Tweeting about a $4.2 trillion opportunity

feature-twitter-revolution-social-media-200The current focus on social media has many leaders wondering about its impact, specifically, for their businesses. Is this a structural change, or just a fad?

Does it impact the whole economy or just particular industries; does it apply across a business or just to sales; is it the right time to invest in platforms; and how, if at all, social media contributes to productivity and the bottom line?

Let me paint the picture in numbers.

Right now, there are more devices connected to the web than people on earth. Eight new users come online every second – 91% of whom are using social media regularly.

Not only that, 70% of these adults are shopping online and buying from brands they follow.

Currently consumers are spending almost US$300,000 a minute, or US$391,680,000 a day, online and the figure growing fast.

According to Goldman Sachs, online will contribute almost $1 trillion to the global economy by 2013.

But these awe-inspiring numbers are just the beginning of what is projected to be a steep trajectory.

Boston Consulting Group says that by 2016, online sales will contribute $4.2 trillion to the GDP of G20 nations, making it the equivalent of the 5th biggest economy worldwide.

It’s a pretty compelling reason to sit down and suss out the world of social media, don’t you think?

Online sales in mature markets are expected to grow annually at 8% but the runaway story is in developing markets, where growth is conservatively projected to be twice as fast.

But social media is not just about products and marketing; it’s much broader than that.

Social media influences everything from the way we meet each other to how we learn, shop, vote and work.

At work, McKinsey Global Institute believes social technologies could improve professional productivity by up to 25% by enhancing communications, knowledge-sharing and collaboration.

For example, when companies use social media internally, the messages employees create become a searchable record of content that can reduce time spent looking for information by 35%.

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