What’s trending online in 2018

With more than half of the globe’s population now active Internet users – a staggering 3.6 billion people – it’s safe to say that we’re living in a truly connected age. What we’re already doing with this incredible asset, and where there’s room for new innovations and technologies is an area of immense interest for those wanting to start their own online business, in the field of digital marketing, and consumers alike. Let’s take a look at some of the technologies finding their feet this year, and what’s got the world’s digital interest piqued in 2018 so far!

GDPR sets the stage for better data privacy policies

If you’ve found your inbox flooded lately with emails about privacy policy changes from every site you’ve ever opened an account on, GDPR is why. Short for General Data Protection Regulation, this new regulation applies (in theory at least, although its actual reach is far larger) to member countries of the European Union, and is the first step in giving citizens more control over their personal data and how it’s used. It’s been a long time coming, but big data leaks like the one recently experienced by Facebook have finally spurred authorities into action. We can hopefully expect to see more measures like this taken to help regulate the use of our personal information in the future.

Trends in money

While still hugely volatile, the amount of users on digital and cryptocurrency platforms continues to rise in 2018. There’s therefore more pressure on online retailers to look at ways they can broaden the range of payment options their consumers can use, and room for innovators to fill the gaps.

Gaming and entertainment

The rise of the Internet of Things, more secure software and the ability to offer services and incentives that just wouldn’t be possible in a traditional environment has seen online casinos and similar providers -be it slots or the chance for users from around the globe to take part in online US Powerball draws despite being thousands of miles away- become one of the biggest growth areas for 2018 so far.

The online gaming market as a whole has seen record numbers this year, with China leading the pack. In fact, China’s Tencent became the ninth largest company of any kind in the world this year, and the Chinese market alone generates one quarter of all the world’s online gaming revenue!

It’s a gig economy

2018 has seen massive growth in the on-demand economy, showing no signs of slowing down any time soon. Uber now provides work for some 3 million drivers, Airbnb has over 5 million monthly listings, and freelancer platform Upwork is now offering the services of some 16 million freelancers!

E-commerce drives retail prices down

While online sales still have a long way to go before they overtake in-store purchasing, the industry continued to see massive growth in 2018, while retail sales continue to decline. Fierce competition when it comes to prices has seen another interesting phenomenon emerge too – as online prices continue to drop, there’s added pressure for physical stores to keep their prices down as well. Consumer goods and products like TVs, sporting goods and electronics have seen the greatest price drops. Consumers are increasingly demanding a more personalized and interactive shopping experience, driving the rapid scaling of the ecommerce trend.

Subscription services are still all the rage

Subscriptions to Netflix are up by 25%, and music streaming service Spotify has seen an impressive 48% growth since 2017, showing an increasing preference for the affordability, flexibility and personalization that subscription services can offer over outright purchases.

We’re finding the stuff we buy from more sources

Consumers looking to purchase aren’t just relying on search engines anymore. Product searches directly on a platform like Amazon and product referrals from Facebook are making record inroads this year.

The University of the Internet

It’s not just gaming, entertainment and shopping that have seeing massive growth online this year, but educational experiences too. A desire for lifelong learning and easy access to online educational tools has seen educational content usage grow massively this year. Free learning and ‘how to’ videos on YouTube, and enrolment into dedicated online educational platforms have been the most popular so far, with 33 million users currently actively on Coursera.com. It’s also become an invaluable tool for companies like AT&T, which has allocated an impressive $1 billion for web-based training for their current employees.

Times they are a’changing – but with better privacy controls, and a user base that is becoming more dedicated to up skilling and informing themselves, we can’t wait to see what’s next for the online world!