Web trends favour Amazon, Netflix

03 January 2011

NEW YORK: Amazon, Netflix and Apple are among the companies best placed to tap in to emerging online trends, a report has suggested.

S&P Equity Research, part of Standard & Poor's, has outlined several shifts which will impact the internet during the next 12 months.

Firstly, it suggested that both web advertising expenditure and ecommerce sales would rise by at least 10% over the course of 2011.

"The coming year should … be another year of solid growth, with double-digit gains for US internet advertising and retail spending," said Scott Kessler, information technology analyst, at S&P Equity Research.

Amazon is in line to benefit as more shoppers make purchases via digital channels, and is expected to deliver an annual revenue expansion surpassing 25%.

Netflix, which offers streaming and subscription-based access to films and TV content, could also see user numbers surge from 17m in Q3 2010 to 27m at the end of next year.

An additional possibility is Apple bringing iTunes "to the cloud", allowing customers to visit the music service through the web, and synchronise devices like the iPod wirelessly.

More broadly, S&P Equity Research believes Chinese search giant Baidu may extend its reach in Japan and other Asian markets.

By contrast, Google might face "further issues" in China, where the operation of Google Maps has come under particular scrutiny.

Different matters potentially attracting Google's attention are a push into local advertising in the US, and, less positively, a range of regulatory and legal wrangles, such as relating to the proposed takeover of ITA Software.

Expedia, the online travel firm, is also due to enjoy continuing success in China, prompting competitor Priceline.com to consider making acquisitions.

Finally, social networks Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are unlikely to become publicly-traded corporations, as the funds required to develop are still available through alternative routes.

Data sourced from S&P Equity Research; additional content by Warc staff