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April 16, 2013

Top Three Trends in Social Media for 2013

Top-three-trends-social-media-2013Analyst Insight by Pavel Marceux, Analyst - Technology, Communications and Media, Euromonitor International

Euromonitor International has identified three key global trends in Social Media for 2013. Social media is set for another year of transformation as market forces push greater crossover into other sub-segments and consumers demand wider availability of technical services. Top three social media trends: 1) The evolution of social networking platforms into a full-cycle offering of commercialised retailing and advertising solutions is set to continue. 2) The greatest user expansion will occur in communication-hungry emerging markets such as India and Indonesia. 3) Social media brands will focus much more on developing and integrating new content in an increasingly competitive and feature-driven environment.

Social media and e-commerce to merge

Online consumer empowerment will drive greater interconnectivity between integrated communication and e-commerce features, as users rely more on their virtual social connections for purchases as opposed to digital direct marketing techniques. In line with this trend, businesses are looking to develop more organic environments for feedback and discussion on social media, while the networks themselves are moving towards faster on-the-spot purchase and marketing features. The “Facebook Pages” feature is facilitating e-commerce branding but other networks are lagging behind, with the likes of Twitter and LinkedIn lacking comparable e-commerce options.

Forecast: This trend will drive online consumer purchases while businesses will increase their online adspend levels in order to integrate fully into social media. Global Internet retailing value is projected to expand by 15.3% in real terms annually in 2013 to reach US$601 billion.

World’s Largest Internet Retailing and Online Adspend Markets: 2013

World’s Largest Internet Retailing and Online Adspend Markets 2013

Source: Euromonitor International from World Association of Newspapers/trade sources/national statistics

Note: Data is forecast using constant 2012 prices, fixed 2012 exchange rates

Emerging markets to lead social media take-up

While social networking has become mainstream in advanced economies, emerging markets are beginning to rapidly catch up as rising Internet penetration and more advanced forms of online engagement attract new users. India and Brazil are expected to see the largest expansion in social media users globally in 2013, with the latter seeing an increase of over 10.0 million Facebook users over October 2012-March 2013 alone, according to Socialbakers. Younger users in these countries are especially expected to drive niche platforms that focus on photo- and video-sharing, and the social media gaming sector, which often offers free content. Greater smartphone take-up, and subsequent mobile media usage, could be the factor that sees the developed world responsible for the bigger share of global social networking revenues in 2013.

Forecast: Rising numbers of users are set to transform the impact of social media marketing in emerging economies and increase monetisation levels from this online platform. Growing penetration of electronic banking and growing disposable incomes will also boost opportunities in the segment. By the end of 2013, developing countries will make up 68.0% of the world’s total number of Internet users.

Brands to focus more on content and new features

As social media platforms have come of age and passed beyond the basic offerings of written communication, updates and profiles, of increasing importance is content that differentiates brands. New features and partnerships will thus characterise 2013, as social networks look to mirror their competitors and provide crossover services, such as sophisticated visual aids, animations, high-resolution photographs and digital media. Video-on-demand and IPTV services could see especially strong growth, with sporting and cultural events already commonly live-streamed on the US market. Sites such as Pinterest and Instagram are demonstrating the creative pull of niche content-focused solutions in advanced economies.

Forecast: In 2013, consumers will look more to their chosen social media brands as a one-stop shop for all their digital and entertainment media needs, providing opportunities for savvy businesses that can link and promote their goods through social networks. Access to fast broadband Internet speeds will be vital in pushing this trend, with global household possession of a broadband enabled PC set to rise to 37.0% in 2013 from 35.1% in 2012, while possession of a mobile phone will increase from 82.2% to 83.3% over the same period.

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