In 1999, the Web was still considered an innovation in Europe. In France, 11,6% were connected; 100,000 adventurous people are managing their bank accounts on line; e-commerce brings 200,000 euros! It was also the time of the Internet boom: start-ups are getting millions from angels and investors. After two years of euphoria and craziness, it is the krach. But, in spite of that, one third of the French population was connected – mostly by cable. Amazon.com and ebay.com opened their French site. A healthy sign of confidence in the new economy! In 2004, 12 million French were on line, more than 50% connected by cable or high-speed. Apple launched its iTunes platform in France. In 2005, two years after the US, French people became addicted to blogs. 2 million French bloggers appeared almost over night! In 2006, advertising on line brought several million euros. In 2007, the iPhone became available in France. In 2009, over 32 million French people were connected; they were aware of Facebook and discovering Twitter.
Of course, France is not the most Internet friendly country. Regulation is the keyword for the French administration on connectivity, privacy, wine, advertising, e-commerce. In spite of all the restrictions, France is opening up to the 21st century. To look at the future, one has to look at the US. In the last ten years, I saw tremendous innovations coming from the US in the wine industry: services for wineries such as VinoVisit.com, search engine specifically tailored to wine like ablegrape.com, think tanks like VinTank.com, on line wineries such as Crushpad, new packaging. I also saw some innovations coming from Europe, like the unique code designed by adegga.com in Portugal.
New consumers generated new marketing strategies and new trends: women and Millennials, emerging countries. China and India became the new powers – first by the exponential number of wine consumers but mainly by their potential production.
Let’s not forget the incredible wine communities spread all over the Internet in already existing communities: wine groups in LinkedIn.com, pages or groups on Facebook, networks on Twitter now helped by the search. Individuals became leaders and carry the new trends to new countries and new consumers. It would be incredibly long and difficult to mention all the innovations but i’m really amazed by what happened on the Net in ten years.
I look forward to witnessing and being a modest part of the formidable innovations that will take place in the next ten years. Welcome to 2010!