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 [email protected].

Topics:

Leave a Reply

Matt Hopkins Stories

Farmers on Tablet
Matt Hopkins6 Mobile App Trends Worth Watching In Agriculture
May 9, 2016
The agricultural industry is being transformed by the use of data. It is everywhere, and over the next several years, Read More
Social media
Matt Hopkins7 Social Media Trends Shaping Ag Retail In 2016
April 22, 2016
After writing my last column on why social media is a must for ag retailers, I heard from several readers Read More
Farmer on social media
Matt Hopkins6 Compelling Reasons Why Social Media Is A Must For Ag Retailers
March 17, 2016
The evolution and growth of social media use among ag retailers since 2010 has been nothing less than astonishing. In Read More
Wheat Growers
Matt Hopkins16 Most Diversified Ag Retailers In 2016
January 8, 2016
Diversification. It’s the battle cry for financial planners everywhere. Many will preach that spreading your investments across market sectors, industries, and Read More
Trending Articles
The Andersons Waterloo
ManagementFirst Indiana Facility Certified Under 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program
June 27, 2016
The 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program has announced that The Andersons, Inc.’s Waterloo, IN, facility has been added to its Read More
Food IT
Industry NewsCalifornia Event Will Mix Ag And Tech Professionals To Explore IT Solutions
June 20, 2016
Silicon Valley is hot on agriculture, and an upcoming event in California will bring together the food and tech industries Read More
Monsanto Luling Plant
Eric SfiligojWhat’s Next For Monsanto?
May 31, 2016
For the folks at Monsanto’s headquarters in St. Louis, MO, it has been an eventful few weeks. Back on May Read More
Soybean Plant closeup
Industry NewsMonsanto Rejects Bayer Bid; Open To More Talks
May 25, 2016
Monsanto Co, the world’s largest seed company, turned down Bayer AG’s $62 billion acquisition bid as “incomplete and financially inadequate” Read More
Eric SfiligojPity The Monsanto Haters
May 23, 2016
An old saying goes thus: “Be careful what you wish for. You just might get it.” Given current events, there Read More
Monsanto Luling Plant
Crop InputsReport: Bayer Eyeing Monsanto For Possible Mega-Merger
May 16, 2016
Bayer AG is exploring a potential bid for U.S. competitor Monsanto Co. in a deal that would create the world’s Read More
Latest News
Heritage Cooperative
CropLife 100Heritage, Agland Co-op Explore Mutual Merger Interest
June 30, 2016
According to a report in The Ohio Country Journal, Heritage Cooperative and Agland Co-op have entered into negotiations to consider Read More
Soybean Plant closeup
Crop InputsDow Launching New Soybean Burndown Herbicide
June 30, 2016
With the 2016 growing season nearing the halfway mark, many growers are scouting soybean fields to find unwelcome marestail plants Read More
ManagementUpdates on Glyphosate Use in the EU and Bayer/Monsanto
June 29, 2016
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj discuss the latest important developments on these crop protection fronts. Read More
Industry NewsCompass Minerals Names Protassium+ Sales Director
June 28, 2016
Compass Minerals, the producer of Protassium+ sulfate of potash, has named Scott Johnson director of sales for Protassium+ North America. Read More
Eric SfiligojThe British Leave Vote Impact On EU Agriculture
June 27, 2016
Like virtually everyone else in the world this past week, I’ve watched the global reaction to Britain’s vote to exit Read More
Valent David Nothmann
Crop InputsValent Names David Nothmann Vice President Of Marketing
June 27, 2016
Valent U.S.A. Corp. has announced the appointment of David Nothmann as vice president of marketing. Nothmann will be responsible for Read More
The Andersons Waterloo
ManagementFirst Indiana Facility Certified Under 4R Nutrient Stew…
June 27, 2016
The 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program has announced that The Andersons, Inc.’s Waterloo, IN, facility has been added to its Read More
CropLife 100BRANDT Contributes To Mayo Clinic
June 27, 2016
BRANDT, a leading agriculture retailer and manufacturer of specialty agriculture products, has pledged a sizable donation to the Mayo Clinic Read More
ManagementReport: U.S. Farmland Values On Average Continue Gradua…
June 27, 2016
Land price movement has been in the forefront for farmers, landowners, lenders and land brokers for a decade now during Read More
AdjuvantsPrecision Laboratories Introduces Intact Xtra For Use W…
June 27, 2016
Precision Laboratories announces the launch of Intact Xtra, an adjuvant designed for applicators who want to maximize spray applications and Read More
Key Cooperative’s new liquid fertilizer, crop chemical, and seed facility in Grinnell, IA stores 1.5 million gallons of liquid fertilizer and 120,000 gallons of crop chemicals.
Retail FacilitiesKey Cooperative Facility Features The Latest In Murray …
June 27, 2016
When Key Cooperative wanted to improve the overall efficiency at its new state-of-the-art facility in Grinnell, IA, it turned to Read More
Allen Summers Asmark Institute PSM Training
EmployeesAsmark Institute Sponsors 25 ResponsibleAg Auditor Trai…
June 21, 2016
The Asmark Institute has announced plans to provide 25 scholarships through their affiliated State fertilizer and agrichemical associations to help encourage Read More
Kennebec Elevator
CropLife 100Wheat Growers Celebrates Kennebec Elevator Grand Openin…
June 21, 2016
Over 250 patrons and guests were on hand to celebrate Wheat Growers’ Kennebec Elevator grand opening. South Dakota Secretary of Read More
Land O Lakes
Industry NewsLand O’Lakes To Acquire Ceres
June 20, 2016
Land O’ Lakes, Inc. and Ceres, Inc. have announced that they have signed a definitive merger agreement under which Land O’Lakes Read More
Food IT
Industry NewsCalifornia Event Will Mix Ag And Tech Professionals To …
June 20, 2016
Silicon Valley is hot on agriculture, and an upcoming event in California will bring together the food and tech industries Read More
LegislationVilsack Christens WinField Crop Adventure, Talks Monsan…
June 17, 2016
The WinField Crop Adventure grand opening ceremonies at Fair Oaks Farms (near Winemac, IN) welcomed USDA Secretary of Agriculture Tom Read More
Crop InputsFields of the Future: WinField Doubles Down with Agri-E…
June 16, 2016
Land O’Lakes, Inc., joined by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, today will host Fields of the Future, a live broadcast about Read More