“Dad, there was never a time without the internet!” That is a direct quote from a 10-year-old in 2012. She will never understand life without instantaneous access to information… or TikTok videos. The things young people take for granted?!? The internet has now been around for about 25 years. Some of you may even remember the screeching AOL dial tone. I still marvel at the internet’s conception, innovation and utility.
For most, daily internet interaction centers around news and shopping. But, to those of us monitoring, gathering and analyzing information, the internet is the most valuable tool ever. The days of waiting for weekly or monthly periodicals with the latest economic data are long gone. The second the U.S. Department of Labor publishes its weekly tally of unemployment claims each Thursday at 8:30 am ET, it’s available to everyone around the world instantaneously!
Information treasured by analysts is no longer relegated to formal economic or company data. The internet has given rise to a whole new set of data to evaluate. The very nature of the internet is to inquire about things, as such, these searches can reveal what interests’ people or what people are engaged in. For example, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) publishes daily airline passenger travel, which is about 60% of pre-COVID levels and rising1.
Beyond government data, we can look to Google Trends or Yelp to assess near-term thinking. The data is all pointing toward experiences and a returning to normal lifestyles. This is especially evident in the lifestyle data through March. Boat tours, walking tours and childcare searches have all accelerated. Interestingly, fitness equipment searches have had a precipitous drop. This is likely because the interest to for out-of-home experiences has caused individuals to ignore purchasing in-home gym equipment as recovery begins to take hold. OpenTable’s State of the Industry has offered a peek in to dining trends. OpenTable assists with restaurant bookings. The data shows the US citizens are making a marked effort to dine outside of home.
The internet is an amazing tool; not just the speed of data delivery, but also the new data it offers. I’m sure people from 200 years ago would think today’s technology is magical. Have a wonderful weekend. Best regards.