Record-breaking Black Friday reminds us we’re in the Age of the Internet

As expected, Black Friday saw shoppers come out in force looking for a bargain. With retailers of all types posting significant discounts on their products, spending reached record highs. According to Adobe Analytics, the annual event generated $6.22 billion, an increase of 23.65% on 2017’s total. In breaking down the latest figures, Adobe found that online spending dominated once again, thanks to major brands such as Amazon and Walmart.

Although the online spending spree has reignited calls for consumers to support local brick-and-mortar stores, the reality is that people prefer to use the internet. Ecommerce as an industry is now worth $2.8 trillion, with data sources predicting revenue will hit $4.8 trillion by 2021. However, it’s not just the online retail sector that’s making money. Across the internet, industries and individuals have carved out new opportunities. In fact, today, people can make money online in a myriad of ways.

The Internet Lowers the Barriers to Entry

For individuals, eBay has become as much of a place to sell goods as it is to buy them. Whether it’s a few items every now and again or a fully-fledged business, selling on eBay has become an easy way to make money. Indeed, because retailers don’t have the cost of buying or renting a property, the barrier to entry is extremely low. In a similar vein, the internet has also made it easier for people to trade stocks and shares. Using an online platform, individuals can now make investments like a professional without the cost. As well as low fees for trading stocks and shares, today’s investment sites offer live data feeds, analytical tools and even algorithms to improve a trader’s efficiency.

Social media has also become a valuable tool for anyone looking to get their product to the masses and, in turn, generate some revenue. Again, like ecommerce and trading, YouTube removes many of the costs associated with creating a commercial product. Indeed, with the hosting taken care of and a potential audience of 1.8 billion, content creators can show off their product without investing a fortune. What’s more, the advent of social media has removed the need for a TV or record contract. Now, if someone records their own music video, they can make money without being signed to a major label such as Sony. Beyond the entertainment industry, more people are now starting an online business. From consulting and skill-based services to writing, design, coaching and more, there’s an online business for it.

A Real Digital Revolution

What’s clear is that the internet has done more than change the way we shop. Even though Black Friday serves as a timely reminder that business is booming online, people aren’t simply using it to spend money. With numerous opportunities to make money, the internet has become a place of work for people. That, in essence, is the real digital revolution that people often refer to. By lowering the barriers to entry and making it easier for people to turn an idea into a reality, the internet has fundamentally changed the world around us.