Calling all Customers
With consumers already spending billions of dollars a year on ring
tones and games for their cell phones can online shopping by mobile
phone be far behind?
Roger Entner, an analyst with Ovum, a technology consulting firm in
London, England, says we’ll see it happening this year thanks
to cell phone imaging that approaches the quality of personal computers.
Amazon.com started things off in 1999 with a Web site that could be
browsed by cell phone, but few consumers had phones with the technology
to render high-quality images. Now, Entner estimates that 190 million
people in the United States have a cell phone and at least 150 million
of those have color screens.
eBay says it is introducing mobile phone technology to Verizon users
that for $4 a month will allow subscribers to browse the site, bid
on items and receive alerts when they have been outbid. The service
is already available to Cingular and Sprint users.
Will your customers be part of this next wave of shopping? Quite possibly.
The more services added to these all-purpose phones, says Entner,
the easier it is to get users to accept the next application.
Return of the Dot-com Boom
This time it has to do with high-speed broadband access. In 2006,
experts say, for the first time a majority of Americans will use high-speed
broadband connections to go online rather than dial-up access.
According to ComScore Net-works Inc., an Internet measurement service
based in Chicago, IL, the number of Americans using broadband connections
at home increased by more than 20 million since August 2004 to 86.9
This change has given rise to a flood of Internet companies providing
service and content to broadband users including audio and video but
now also television over the Internet direct to computers—including
laptops and cell phones with wireless broadband network connections.
American consumers are drinking better. That’s the assessment
of the Distilled Spirits Council, a liquor industry trade group.
Liquor sales rose 7.5 percent to $16.3 billion in 2005, as the nation’s
drinkers seem to be moving toward premium beverages. The market share
for liquor rose to 32 percent of all alcoholic beverage sales last
year, up from 31.2 percent the previous year, while beer sales continued
a five-year decline falling to 51.4 percent of sales from 52.9 percent