Complex Made Simple

Humans 2.0: Evolving into a connected world

Almost half of the global population will be using the internet by 2020

People are connecting through different devices such as smartphones, automobiles and fridges

* Society is on the brink of a new technological revolution, dubbed the Fourth Industrial Revolution


The number of Internet users has doubled during the past seven years, reaching 3.2 billion users globally in 2016, According to a recent report published by Euromonitor International.

According to the findings of the 2016 Digital Consumer Index, the figure accounts for an estimated 43 per cent of the global population. In 2020, 49 per cent of the global population is expected to be connected to the Internet.

The connectivity of such a vast percentage of the global population has created a fundamental shift in almost all industries, especially commerce. Today’s consumers browse and buy products and services in a different manner: online.

While developed nations lead in terms of Internet access through fixed broadband connections at home, digital connectivity among emerging markets has been driven by mobile, given the cheaper network investment and falling prices of mobile devices.

China, ranked 12th, and the UAE, ranked 17th, lead emerging markets on the Digital Consumer Index.

In developed markets, as of 2016, 79 per cent of consumers use the Internet, compared with 36 per cent in emerging markets. According to the findings, this gap is expected to narrow by 2020 as the number of Internet users in emerging markets is expected to grow vastly, expanding four times faster than that of developed markets.

Moreover, today’s consumers expect brands to interact with them before, during and after they make a purchase.

Connect through your fridge!

Connectivity is no longer limited to certain devices, as today’s consumers are connected through almost anything – a computer, a Smartphone, a Smartwatch, or even a fridge or an automobile.

Given the variety of media enabling connectivity, consumer behaviour changes across the way they live, play, work and shop.

A new way to do business

Catering to the new consumer behaviours across the globe, brands are changing how they do business, allowing new ways of engaging and conducting commerce.

The new model also allows firms operating through their own, unique formulas to prosper – one of the major aspects of disruption, such as the shared economy, given the likes of Uber and Airbnb, and other subscription-based services, such as Netflix.




Fourth Industrial Revolution

According to the experts, society is on the brink of yet another technological revolution, dubbed the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Below is a quick look at the three previous revolutions the world has witnessed:

  • First Industrial Revolution: Leveraged water and steam for manufacturing in the 1700s.
  • Second Industrial Revolution: Electrically powered production machines to introduce mass production in the 1900s.
  • Third Industrial Revolution: Used electronics and information technology to automate production in the 1970s.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution illustrates the fusion of technologies and the physical, digital and biological spheres, creating new horizons for humanity. Breakthroughs such as Artificial Intelligence, robotics, 3D printing and self-driving cars are new advances under the Fourth Industrial Revolution umbrella.


Keep in mind

  • 58 per cent of travel-related purchases are expected to be carried out digitally by 2020.
  • 11 per cent of total retail sales are expected to be carried out digitally by 2020.
  • Seven per cent of total consumer foodservice sales are expected to be carried out digitally by 2020.