Some Predictions for 2008 (Part I)
OK I’m no futurologist or prophet, but I think there’s going to be some upcoming trends (and some that are current but will continue) for next year.
So I’ll put myself on a limb and give my take on some things. First up are two easy ones revolving around media, technology and the Internet:
1. More Singaporeans to shop online
This one’s a no-brainer. We Singaporeans traditionally do not normally buy things off the Internet (unlike Americans, who are big spenders online since a decade ago), but things have been changing in the past few years. This 2005 ACNielsen survey showed that some 80% of Singaporeans have bought something online.
But Singaporeans will go on to buy things online in even greater numbers – and spend greater amounts. A more recent MasterCard survey reported in this Straits Times article also testifies to this trend.
It’s not really by choice, I suppose. Soaring rents on commercial retail spaces have put a crunch on many small retailers, forcing them to close – or go online. And some of them do.
Also, judging from the frenzy on our busy shopping streets over the Christmas buying season, Singaporeans are beginning to tire of fighting their fellow countrymen – and retail tourists – in our seriously crowded malls.
The good news is that many local young entrepreneurs are experimenting with online retail – whether jewellery such as Izel Ang’s Chain of Beads or young women’s clothes on Shiko’s My Dream Closet – which bodes well for Singapore’s entrepreneurial spirit amongst the younger set.
Young|Upstarts says: If you own an online business, this means good news for you (but continue to work hard at getting the word out! Or drop me a mail =D). If you own a retail business yet don’t already sell online, you may want to seriously consider this.
2. Moving Away From FaceBook
The only thing constant about the Internet is change. Sick of being bombarded with SuperPokes and having Cows thrown at them, many Singaporean social networkers will move from established generic social networking sites such as FaceBook, MySpace or Multiply to more focused ones catered to interest groups (such as mog.com, imeem.com and ilike.com for music fans). Or create their own on ning.com.
Young|Upstarts says: Membership numbers isn’t everything. FaceBook may be in now, but we all know how fickle netizens are. You need to find the people who would be the most interested in your products, and they don’t all exist on FaceBook. Start having conversations with people instead, and they’ll lead you to where they visit and what they read.
3. Local Online Advertising Market Will See Ups and Downs
Even as the Web continues to steal more of the pie from more traditional advertising platforms, we’ll see more advertisers experiment with different types of online advertising.
More advertisers are likely to continue in flocking to social networking sites in droves. Of course, this is late as usual (considering point 2 above), but that happens a lot when you rely on clueless media buy firms who don’t quite understand Web trends.
On the other hand, blog advertising services such as Advertlets, Nuffnang and Blog2u.sg may only gain grudging acceptance among new advertisers. Although Singaporeans are among the world’s more prolific bloggers, much of the content is still largely unreadable trash. Such blog advertising services will be hard-pressed to find suitable platforms for their clients.
Young|Upstarts says: If you’re a marketer – Dabble in online advertising if you must, but concentrate on building your own communities instead. Communicate with your customers through multiple platforms to grow customer loyalty and permission. If you’re a blogger (with a commercial interest), it’s high time to distinguish yourself from the rest of the pack. Write readable stuff that attracts readers and, by extension, advertisers (hint: there’s a difference between a reader and a hit).
To be continued…
Young Upstarts is a business and technology blog that champions new ideas, innovation and entrepreneurship. It focuses on highlighting young people and small businesses, celebrating their vision and role in changing the world with their ideas, products and services.