HotTopics: 2001 vs. 2005: Research Study Reveals Dramatic Changes Among Information Consumers
How have information users changed their behaviors over the past four years? This HotTopics draws from a new, intensified round of end-user research comprising more than 2,000 interviews to answer that question on many levels. Comparing the new research with results from 2001 shows a number of remarkable trends: today's users are backing off a bit from self-service models and relying more on information intermediaries; users of all kinds are increasingly interested in competitive information; the time users spend gathering information has increased from 8 to 11 hours per average workweek, and that 'gathering time' has also increased in relation to the time spent analyzing and applying it. Another change in this period is a strong consolidation of search engine preferences around Google, compared to the six search engines that reached reasonable numbers in 2001. Discretionary spending for content is also down among end users, a trend that puts fee-based commercial vendors at risk compared to ad-based ones. This HotTopics identifies companies and business models that are benefiting from the various changes and trends. It also includes a checklist of essential actions for commercial content providers, including customization of offerings; embedding content in user applications; measuring increased efficiency and ROI; focusing on user pain points such as price sensitivity; and continuing to track changing user needs as the pace of change continues to accelerate.