retail news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

Two stories this morning vividly illustrate changes in where the consumer can be found ...and what businesses need to do in order to communicate with them.

• The Seattle Post-Intelligencer has fascinating statistic this morning, reporting that “a study commissioned by Child's Play Communications from The NPD Group Inc. found that 79 percent of moms with children under 18 are active in social media. One in four of those moms have also purchased a children's product because of a recommendation from a social networking site or blog.”

• And Ad Week reports that “a new consumer survey from the researcher found that for the first year, the amount of time U.S. households spent watching TV and using the Internet is equal at 13 hours per week. This comes on the heels of research showing that younger consumers (18-30) already spent more time on the Web than watching TV. Now, people 31-44 are also spending more time online than with TV.”

The study, from Forrester Research, “takes pains to note it’s not predicting the demise of TV. In fact, the amount of time spent watching TV has remained stable over the past five years. During that same time, however, time spent on the Web has risen 121 percent. The biggest losers in comparison to the Web are: radio (down 15 percent), newspapers (down 26 percent) and magazines (down 18 percent).”

Get the message?

One final note. It was revealed this morning that Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, was named Time magazine’s “Person of the Year.” Time writes the following:

“Almost seven years ago, in February 2004, when Zuckerberg was a 19-year-old sophomore at Harvard, he started a Web service from his dorm. It was called Thefacebook.com, and it was billed as ‘an online directory that connects people through social networks at colleges.’ This year, Facebook — now minus the the — added its 550 millionth member. One out of every dozen people on the planet has a Facebook account. They speak 75 languages and collectively lavish more than 700 billion minutes on Facebook every month. Last month the site accounted for 1 out of 4 American page views. Its membership is currently growing at a rate of about 700,000 people a day.

“What just happened? In less than seven years, Zuckerberg wired together a twelfth of humanity into a single network, thereby creating a social entity almost twice as large as the U.S. If Facebook were a country it would be the third largest, behind only China and India. It started out as a lark, a diversion, but it has turned into something real, something that has changed the way human beings relate to one another on a species-wide scale. We are now running our social lives through a for-profit network that, on paper at least, has made Zuckerberg a billionaire six times over.

“Facebook has merged with the social fabric of American life, and not just American but human life: nearly half of all Americans have a Facebook account, but 70% of Facebook users live outside the U.S. It's a permanent fact of our global social reality. We have entered the Facebook age, and Mark Zuckerberg is the man who brought us here.”

Now you get the message?
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