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What does 2023 have in store for public web data?

Written by Erez Naveh, SVP of Product at Bright Data

Data plays an increasingly important role in business transformation projects, especially during a financial crisis. A wide range of industries turn to external data sources instead of relying on data that’s collected internally. This kind of data gives businesses a real-time informational advantage and helps them successfully navigate their own market domain while always knowing what their competition is up to. Businesses across different industries, from financial services to retail, are accessing publicly available web data and turning to it to guide their next business step.

Furthermore, with rising inflation rates around the world and the consequent cost-of-living crisis, these factors are pushing businesses to rely even more on public web data. So, what does 2023 have in store when accessing web data? Read on to find out the three biggest trends that are set to shape the web data landscape.

1. The battle for an open market continues

Over the last few years, the openness of public web data has become a point of contention. The truth is that large enterprises have been pushing hard to build a walled garden around the web data they place in the public eye. Although it is public to us as consumers, it is made difficult to access as a business.
This is particularly true in the travel industry where, thanks to the pandemic, competition has become fiercer than ever. This is illustrated by the fact that travel is one of the top three industries to have expanded its reliance on web data over the last 12 months, along with retail and banking. In response, companies are closely guarding their public web data in an effort to create a greater gap with their competitors by blocking access to information.
We’re seeing a similar trend across multiple verticals. This is despite the need for a fair and openly competitive market, which is only possible by creating an environment where all consumers and businesses can access key public information. Such information includes product users’ reviews, pricing and product information, all of which help businesses produce better offers, services and pricing for consumers.
I expect this ‘closing trend’ to get worse in 2023. Although some businesses, specifically tech giants with growing monopolies, will aim to shut access to public data, including data that is public information for individual consumers. The public and industry will continue pushing for transparency. They will be driven by the fight for a fairer market, one that benefits the general public and results in a fairer and more transparently managed market.

2. Turbulent economic times lie ahead

The world economy faces a huge strain in 2023. With rising inflation and extremely low interest rates, companies around the world have already been cutting budgets as they prepare for a potential recession in 2023. However, these companies are also recognising that public web data is crucial for their operational infrastructure as well as for their business continuity. This is because it provides the ability to conduct real-time market research and a snapshot of the competitive market, which helps them make fast, necessary changes that impact their revenue.
In today’s eCommerce-dominated world, consumers are just a click away from finding the best suitable prices offered by their direct competitors. As such, the focus in 2023 will be on finding a way to balance their pricing strategies in a cost-efficient way by relying on frequent draws of market-relevant public web data. This pricing data will make the difference between consumers switching to competitors’ products or remaining loyal to a specific brand.
Even with budget cuts, there’s a relatively simple solution to relying on web data as well as one that allows businesses to remain agile and lean while cutting costs. This solution is outsourcing the operation.

3. Reducing the circulation of counterfeit goods

For many years, brands have been battling against counterfeiting, the resale of stolen goods, and copyright infringement. This has heavily impacted their revenue and plans for further market-share expansion. As less regulated marketplaces continue to grow in popularity, this struggle and threat are expected to grow.
This growth poses a particularly tough challenge for high-end luxury brands whose products are sought after around the world. These brands are using public web scraping to automatically and routinely conduct checks and protect their brand identity and integrity. Public web scraping helps them track stolen goods online and see where they are being sold.
In 2023, this issue will manifest across two main channels. The first is established prominent marketplaces, which still feature a huge amount of counterfeit and stolen goods. Then, there are the smaller ‘dropshipping’ channels that are purely focused on manufacturing products to the same design specs but at significantly lower costs than the brands themselves.
The challenge is that consumers can now easily order fake goods, like imitation bags by what appear to be major fashion brands. Instead of finding them at physical flea markets, these goods are now online – available from anywhere in the world at any time, which is reported to directly affect luxury brand sales. That’s why we’ll see a much greater focus on tracking these types of sites and branded products in the year ahead.

The main obstacle this year will be dealing with large-scale commercial pressures and the impending recession. To successfully steer these turbulent times, businesses must be equipped with a cost-effective web data partner. This way, they can tackle every new challenge first and foremost with the most reliable real-time information source, which is public web data.