the predicted internet boom means that it’s prudent for companies of all sizes to make sure that they’re online, and to focus just as closely on their apps and mobile web offerings as they do their traditional desktop site.

Would you like to learn why travel comparison sites like Kayak are so successful? If you do, you'll definitely want to come along to A4u's next event, Performance IN Travel & Leisure. This one-day conference takes place in London on the 13th of March and features seminars from the industry's leading brands where you'll be able to discover first-hand how to make big gains in performance marketing. Registration is now open for publishers, advertisers, networks and agencies.

Simon Holland

Simon Holland

Simon is the news and research reporter at Existem. Previously a technology journalist, he now spends his time investigating both future and developing trends in performance marketing whilst producing editorial content for

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