Last year we saw many major issues emerge in the technology sector. In 2012 we saw Facebook launch its IPO and surpass one billion users for the first time; Apple became the most valuable public company of all time and launched its iPad mini and iPhone 5.

Taken care of the grocery shopping. Now for lunch. Photo: Herald Sun

Microsoft launched Windows 8 and its tablet Surface; the internet went black in protest controversial proposed US online anti-privacy laws, known as Stop Online Piracy Act (Sopa); and Google’s operating system for phone, Android, continued its dominance helped with the launch of the Galaxy S3 by Samsung.

All these technological advances have also played a pivotal role in how we transact and engage in commerce. As we come to close to another year, it’s worth pondering some of the big issues in the technology/commerce space for 2013. Here are some of my predictions:

Australia to have the leading smartphone penetration in the world
Depending on statistics these vary, some saying Australia is a close second to Singapore in smartphone penetration. According to PayPal’s Secure Insights Report November 2012, smartphone penetration in Australia was predicted to reach 64% by the end of 2012. Australia is well positioned to be a world leader this year.

Tablet the new way to shop
Up to 40% of Australian households own a tablet device. The shopping experience through a tablet device is becoming increasing consumer friendly, with sophisticated retail players offering apps specifically for a tablet device. The proportion of Australians transacting on mobile devices has seen strong growth over the past 18 months. In January 2011, 12% of Australians were transacting on mobile devices; now 32%.

A new retail player enters the Australian market
There has been much speculation about a new retail player entering Australian shores, one that already operates here through its web services, and best known for its e-books. This company is one of the leading online marketplaces in the world and can significantly alter the local landscape.

Big data the new oil
Many commentators have described the use of big data as potentially the new oil. What is big data? Big data is a collection of data sets so large and complex that it becomes difficult to process using on-hand database management tools or traditional applications. How companies can use and manipulate data to meet specific needs has been dubbed as the new oil. Think about some of the reward schemes offered by supermarkets, while as a consumer you may benefit through discounts, the company is able to collect specific data about your shopping habits therefore better able to analyse and provide goods that meets consumer needs. Some online stores have the ability to track consumer behaviour very effectively, those able to harness these methods, while respecting consumer privacy, will have an edge in the commerce sector for 2013.

Smartphone to become your wallet
Increasingly the smartphone will become your electronic wallet. You can already use your smart phone to make payments, bar code scanning, store loyalty cards, coffee cards, even your beloved photos. The other day when I purchased my movie tickets online, I didn’t bother printing my electronic ticket, I simply turned up at the counter with the bar code on my smartphone. As more people realise the capability of their phones, the more will use their phone just as they use their wallet.

Comments on this post will close at 8pm AEDT.

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    • SAm says:

      05:53am | 08/01/13

      Im sure your implying Amazon is coming, and while this could be a good thing, all I can see happening is Amazon launching at slightly cheaper than what we pay here normally, and thereby wiping our chance to grab something cheap off Amazon UK or US.
      This is Australia, land of the rip off, any business that takes root here just exploits as the others do.

    • Mark Smith says:

      09:35am | 08/01/13

      Good point. Lets hope we don’t pay more for Aus Amazon than US Amazon even after the assumed reduction in P&H. Hopefully they don’t follow the ITunes model of charging us $6 more an album than their US customers.

    • subotic ain't no patriot.... says:

      10:33am | 08/01/13

      Coz Mrs subotic has a US credit card, we shop online @ Amazon US and get cheap choons regardless.

      Bring on AUS Amazon.

      I’ll still shop at US Amazon.


    • SAm says:

      10:34am | 08/01/13

      An excellent example right there with itunes. I know if Amazon does come here, obviously add 10% to pricing due to GST (that’ll make Gerry happy at least), maybe a little for freight (even the US sources as much of their stuff globally as we do, so this shouldnt be too much of a difference). oh and the ‘high’ minimum wage that the warehouse staff will be paid here, so it will naturally be slightly more expensive (oh plus Australia Post and their ‘it costs more to send a small package down the street than it does for someone in Germany to mail it to you..’ but i am seriously worried we’ll just see ‘bargains’ at 10% off RRP, rather than the 50% or more we are accustomed to using the current model.
      So im apprehensious, but I am also just hoping its the competition kick this country needs

    • martinX says:

      02:35pm | 08/01/13

      There’s a lot of gear on Amazon that they won’t ship here because of arrangements with distributors, so an Amazon presence in AU might ameliorate that. (I know I can get a US re-delivery service – just haven’t gotten around to it).

    • expat says:

      03:04pm | 08/01/13

      Hahaha Amazon is not setting up shop in Australia, have a look at the effort that they are putting into locating their “distribution centres” in US states that agree not to enforce them in collecting sales tax.

      Do you really think it is going to setup an AU operation and risk having to not only collect the GST but also pay taxes on profits. Dream on.

    • Gerry Harvey says:

      06:55am | 08/01/13

      No this is all nonsense…all consumers should continue to visit my stores and pay over inflated prices on cheap asian imports. A Current Affair are getting sick of me sticking my ugly mug on their show crying how poor i am.

    • Mr. Jordon says:

      09:01am | 08/01/13

      To be far, Gerry did try online trading for about 6 months years after the horse bolted. His conclusion… The success of online trading was a myth and doesn’t work. Why? Because, it didn’t work for him.

    • Gerry Harvey says:

      09:47am | 08/01/13

      Jordan its Unaustralian to buy online without the burdens of GST. Its only because of GST that my prices are so high when compared to buying online from the USA. I’ll offer 1000 years interest free to the next punter that walks into my stores. I hate Bing Ree.

    • Mr. Jordon says:

      11:49am | 08/01/13

      Gerry, I feel your pain.

      It’s unAustralian to out compete your competitors. I hate Domayne..Oops, you own that. I’ll try again. I hate Joyce Mayne. Damn…your that too.

    • Andrew says:

      08:36am | 08/01/13

      “Big data” is certainly big business, but I wouldn’t call their databases massive beyond control (or even difficult to process) like you’ve put it. In fact the power behind “big data” will be the ability to show trends and generate predictions on a real time basis.

      I strongly suspect that quite a few companies will merge their databases as well, even if they are typically competitors. Why you ask? Well the more accurate a profile a company can build about a group of people be it by geographic region, gender, religion or even race, yes nothing is off limits despite what they will say, the more accurate their marketing is.

      Expect in the future to see less TV ads of guys shouting at you to buy a new sofa despite the fact you don’t need one, and more ads appear about overseas travel when you decide you’d like to travel somewhere, or more car ads appear when you decide it’s time to buy a new car, it won’t be coincidence, it will be because a group which you are part of is typically now thinking about buying a new car right now.

    • Colin says:

      11:15am | 08/01/13

      Flashing lights and colours! Snappy animations! All designed to sell pointless, useless, cheap and nasty Chinese-made junk to weak-willed, uber-consumers who like to fill their house with chintz… Hooray for online shopping!

      My big prediction: 5 new high-tech ways to part fools and their money.

    • Yenda Lee says:

      11:53am | 08/01/13

      Colin, you miserable sod. Come into my store and trial my new Genie Stimulator 1000. It will make the most miserable of sods happy to be alive with joy and happiness that such a product exists in this modern world. Try now pay later. With free 10 kg Turkey.

    • subotic says:

      12:14pm | 08/01/13

      My big prediction: Trolls will still be here in 2013.


    • Colin says:

      12:26pm | 08/01/13

      @ Yenda Lee

      Yes, just what I want to do; spend $5k on some useless whitegoods to get a ‘free’ turkey..! I’ll get my turkey the usual way, Yenda: Roadkill.

      @ subotic

      Gosh, sub otic, it seems to me that any and all of my comments are to be tarred with the same tired old ‘Troll’ brush from you in 2013 too…Very disappointing. Predictable, but disappointing just the same…

    • Daylight Robbery says:

      02:41pm | 08/01/13

      Australia has one of the highest uptakes of smartphones; all with internet connectivity via data plan or wireless.

      Currently online retail sales sit at 7% of physical shop sales in Australia,

      While small shop owners can suffer apathy now is the time to race down to the local TAFE grab a graduating web IT student that can do both retail sales and build an online presence at the same time. Shopping carts are no longer expensive.

      Many people will shop via their phones.  The big unmeasured factor is the amount of customers that have found your online presence to walk in decision already made to purchase reducing sales resources.

      America has 300 odd million customers alone for you.  North regional Australia has one of the highest earning per capita disposable incomes in the world with a hunger for city products.

      Little shop, you have the SMB dynamics to adapt fast.

      Billions of customers

      Your time starts now.

    • Humaid says:

      02:48pm | 08/01/13


      Troll away.. if that is what you are doing…. I find it very amusing, particularly with this subject.


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