4 Internet Use Trends Shaping Ag Retail

A decade is a long time in anyone’s life, but it’s an eternity on the Web. Just consider these statistics on Internet use: In 2002, the Internet had 569 million users – about 9% of the global population – who averaged about 46 minutes a day online. In 2012, Internet users reached 2.27 billion – or one in every third person worldwide – who spent an average of four hours a day online.

Needless to say, our Internet habits have changed significantly over the last decade. The same holds true for ag retailers. The CropLife Media Group (CLMG) surveyed this segment of agriculture on their Internet use three times over a five-year period (2008, 2010 and 2012). After conducting our most recent survey in October 2012, we found four major Internet use trends among ag retailers:

1. Growing number of ag retail Websites. Service-oriented ag retailers go to great lengths to ensure they keep current grower-customers and find new ones. They’ll help customers mitigate their risk and execute their cropping plans, which are more complex than ever due to an increasing number of business and agronomic challenges. So when I find an ag retail business that doesn’t have a Website, it is mind-boggling to me. In a business where service is king, a company Website should be a no-brainer. Yet in 2008, about one in four retailers didn’t have an online presence.

Fortunately, the number of businesses with a Website has steadily increased, jumping to 79% in 2010 and 87% in 2012. And while this means 13% of ag retailers still don’t have a Website, at least it’s a step in the right direction. Any Website is better than none at all, and hopefully by the time we conduct the next Internet use survey the number of companies with a site will be closer to 100%.

For a list of the best industry Websites, be sure to check out “Top 10 Ag Retail Websites You Have To Visit.”

2. Retailers spending more time online. Just like the general public, ag retailers are spending significantly more time online than they were just several years ago. According to our survey, 70% of ag retailers said they spend one or more hours on the Internet for work-related purposes, up 30% from 2008. The mobile revolution has certainly contributed to this trend. Consider nearly 75% of ag retailers used a smartphone or tablet in 2012, up 27% from 2010 and an incredible 52% from 2008.

More smartphone use means more use of mobile apps, many of which are Web-based. In fact, one in four retailers said they use an ag-related app “several times a week,” according to CLMG’s “2012 Ag Retailer Mobile Usage Survey.” Increased social media activity has also impacted ag retailers’ time spent online. More than half of ag retailers (54%) said they participated in social media in 2012, compared to 36% in 2010 and 12% in 2008.

3. Multiple devices becoming the norm. How ag retailers are connecting to the Web is also evolving. In 2008, the PC was their main source of Internet access. In 2012, while 99% still used a desktop/laptop computer to go online for business purposes, another 74% also used a smartphone (up 27% from 2010, and 52% from 2008) and 38% used a tablet.

The frequency of using these devices still favors the desktop/laptop computer. Nearly half of respondents (44%) said they used their PC more than their mobile device(s) for work, while one in four retailers said they used them about the same amount. Not surprisingly, ag retailers mostly used their tablets in the cab and/or field (23%), compared to just 7% who used them mostly in the office.

For more information, you can read “5 Mobile Use Trends Shaping Ag Retailers.”

4. Interactive technology adoption rising. When asked what Internet technologies they have ever used, 79% of ag retailers said they have attended a Webinar, up 12% from 2010 and 47% from 2008. This upward trend was reconfirmed in January when more than 450 people — a record attendance — viewed CLMG’s Webinar, “Mini Bulk/IBC Container Compliance and Recycling: Best Practices from TPSA.”

In 2012, retailers also used mobile apps (64%), video (60%), social media (54%), blogs (38%), and podcasts (27%). All of these technology uses have increased among ag retailers over the past two years. Finally, more than one-third of respondents (35%) said they have shared online content (e.g., articles, video) with others on a weekly basis, including by e-mail, Facebook, Twitter and other social media.

If you wish to receive an Executive Summary of the “2012 Ag Retailer Internet Use Survey,” please e-mail me at matt@croplife.com.

Topics:

Leave a Reply

Matt Hopkins Stories
Matt Hopkins5 Misguided Reasons Why Ag Retailers Are Not Using Social Media
June 2, 2014
These most commonly cited reasons for not embracing social media need to be re-examined. Read More
Matt HopkinsHow iPads Are Transforming Customer Service At Dow AgroSciences
March 12, 2014
Dow AgroSciences' Tiffany Galloway discusses how iPads and mobile apps have completely changed the way the company's sales force interacts with customers. Read More
Matt HopkinsPrecision Agriculture: 6 Mobile Use Trends To Watch
March 3, 2014
The convergence of precision agriculture and mobile technology is highlighted by several key trends. Read More
Top 100 Articles
Milan Kucerak, president/CEO, West Central
CropLife 100West Central Cooperative And Its New President Are A Match Made In Deviation
June 29, 2015
To appreciate just how unique West Central Cooperative is in the world of ag retail, an observer need only consider Read More
Winter Wheat
CropLife 100South Dakota Co-op Member Owners Vote No On Unification
June 26, 2015
The Boards of Directors for North Central Farmers Elevator (NCFE) and Wheat Growers (WG) have announced that member-owners have voted Read More
CropLife 100The Andersons Acquires South Dakota Plant Nutrient Manufacturer Kay-Flo
May 20, 2015
The Andersons, Inc., ranked No. 22 on the CropLife 100, has purchased Kay Flo Industries of North Sioux City, SD. “This Read More
CropLife 100AgGateway’s Barcoding Initiative Progressing Nicely
May 8, 2015
According to legend (or Wikipedia), the first step towards modern bar codes came back in 1948, when Bernard Silver, a Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Agriculture Acquires Minnesota Retailer
April 14, 2015
Pinnacle Agriculture Holdings, LLC, ranked No. 6 on the CropLife 100,  has successfully acquired Liebl Ag, LLC in Ada, MN.  Read More
CropLife 100CHS, Aurora Cooperative Complete Fertilizer Storage, Grain Shuttle Loading Facility
April 13, 2015
CHS Inc., the nation’s leading cooperative and ranked No. 5 on the CropLife 100, and Aurora Cooperative (ranked No. 21) Read More
Latest News
Topcon AGI-4 on MF Planter
EquipmentAutosteer: Compatibility, Accuracy Remain Top Of Mind
July 3, 2015
The world of automatic steering solutions in agriculture has evolved rapidly in the last few years. From after-market add-ons that Read More
ManagementUnited Suppliers/Land ‘O Lakes Merger & Crop Update
July 2, 2015
CropLife’s Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj talk about the reasons behind the United Suppliers/Land ‘O Lakes merger and USDA’s recent Read More
Industry NewsBioSafe Adds To Sales Force
July 2, 2015
BioSafe Systems has announced the hire of two new members for its service team. David Britt recently joined the team Read More
Chesapeake Bay
ManagementChesapeake Bay Clean-Up Gets Renewed Attention
July 2, 2015
The Chesapeake Bay has been called one of the most biologically productive ecosystems in the world. It’s also one of Read More
Measuring Bulk Tanks
ManagementBulk Pesticide Compliance: Top 10 Areas Of Improvement …
July 1, 2015
  In honor of the 33-year run of David Letterman’s Late Show, the American Agronomic Stewardship Alliance (AASA) is happy Read More
Industry NewsArysta North America Hires Midwest Sales Manager
July 1, 2015
Arysta LifeScience North America recently announced the hiring of Brian Battles as the Senior Technical Sales Manager for the Midwest Read More
Farmer on tablet
Eric SfiligojThe Never-Ending Battle Against Modern Agriculture
July 1, 2015
In the world of comic books, the character of Superman often refers to the fight to save the world as Read More
Retail FacilitiesBuilding Up Ag Retail
July 1, 2015
In the oftentimes unpredictable world we live in, it’s nice to know some things can be reliably countered on to Read More
Retail FacilitiesMaple River Grain And Agronomy Phases In Site Developme…
July 1, 2015
Marcus Construction helped Maple River Grain and Agronomy in Casselton, ND, with the design-build of its dry fertilizer, liquid chemical/seed Read More
Retail FacilitiesA&B Welding Builds A New Liquid Terminal Hub For Br…
July 1, 2015
To build its new hub facility, Briggs Crop Nutrients enlisted the help of A&B Welding. The result, an efficient facility Read More
Edon Farmers Co-op
Retail FacilitiesNew Marcus Facility At Edon Farmers Co-op Provides More…
July 1, 2015
Edon Farmers Co-Op in Edon, OH, needed a new facility to consolidate outdated locations. Marcus Construction was able to design Read More
Retail FacilitiesKinder Morgan Expands Its Storage With A New Dome Barre…
July 1, 2015
Kinder Morgan wanted additional covered storage at its Dakota Bulk Terminal on the Mississippi River in St. Paul, MN. With Read More
Retail FacilitiesHeartland Tank Protects Fertilizer From Extreme Cold At…
July 1, 2015
The Arthur Companies in Harvey, ND, enlisted the help of Heartland Tank Companies to develop a new liquid fertilizer facility Read More
The McGregor Co. fertilizer loadout
Retail FacilitiesThe McGregor Co. Partners With Kahler Automation To Cre…
June 30, 2015
Kahler Automation helped The McGregor Co. expand its Clarkston, WA, operation with unstaffed loadout technology that enables customers to pick Read More
Dry and Liquid Plant
Retail FacilitiesKahler Automation Helps CHS Dakota Ag Cooperative Build…
June 30, 2015
CHS Dakota Ag Cooperative in Mooreton, ND, wanted a liquid/dry blender system that could meet the needs of its customers Read More
Crop InputsLand O’Lakes, United Suppliers To Merge Crop Inpu…
June 29, 2015
Land O’Lakes, Inc. and United Suppliers, Inc. of Ames, IA, today announced their intent to merge their crop inputs businesses. Read More
FungicidesHelena To Distribute Unique Summit Agro Fungicide
June 29, 2015
RANMAN 400 SC fungicide, the only fungicide with a FRAC group 21 designation, is now part of the innovative Summit Read More
Eric SfiligojIARC Targets 2,4-D In Latest Report
June 29, 2015
The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has struck again. Earlier this year in March, this agency of the Read More