The weekly trade magazine Aviation Week & Space Technology puts out an annual “double issue” in July focused on the future of aviation and space industries.
This year’s article on the future of civil aviation includes the observation: “A hundred million people spend more time in the virtual world than in the real world.”
A hundred million? That’s better than one out of 70 of the 6.8 billion humans on the planet at the end of 2010. Deduct the 4.3 billion too young, old, poor, or rural for internet access and that 100 million who spent more waking hours in virtual space than temporal space comprises one out of every 25 people in the planet: World Internet Access.
Not just any one out of 25. These netizens reside in wealthier nations and tend to be better educated than the national average. In other words, these teens to thirty-somethings are many of the managers, technologists, educators and bureaucrats of today and the next few years.
AvWeek’s article discusses the future of air travelers. Netizens who are comfortable viewing each other, chatting, and reviewing documents online are far less likely to travel from New York to Jakarta for a business meeting. The tipping point at which Business Class slides beneath the waves is already in sight. The future is EasyJet (leisure travel) rather than Air France.
It affects more than travel patterns. Living in the virtual world revolutionizes consumer behavior. The same week Borders went bankrupt, Amazon announced 50% quarterly profit growth.
We can’t find any quotable stats, but in wired markets like Europe, North America, Australia, and Europe we’d bet that the majority of this year’s new businesses will be internet ventures.
What does all this mean for marketers? Those of us who don’t radically alter what we sell and how we sell it are looking at a tipping point of our own.