A Look Back at 2009: My Favorite Statistics and Trends Web Sites

It’s the new year and it’s customary to look at the previous year and make predictions about the upcoming year or decade.  Every day in my e-mail inbox, I get a flood of Top Ten lists.  So where do I go when I need statistics about which Web browser is winning the browser war, how many users Twitter really has, or the gadgets and technologies that will likely shine in 2010?  Here are my favorite sites:

  • The Pew Research Center has some of the best research about all kinds of trends shaping the US.  The Pew Internet and American Life Project has great information about technology adoption, Web 2.0, social media and the technology divide.
  • Ad Age is one of my favorite sites.  The daily e-mail newsletter is one that I read nearly every day.  This article on Where Digital Marketing is Heading in 2010 is a must read.
  • When I’m looking for numbers and visitors demographics for a particular Web site, I go to Quantcast.  For example, Quantcast estimates there are 23.3M Twitter users, of which 53% are female, 44% are between the ages of 18-34, and 75% are Caucasian.  The data can be a stale by a few months, which is a problem for fast-growing sites, but the data is usually pretty solid.
  • Although I live in the DC area, I’m a huge New York Times fan.  Check out the 9th Annual Year in Ideas (the best!) and an awesome infographic that shows search terms related to cooking and Thanksgiving, by region of the country.
  • TrendWatching.com puts out a monthly briefing on trends related to consumer behavior, marketing and advertising.  Although I’m underwhelmed by their 10 Crucial Consumer Trends for 2010, the site generally has good onsight into what’s hot or will be hot.
  • Ars Technica is one of the best tech news sites/blogs on the Web.  Check out this August 2009 article that showed Microsoft’s Internet Explorer now has a less than 67% market share.
  • We often think of Nielsen when it comes to TV ratings, but the company has amazing research about consumers, technology, marketing and advertising.  A study back in March of 2009 reported that social networks and blogs are now the 4th most popular online activity, ahead of personal e-mail.
  • If you love data visualizations, you’ll love Flowing Data.  I love the perspective you get when you plot data points on a map; the insight grows when you are able to see data change over time, or across geographic boundaries.  I love this data visualization of the State of the World.
  • Google Trends shows you the top search terms in the Google search engine and lets you compare the world’s interest in topics of your choice.   Google even maps flu trends based on people googling for search terms related to the flu.

These are just some of my favorite trends/statistics Web sites.  If you’re interested in seeing what else is on my bookmark list, check out my account on Delicious.

How about you?  What sites do you rely on to know what’s hot, what’s in, what’s not, and in what direction the winds of change are blowing?

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