Monday, December 28, 2009

Tech Trends for 2010 — A Netscape Moment Coming Up

My third annual technology trends piece is up at VentureBeat...

Tech trends for 2010 — a Netscape moment coming up

When I made my tech trend predictions for 2009, we were in the middle of an economic meltdown. This year, I’m less focused on the recession and — thanks to my one-year old twin girls — am wading my way through a flood of information on baby products, toys and books. My mind has wandered between thoughts of Bugaboos and Ooyalas, Leapfrog and Playfish, or Seuss and Seesmic. Still, here are my tech trends for 2010.

Online Shopping Clubs Will Mature
Online shopping clubs aren’t anything new, but these post-bubble incarnations are. Leaders in this segment tend to hold “flash” sales (limited-time sales) and restrict sales to members only. Luxury goods lead this space with France’s Vente-Privee hitting $966 million in revenues this year and U.S’s Gilt Groupe earning almost $150 million in revenues in 2009. By 2010, within four years since launching in the U.S., the companies in this space will have achieved over $2 billion in worldwide sales. Talk about hockey stick growth!

This same model has transferred to other categories, with many luxury players launching travel offerings under their banners. There are also more narrowly focused sites launching, such as Totsy for moms and One Kings Lane for home décor. Woot in the U.S. and One A Day in Korea are flash sale sites that sell only one item everyday. One A Day hit $13 million this year and projects $28 million in sales for 2010 under this simplified model.

Much of this tremendous growth has been driven by the steep discounts all these sites have provided through access to excess inventory. There are concerns this category might see some trouble once the economy picks up and retailers begin rightsizing their inventory. But I believe it is here to stay because — similar to how Zynga and Playfish brought lazy interactivity to the online casual gaming space — these new e-tailers are pushing products and brand relationships to the lazy shopper. It won’t be just about discounted goods, since players like Gilt are already pushing exclusive, in-season goods. So I predict that 2010 will be a breakout year for this ecommerce category and it will move far beyond discounted luxury goods.

Gaming Will Advance Beyond PCs and Consoles
2009 was a great year for online gaming, with Zynga, Playfish, and others leading the charge and showing the power of Facebook and the social networking ecosystem’s distribution power. The next stage of online gaming will be led by more powerful gaming platforms and engines for mobile and the browser... (full article)

VentureBeat has a syndication partnership with the New York Times, so they select some articles everyday to republish in their Technology section and they picked my op-ed today.

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