Some of the advantages the internet has granted us over the last two decades have been phenomenal. While it hasn’t all been positive, for some industries, it has injected a new lease of life into their fledgling business models. Due to the enormous increase in interconnectivity, the internet has revitalized industries who use it as a platform to advertise to a host of new clients previously out of reach.
Some of these industries struggled due to other economic factors, like a decline in the workforce, supply chain costs or macroeconomic issues such as inflation. Knowing what causes inflation will give you a good indication of why some of these industries struggled. Today, however, our focus turns to sectors galvanized due to the rise of the internet and how they used these changes to their advantage.
The trillion-dollar marketplace of trading and stockbroking is traditionally performed on a trading floor. Before the internet, you often saw packed trading floors in New York and London. Stockbrokers would perform all of their duties over the phone. This industry certainly wasn’t in danger of dying but the ways of buying and selling stocks were rigid and relatively one-dimensional.
The internet has caused stockbrokers to be able to contact each other much more directly and across different time zones. In addition, it has opened the door to retail traders who have been able to use the vast resources available online to learn how to trade and open accounts themselves.
Although we have labelled this section as stockbroking, all markets have been impacted enormously. So whether you trade forex, commodities or cryptocurrency, you will be able to benefit from the facilities the internet has provided.
TV and film
Given the size and scale of the TV industry, many have deemed it a “recession-proof” industry. However, the rise of the internet has caused hundreds of these companies to pivot their focus on advertising and connecting with customers primarily via the internet.
Although TV advertising still exists, and traditional methods such as billboards are also used, the internet is where most advertising occurs for big films and TV. Even the way in which people consume media such as movies and TV series has completely changed.
You only need to look at some of the substantial streaming companies, the number of customers and the turnover they generate to show how much business they now take compared to TV companies.
Before the internet, colossal video rental companies like Blockbuster were one of the biggest companies for home movies and cinemas. However, their business model is considered defunct and it saw their entire business wiped out by internet-based companies such as Netflix, which is now a multibillion-dollar business.
Thanks to the internet, Netflix went from a streaming service aimed at the American market to a business that operates in 190 countries. With other colossal streaming services moving into this sector, such as Disney+, Amazon Prime and Apple TV, the amount of money that flows into this sector is staggering.
Before the internet, bookstores and libraries were the primary sources of literature. These industries still serve an explicit purpose regarding higher or advanced education. However, with the rise of Amazon, purchasing and ordering books online directly to your door caused a massive shift in how people consume literature.
From an education perspective, from the early 21st century onwards, many schools and universities went from using books to using computers. In addition, the vast availability of information on the internet has meant that many of us are able to access valuable resources from all over the globe.
This isn’t the only way the industry has completely changed, either. Many people who invest in higher education can learn their chosen subject online. Previously, any university students, including full-time, part-time or mature students, would have to spend time and money to travel to lectures.
Many institutions now offer part-time courses entirely online. You can also take to YouTube and find many academic lectures you are interested in. This would have been unheard of just over a decade ago. The education sector is one that has arguably benefitted the most from the rise of the internet and the availability of new resources.
If you were looking to book a vacation before the internet existed, it would often involve visiting a travel agent who would arrange the whole trip for you. When the internet started to move into this industry, it created a global market where travel providers didn’t have to use a physical office to book your vacation.
In a world in which Airbnb is a multibillion-dollar company and many of us can book flights and hotels online without having to deal with an intermediary, the industry has changed immeasurably. The travel sector has been an emerging industry for decades but the internet has added a new dimension to the way people book vacations and the way that we travel.
It isn’t just this particular aspect of travel that has changed either. Ticket booths in stations have been rendered redundant now that many of us use digital wallets on our phones to purchase and scan train, plane and bus tickets.
Although some of these industries were hardly on their last legs, the internet ushered in a new area of business in many sectors. It helped to develop a new dimension to their enterprises that didn’t previously exist, and created plenty of new jobs and opportunities for people in these industries.
With companies like Blockbuster, many people were less fortunate, but their business model and plan were the catalysts that eventually destroyed their business. As technology continues to advance and the internet continues to play a pivotal role in industry and our lives, there will be more industries that will change due to the internet and technology.