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
Matt Hopkins15 Best New Agriculture Apps Worth Downloading In 2014
December 16, 2013
These latest agriculture apps are sure to help ag professionals do their jobs more efficiently in 2014 and beyond. Read More

Trending Articles

ManagementExpert To Discuss Farmland Value, Rent At Farm Science Review
August 18, 2014
While cropland values in Ohio increased in the past two years, they have remained flat in 2014, declining in some cases, according to an Ohio State University agricultural economist. Read More
EquipmentAdvance Your Technology IQ At MAGIE
August 13, 2014
The Midwest AG Industries Exposition (August 20-21) is the place you need to be to see, study and evaluate how new advances in the equipment, operations, crop protection and fertility sectors can help your business prosper. Read More
HerbicidesScouting Key To Next Season’s Soybean Herbicide Program
August 12, 2014
When growing soybeans, growers need to think ahead to stay one step ahead of weeds. That means examining weed threats and evaluating which herbicides work best. Read More
StewardshipMichigan Agriculture Leaders On Toledo Water Ban: We Want To Be Part Of The Conversation
August 8, 2014
Leaders of Michigan agricultural organizations said Thursday that the government should not have a “knee-jerk reaction” based on last weekend’s water ban in Toledo due to fertilizer run-off in Lake Erie. Read More
CropLife 100BRANDT Acquires Lemon Ag Services
August 4, 2014
The acquisition of Lemon Ag fits BRANDT’s aggressive corporate strategy of providing superior agronomic advice and services for customers in central Illinois. Read More
Eric SfiligojThe Resurgence Of Crop Protection
August 4, 2014
Plenty of new offerings over the next few years should see a rebirth for the crop protection products category in terms of market share. Read More

Latest News

CropLife 100Pinnacle Acquires California-Based Retailer
August 29, 2014
Pinnacle Agriculture Holdings will acquire Kerman Ag Resources, Inc., which will operate under Pinnacle's Performance Agriculture brand. Read More
Allied Cooperative Grain Plant
ManagementArcadia Co-op To Merge With Allied Cooperative
August 28, 2014
Allied Cooperative has announced that members of Arcadia Co-op voted in favor of a merger with Allied Cooperative, paving the way for the consolidation which will be effective on December 1, 2014. Read More
InsecticidesBioinsecticide VENERATE Now Registered In California
August 27, 2014
Marrone Bio Innovations' VENERATE is a new tool to help California growers control crop-damaging insect pests, fight the development of insect resistance and reduce pesticide residues on fruits and vegetables. Read More
CropLife 100Two Iowa-Based Ag Co-ops To Merge
August 27, 2014
The Board of Directors and management of United Western Coop, Missouri Valley, IA has completed a merger with Heartland Co-op, West Des Moines, IA, effective September 1, 2014. Read More
FertilizerKoch Expands AGROTAIN Nitrogen Stabilizer Portfolio
August 26, 2014
Koch Agronomic Services, LLC has added two new innovative nitrogen stabilizers to the AGROTAIN product family – AGROTAIN ADVANCED and AGROTAIN DRI-­MAXX. Read More
Seed/BiotechDuPont To Build Two Seed Treatment Centers
August 26, 2014
DuPont has announced construction on two state-of-the-art centers dedicated to developing and testing seed treatment formulations, applications and seed handling techniques in an important step toward bringing new solutions to growers. Read More
Seed/BiotechLoveland Products Acquires A Controlling Interest In Ag…
August 26, 2014
Loveland Products, a subsidiary of Agrium , has announced the company has acquired a controlling interest in Agricen, a Dallas-area agricultural biotechnology company delivering biochemical-based products for efficient and sustainable plant nutrition. Read More
StewardshipUp Close Look At The 2014 Environmental Respect Award W…
August 25, 2014
The 2014 Environmental Respect Award winners were honored recently at the 24th annual event in Wilmington, DE. Read More
Eric SfiligojAg Science Rejection Carries Consequences
August 25, 2014
As innuendo and fear dog the regulatory process, agriculture can’t get the new tools it needs to combat world hunger. Read More
LegislationFarmers Dismayed As New Farm Bill Dumps Direct Payments
August 25, 2014
The threatened end of cash subsidies to the nation’s row crop farmers dates back through at least the last two iterations of national agriculture policy legislation. Read More
MAGIE 2014 ShowStopper
EquipmentJohn Deere Again Wins MAGIE ShowStopper Award
August 25, 2014
For the second consecutive year, John Deere was honored at the Midwest AG Industries Exposition (MAGIE) for its new R4045 sprayer. Read More
CropLife 100GROWMARK CEO To Retire
August 22, 2014
GROWMARK chief executive officer Jeff Solberg has announced his retirement effective September 15, 2014. Read More
InsecticidesDuPont’s Prevathon Approved For Dry Beans
August 22, 2014
DuPont Prevathon insect control powered by Rynaxypyr has received EPA registration for foliar use on dry bean crops, including dried shelled peas and beans. Read More
ManagementNCGA DuPont New Leaders Program Enters Sophmore Season
August 20, 2014
The National Corn Growers Association and DuPont are pleased to announce the second year of the NCGA DuPont New Leaders Program. Read More
FungicidesVerdesian Links Up With Mitsui, Hokusan
August 20, 2014
Mitsui Chemicals Agro, Inc., and Hokusan Co., announced the signing of an exclusive licensing agreement allowing Verdesian Life Sciences global access to its patented technology for suppressing mycotoxin contamination in wheat and barley. Read More
SprayersUniversity Of Illinois Introduces New Spray App
August 18, 2014
University of Illinois Extension has released a new smartphone app for making sprayer-related calculations. Pesticide Spray Calculator, or Spray Calc, Read More
Crop InputsSyngenta Names New Manager Of Federal Government Relati…
August 18, 2014
Laura Wood Peterson has joined Syngenta as manager of federal government relations, based in Washington, DC. Read More
ManagementExpert To Discuss Farmland Value, Rent At Farm Science …
August 18, 2014
While cropland values in Ohio increased in the past two years, they have remained flat in 2014, declining in some cases, according to an Ohio State University agricultural economist. Read More