Tomorrows Internet Starts Here

CISCO have released some more exceptionally comprehensive research as part of their Visual Networking Index (VNI) Forecast.

In addition to the headline grabbing “Half the globe to have internet by 2017” you can access on their site both regional and about 19 countries, including the UK’s, data.

We’ve extracted a few of the figures and come up with some of our own calculations on devices per internet user rather than their preferred devices per capita.

So bottom lining it here in the UK by 2017 each of us connected users will have another 3 connected devices. And of the total nine 3 will be mobile so that’s your smartphone tablet and one other, possibly wearable!

Some of the Global figures are staggering eg imagine 10.4 billion mobile devices. If you laid these out end to end they would go from here to … a long way away!

(NB at say an average length of  6 inches we reckon they would stretch just under 1 million miles or to the moon and back TWICE!)


We’ll leave you with CISCO’s animated video of their Global data.

Much much more (particularily on the data front) in and from their press release.

Tablets up PCs down & they could crossover in Q4 this year

IDC in the last couple of days have released updated forecasts for both PC and Tablet shipments for 2013 with projections going out as far as 2017.

They now forecast, on an annual basis, that tablets will overtake PC shipments in 2015. We still think, it is just possible, on a quarterly basis that Q4 2013 tablet shipments could surpass PCs.

Due to the significant historical seasonality of tablet sales it looks as if both tablet & PC shipments could be around the 80 million level in the last quarter of the year.

We shall see … in about 8 – 9 months time!

Another rather fascinating estimate has been produced by IDC of the move to 7 inch tablets. We must admit to being fans ourselves and therefore are not surprised. As they point out it is the speed of  change which is truly remarkable.

“ … another major shift in the tablet market has occurred around screen sizes. Apple’s first generation iPad, which included a 9.7-inch display, was perceived by many as the sweet spot for tablets. That is, until 7-inch Android-based tablets began to gain traction in the market. Apple responded with the iPad mini in the fourth quarter of 2012, and in the space of two quarters the sub-8-inch category exploded to overtake the larger-sized segment in terms of total shipments.”

We will leave you with our favourite chartists Tablet/ PC crossover depiction!


Cook at D11 and coffee in Cupertino

Tim Cook (Apple’s CEO) appeared yesterday at the All Things Digital Executive Conference being held  May 28-30 at the rather impressively located Terranea Resort  “L A’s Ocean front resort” in California

These conferences started back in 2003 so hence this is D11

The interview is with Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher

Some of the points we found noteworthy:

  • Stock price continues to frustrate him and many others
  • Incredible plans & incredible ideas
  • TV is an area of incredible interest
  • Had a very practical view of glasses which he wears because he has to!
  • Wearables “The wrist is interesting”.
  • Some android phones are really feature phones.
  • Jony Ive* is key (in the iOS update underway)
  • Talked a lot about corporate Taxation but said little!
  • Not afraid of large acquisitions
  • Doesn’t think Apple needs to own content and is unlikely to enter the bidding for Hulu alongside Yahoo and others.

*Still no mention of his knighthood in the Apple bio – strange!

It’s about an hour and twenty minutes worth but for all you aficionado’s out there it is required watching


We’re not sure we’d pay the rumoured $610,000 to have coffee with Mr Cook unless of course there was an understanding about disclosure of new product developments!

 Some of the “rules” are interesting:

  • The winner may bring along one guest.
  • Travel and lodging for the visit, which will last between 30 minutes and an hour, are not covered.
  • The location is at Apple Headquarters in Cupertino
  • Visitors will be required to sign a nondisclosure agreement and are subject to a security screening.
  • They can’t liveblog or tweet during their meeting.

If you want to compare and contrast this with last years highlights these are our extracts.

Online Futures 2020

Click to enlarge

The Centre for Retail Research  have today published their research document “Retail Futures 2018

Here are their pretty gloomy headline forecasts for 2018 :

  • “Total store numbers will fall by 22%, from 281,930 today to 220,000 in 2018.
  • Job losses could be around 316,000 compared to today
  • The share of online retail sales will rise from 12.7% (2012) to 21.5% by 2018 or the end of the decade.
  • There will be a further 164 major or medium-sized companies going into administration, involving the loss of 22,600 stores and 140,000 employees. Many of these companies will survive but at the cost of closing more than half their stores.
  • In spite of the Portas Pilots, the High Street will continue to suffer: around 41% of town centres will lose 27,638 stores in the next five years.

UK retailing has the highest proportion of online retail sales, so what happens here is being closed watched by foreign observers as Britain becomes a test bed for retail innovation.”

As ever we will simply have a look at their Online forecasts and comments.

“ Online Retail

Online retailing as a percentage of all retail sales is now 12.7%. Food online sales are very low (3.7% of all food sales) so that the share of non-food is now up to 19%. This will change quickly over the next five years, although we expect all four main grocers to develop massively their food online offers so that with Waitrose and Ocado the food online share should be up to 9.5% by 2018.

These figures are estimates. It may take a year or two longer before online retail gains 21.5% of the retail market but many commentators feel that the online share will get to 25% by somewhere around 2020-2023.”

We’ve extracted from our monthly look at the regular ONS statistics the ,sort of, comparable statistics for 2012 (as published within the latest {April 2013} release) and have done some linear projections to provide a 2018/2020 set of figures.

Whilst the start point in 2012 looks to be, across the board somewhat lower than the Centre for Retail Research’s the growth in % terms through to 2018 is not entirely at odds eg our ONS based projections show an overall growth of some 72% in the time frame (or just under a compound annual growth rate of 10% per annum) compared to the Retail Futures 2018 figure of 69.3%.

 The main area of difference is on the Food front and as a huge market with 4 heavy weight and the low cost 2 competitors we certainly see the market at least keeping up with other retail sales but perhaps not reaching a double digit share this decade.

One very well made point by the centre we thought was their Bricks and Mortar closing comments:

“Although retail change might seem to concern only retail employees and change-averse retail businesses, the transformation will have unintended consequences for the many hundreds of £billions tied up in retail property by pension funds, investment companies, shopping centre owners and retailers themselves. The current business model is intimately involved with real estate: a significant fall in property prices caused by major falls in the demand for stores (and store profitability) will affect all property assets for many years to come. One response will be to reduce rents (and therefore the profitability of developments). It is already having a significant negative effect on many UK high streets and a detrimental impact on town centres. Action now will prevent the transformation of retailing from becoming a long-term crisis for property markets and town centres.”

One of their suggestions partially addresses this situation:

“Retail Futures 2018 recommends that a pump-priming fund of £320 million is required to start redeveloping these problem town centres to turn failing and empty shops into good residential accommodation, create more service/entertainment/leisure outlets, and/or provide offices, doctor’s surgeries, classrooms/meeting rooms or other facilities for which there may be a local demand. As a result of this policy perhaps 15,000 – 20,000 new homes could be created over four years.2

We certainly see the Bricks and Mortar property backdrop changing dramatically over this timeframe and we also envisage the growth of non retail business occupancy of the high street alongside the inevitable residential invasion.

We shall see! 

Keep an I on our Week (Flowery Holiday edition)

Our top three articles this week were:

  1. You can DIY Online 
  2. Techs Top most Valuable Global Brands again
  3. The Secret Social Garden at #RHSChelsea 

We also ran our regular feature on the latest internet retail sales figures and this years Tech Rich List continues to attract many inquisitive visitors.

Internet Retailing have just announced the, sort of short list of candidates for their Awards to be announced on 26th June in the 8 different categories.

We’re pleased to see some of our favourites in the Innovation  and m-Retailing categories and have also added some links to the lesser known names, to us at least! IRIS incidentally stands for Internet Retailing In-Store.

Internet Retailing Awards Commended List
Innovation Global M-Retailing IRIS
Burberry ASOS Amazon Apple H&M Debenhams Burberry
M&S Net a porter/Mr Porter Dominos Dixons
Top Shop Tesco Ebay marketplace M&S
Net a Porter/Mr Porter
Customer International Capability Omni
House of Fraser ASOS Amazon Aurora
John Lewis Net a porter/Mr Porter ASOS Debenhams
Lakeland Wiggle B&Q/Screwfix/Tradepoint John Lewis
Lovehoney Zalando John Lewis Tesco

Disclosure: We have Marketing affiliate arrangements with Amazon NB LoveHoney is a sort of adult retailer!

As it’s Monaco Grand Prix weekend we’ll leave you with a rather exciting video courtesy of Paul Di Resta’s helmet cam showing the start of the race probably last year.

UK 2nd Worldwide for Public Wi-Fi Locations

JiWire’s Mobile Audience Insights Report provides quarterly country rankings for publicly available WI-Fi locations.


Looking back in time from their initial report back in 2009 we have progressed from position 5 at the end of 2010 to the number 1 spot in Q1 2011 which we held for 18 month before being passed by South Korea.

Click to enlarge

Comparing our total to their worldwide figures our calculator figures that we possess some 22% of the total locations.

JiWire report that the worldwide free/paid split at Q1 2013 is 21.9% /78.1% whereas in the US it is 81.7%/19.3%.

Much more to peruse in their Insights which are all available on registration – there’s a special UK report in Q2 of 2011

The basis of their reports they give as:

“JiWire’s Mobile Audience Insights Report is based on data compiled from three sources: a survey of more than 1,300 randomly selected customers across JiWire’s combined Wi-Fi and mobile advertising platform. The report is based on data collected from March 2013. Quarterly public Wi-Fi location rankings and business model distributions are based on the final day of the quarter.”

April Internet Sales at 10% including and 16% excluding food sales

The Office for National Statistics (ONS)  published the monthly retail sales figures for April yesterday (pdf) As usual we’ve cut it down to exclude the 86 pages of tables. The full version is on the ONS site.

The overall figures of a 1.3% decline were greeted with surprise as a small increase had been expected. The weather, yet again came in for extreme criticism!. Online sales were reckoned to have benefited due to the weather again.

Our Internet sales headlines:

  • Internet sales continue at the 10% level of all sales for the year to date
  • All internet sales excluding food dropped back a little this month to 16% and have now been within a range of 16% -16.9% for the last six months.
  • The decline in the rates of growth of  the major online only retailers noted in previous months looks to be reversing .After a 4 month lull we might just be returning to the average of over 20% recorded since the statistics were first compiled. These figures include the online sales of all the majors ie  Apple, Google, eBay, Amazon (including LoveFilm), Asos, Netflix and Shop Direct (Isme Very, Littlewoods etc)
  • Online food sales at 3.4% of all food sales continue at close to record levels. On a year to date basis they stand at 3.5%

April and year to date stats:

  • Year to date internet sales 10.0% (10.2% revised*) of all retail sales
  • Monthly year on year increase +13.2%.(+18.4% revised*)
  • Moving Annual total increases (1) on March 2013 annualised + 10.7% (2) on April 2012 +14.3%
  • The UK’s *largest online retailer is included in the group Non-store retailing and this sector shows growth of 21.2% on 2012 and contributing 12.7% to the overall growth of 13.2% This is an area which SHOULD just grow & grow) unless further analysis is undertaken of this channel!

As always the “history” has been revised* by the ONS which this month went back as far as April 2012 with some quite large changes Internet sales last month going down to 10.2% of all sales as against the previously reported 10.4%.

The ONS words are:

Internet Sales – Key Points

  • In April 2013, the overall proportion of non-seasonally adjusted online sales remained high at 10.0% reflecting feedback from large retailers, which suggested that during the continued cold weather consumers purchased from their online sites rather than in store.
  • Average weekly spending online (internet sales values non-seasonally adjusted) in April 2013 was £571.7 million. This was an increase of 13.2% compared with April 2012.
  • The amount spent online accounted for 10.0% of all retail spending excluding automotive fuel.
  • As expected, more was spent online in the non-store retailing sector than any other sector. Spending online now accounts for 66.6% of total spending in this sector. In the food sector 3.4% of spending was online. This sector has the lowest proportion of online spending in relation to all spending.

Internet sales in detail

Internet sales measure how much was spent online through retailers across all store types in Great Britain. Figures are non-seasonally adjusted and the reference year is 2010=100. Table 2 shows the year-on-year growth rates for total internet sales, by sector and the contribution that each sector makes to total internet sales. to all spending.

Table 2: Summary of Internet Sales Contribution for April 2013






  .           .            .

We have added our annotations to the ONS table) – The bold categories/ figures in the table are the primary constituents of the total (ie (a) + (b) + (c) = All retailing). Dept. stores, Textile etc, Household etc and Other stores are simply an analysis of (b) All non-food.

We have also added the sector information provided for weekly Internet Sales.

Sector summary

The non-store retailing sector comprises of stalls and markets, mail order and those retailers that sell mainly online.

* Whilst the ONS will not confirm the names of specific retailers within categories they did say that retailers selling wholly online with no physical outlets would be included in the Non store retailing category along with eg online  mail order retailers.

As previously mentioned the figures are no longer experimental.

Click to enlarge

The moving annual total, which we report, moved up again (it has increased EVERY MONTH since October 2007 being the first full year of reporting by the ONS) to an all time high of £30.2bn an increase in the month (adjusted re restatements and revisions) of 0.89% annualised 10.7%. This continues (just) to reverse the downward trend of four of the previous six months when single digit growth has been recorded. The long term compound average growth rate (from 2007) is a little over 24%.

Click to enlarge

The published weekly figures at £571.7 million was below our estimate (£600) by a long way and but we met our £30 billion moving annual total target. In spite of a slightly warmer May to date we think sales may well pick up a little with the double bank holiday activities so we are looking for  weekly sales of  £600 million + and a moving annual total of £30.5 billion ish.

We have again included our experimental graph (e & o e!) showing the relative internet and non-internet, moving annual total, sales from late 2007 by month. As before it highlights that high street sales have been and continue to go nowhere! As, we have mentioned before, the Boston Consulting Group forecast  in their report (The $4.2 Trillion opportunity)  that this trend is likely to continue with the high streets market share contracting at around 2.75% a year from 2010 through 2016.

Further details and explanations are either in the ONS release on the statistics or on their website. As previously mentioned a retail convention of a 4, 4, 5 week quarter is used by the ONS (December is a 5 week month). To cater for the inconvenience of years not having 364 days every 6 years or so an extra week is included in the statistics. The ONS adds this in January.

The Secret Social Garden at #RHSChelsea

Click to enlarge

The rather remarkable Digital Capabilities garden has just won a gold award at the Chelsea flower show in the Fresh Garden Category.

In our words, there is a front garden always in view backed by a panel with numerous opening sections which are activated by certain activity levels on Twitter including the hashtag #RHSChelsea. The panels open to reveal sections of  a second “secret” more exotic garden behind the panels! The greater the tweets the greater the reveal!

It’s a collaboration between:

  • The University of Lincoln – academics from the University of Lincoln’s School of Computer Science, School of Psychology and School of Architecture who were all involved in the development of the installation.
  • Brothers Tom and Paul Harfleet of (unsurprisingly) Harfleet and Harfleet, who are a design collaboration that share an interest in modern architecture and design innovation.

Click to enlarge

You can get a (very) brief glimpse of the “secret” garden on the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) site in their montage video of the Fresh Gardens  from which we borrowed a still.

The garden itself has, not only as you would imagine its own Twitter account @DigCapabilities,  but also boasts a full blown DigitalCapabilities website!


The RHS Chelsea runover is a bit spartan we thought and doesn’t even have the full compliment of photographs!

As you would imagine the University is rather pleased with itself and has accordingly issued a press release including a quote from their Professor of Social Computing at the University’s School of Computer Science, “One of the things we’re trying to do through our research is to understand how digital media can be made to meaningfully intersect with the physical world. The garden is an opportunity to explore aspects of how we can interweave social media data with real space, as well as how it is possible to make sense of this data by creating thought-provoking visualisations. When people tweet, the screen activates by opening various panels and permitting selected views of the ‘concealed’ garden. The planting inside represents the exotic or unknown immaterial world of the internet, moderated and revealed by our desire for knowledge and interaction.” Hmmmm!

The two H & H brothers are we are sure delighted and comment “The whole process … has evolved into a beautiful conceptual garden that represents the innovation in design that we are fascinated in.”

Neale Richards Ltd  did the garden build  and details of individual members of the overall team are on the DC website. 

All we believe deserve many congratulations for a really smart secret social garden!

Now apart from tweeting the #RHSChelsea hashtag to get the panels moving you can all VOTE for the Digital Capabilities garden via the RHS site to win a  People’s Choice Award  (You have to vote for a Show Garden as well – if in doubt the Australian one with the recorded Yarra Valley frogs is a not unreasonable choice)!

Whilst it’s a bit late in the day why not get the RHS to accept votes via twitter with a discrete hashtag for each garden plus of course the ubiquitous #RHSChelsea!

We haven’t found many/any stunning videos or even photographs to date but we will add them on discovery.

So far (May 27th) this is the, sort of best we could find which is from BBC North – We shall keep looking!

At present (pending improved discovery) we’ll leave you with the concept video which at least has some impressive birdsong!

Techs Top Most valuable Global Brands again

BrandZ  part of the WPP Group  have just published their consistently excellent  Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands 2013” which is  commissioned by them and conducted by Millward Brown Optimor.

All you need and more is available from the WPP store (iPhone and Android apps, an iPad magazine Powerpoint presentations, videos infographics + + +)!

Enough eulogising on to the results:

  • The top 3 overall most valuable brands are from the technology sector
  • 6 of the overall top 10 are from the technology sector (our definition)
  • 10 of the overall top 20 are from this tech sector
  • Of the Top 20 risers (the greatest value increases over 2012) 4 are techs (Tencent + 52%,  Samsung + 51%, eBay + 40% & Amazon +34%
  • 2 of the 8 newcomers to the top 100 are techs Yahoo at #92 and our own BT at #94

Click to enlarge

WPP comment “The combined value of the Top100 has grown by 77% since 2006.They are now worth $2.6 trillion.” On the BrandZ sector classifications both Technology and Telecoms have sort of flatlined in value terms with 1% losses and gins resprectively. Retail which includes Amazon and eBay has risen by 17% and is the fifth highest riser Beer leads the way at 36 % followed interestingly by Global Banks ( 23%).

We’ve got together our top 20 Tech list which includes BrandZ’s Technology Telecom Providers and the Online only businesses from their Retail categories ie Amazon & eBay.

Click for Infographic (pdf)

So how will it change this year we think Google could well be vying for the top spot and Samsung will again surge forward. Amazon’s advance may well continue but at a slower rate but they could just make the top 5 – we shall see!

We’ll leave you with their Top 100 video which we thought was somewhat addictively good & catchy!

You may as well DIY online

According to some research from Sirportly (the “ultimate helpdesk solution” providers) the major UK DIY companies are screwing it up online!

So B & Q – with its iconic domain   Homebase -  and Wikes  “Its got our name on it”  are not keeping their customers satisfied.

Bottom of the ladder comes B & Q with a Net Promoter Scores {NPS – a measure of their consumer advocacy online – rated between – (100) to +100} of (70). Next up is Homebase at (20) and whilst not on the top step but above the others is Wikes at +20.

This NPS score follows investigation of the retailers websites to see how they look after their customers and reviews of their comments on Google Twitter and Facebook.

Sirportly’s analysis of customer comments was at best unflattering to each of the retailers:

  • “Little positive to say about the retailer and were particularly vitriolic about the online buying experience” for B & Q
  • “Some customers said the in-store experience was good but the majority … suggest the quality of customer service leaves a lot to be desired” for Homebase
  • “Although there were some positive comments about shopping in-store, customers complained about the online service” for Wikes

They all offer store locators, online services,  customer support and use Facebook Twitter and YouTube. Whilst B & Q and Homebase have mobile apps Wikes appears not to which we think will likely lose them customers.

Our selection of customer comments from Sirportly’s trawl are:



  • “When I got to store the price was 25% more. I was told that is the price you have to pay, even though it was still the original price online which I showed the staff on my phone while in store. I won’t be using the online service again” B & Q
  •  “When you say ‘recognised’ for customer service, does that mean your shockingly diabolical customer service” Homebase
  • “Save yourself a lot of grief and shop anywhere other than Wickes.”


We from a very casual review find all the sites (a bit like their retail outlets) somewhat cluttered! It also appears to be obligatory to have discounts or sales reductions featuring prominently. We’ve only used the B & Q one in anger and in general found it much less informative on the product front than Amazon!

We’ll leave the last word to Adam Cooke, founder of Sirportly, “DIY retailers have a great opportunity to improve the customer experience both online and in-store using the internet” and so say all of us!