21 Years Of Innovation: How Things Have Changed Since 2000

by Jacob Ellis

So many things have changed since 2000 when iocea first began- it really does seem like a lifetime ago. Over the past two decades, technology and the way we live our lives has changed somewhat dramatically- from the ways in which we watch films, the ways we listen to music, the ways we work, the ways we travel and we way we connect with loved ones!

It seems kind of incredible that despite so many changes in our everyday lives, iocea have managed to remain innovative and continue to grow and evolve, in ways that many other businesses haven’t been able to. This is because we put innovation at the heart of everything we do- We are committed to continually improving our services and products to exceed customer expectations and to fill gaps in new emerging markets. It is because of our ability to stay ahead of the curve, that we’ve been able to plunge our clients into success and expand our business over the past 21 years. Still, the only way is up! We’ve got so much more to give and we are incredibly excited to embark on the next chapter of our journey.

As part of our 21st birthday blog series, we thought we’d take a trip back through time and talk about some of the biggest changes in life since 2000. Let’s get started! 


Communications in 2000

Back in 2000, text messaging was a relatively new concept, having only gained popularity around 1998, so many people still used communication methods such as landlines, email and the good old fashioned letter. Now, emails tend to be associated with work, but back in 2000, email was commonly used to arrange plans with friends and connect with family members from afar. However, you weren’t able to send an email and take a call on your landline at the same time! Now in 2021, it is now reported in 2021 that over 22% of UK households don’t even have a landline anymore. Instead, people are opting for mobile communications and social media!

Even with early online communications emerging in 2000, most mobile phones didn’t support the internet and the only real way to connect online was through a bulky computer. According to online figures, only 6.73% of the world’s population had access to the internet in 2000, compared with 59.5% in 2021. In case you are wondering, that 59.5% equates to 4.66 billion active internet users worldwide in 2021, with 92.6% of those users accessing the internet via mobile devices. 

Social Media

Social media in 2000

Communication leads us on nicely to social media, which has been arguably one of the biggest changes in the past 21 years. One of the earliest social media platforms in the UK was MSN messenger, which was launched in 1999, and a few years prior to this, you could access Sixdegrees.com, which allowed you to set up a profile and send messages within networks. Still, the capabilities of these social media sites were nothing like they are today, nor were there as many options available to choose from.

In 2021, it was reported by Statista that a whopping 77.9% of the UK population use social media sites! Social media is a fantastic platform for users to make connections, communicate with others and do so much more- including online shopping, play games, sell items, create events and even apply for jobs. Not only is social media great for users, but it’s even better for advertisers as it offers a huge reach!

Avocado Social have provided the following statistics, which break down usage for some of the most popular social media sites in the UK.  

Facebook: Used by 66% of the UK population (over age 13)

YouTube: Used by 84% of the UK population (over 18)

Instagram: Used by 53% of the UK population (over 13)

LinkedIn: Used by 56% of the UK population (over 18)

Twitter: Used by 29% of the UK population (over 13)

Snapchat: Used by 36.6% of the UK population (over 13)

With social media platforms continually growing and offering more features to it’s users, it is exciting to imagine where it’ll be in another 21 years. 

Advertising and Marketing

Advertising in 2000

With changes in the way that we communicate, advertisers have needed to adapt and find a new way to effectively target audiences. In 2000, the most common forms of advertising involved traditional media, such as radio, television, print and outdoor. Since then, businesses have delved into newer forms of direct marketing, including Email campaigns and SMS marketing, steering further away from direct mail through the post. Not only has this move been influenced by a stronger concern for environmental impact, but it’s faster, proves more cost-effective and often more successful too.

More recently, businesses are using social media as a crucial tool in their marketing mix- Using sites to reach a large audience, as well as specific segments such as users with niche interests or certain demographics. Social media is also an important medium for communicating with your audience, encouraging conversions, building a brand, developing customer loyalty and staying relevant. In fact, Hubspot reported that over 54% of social media users use the platform to research new products and engage with brands. Businesses are also discovering the importance of modern digital marketing strategies, including SEO and Search Engine Advertising, which can play a huge role in driving eCommerce success.


Computers in 2000

Computing power and the culture of using a computer has changed shaped dramatically over 21 years. Back then, using a computer meant sitting down at a desk with a metal box plugged into the wall that couldn’t be moved and you interacted with the box using a 3 foot wide screen called a CRT monitor. These days companies are trying to get you to do all your desktop work on a tiny smart phone in one hand whilst sipping artisan coffee in the other. 

Activities that used to require a desktop computer can now be achieved very quickly through apps on our phones. Back in the day, to upload a photo to the internet took the following steps: take photo on camera, plug SD card reader into your desktop computer, drag photo into your computer files, open up Outlook Express, insert photo into new email, click send. Today you shoot the photo using your phone in 1 tap and then add a second tap to upload it to Instagram. 

Thankfully desktop computers are still popular and in fact have risen in popularity since the start of the pandemic as more people work from home. The year 2000 kicked off with two operating systems from Microsoft: Windows 2000 and Windows Me. For those around at the time you will remember that Windows Me was painfully unsuccessful. Microsoft would make that same mistake again 6 years later with Windows Vista and then another 6 years later with Windows 8. They were unsuccessful because Microsoft didn’t listen to the needs of its customers and brought about features that people didn’t like.

Windows 2000 however was successful and became the foundations for an even more successful operating system called Windows XP which was a game changer for PCs. Firstly, Windows XP was so incredibly successful that support for it lasted a whopping 14 years! That’s more than double the typical support lifecycle for software. Secondly, Windows XP was Microsoft’s first 64-bit operating system (the 64-bit edition) and one of the biggest advantages is that 64-bit computers can run on more memory which means, in laymen terms, that they can do more things without slowing down.

In the year after Microsoft released Vista to a raucous booing, a second game changer happened in 2007. The iPhone. Suddenly a phone with a physical keyboard seemed alien, for a phone should just be a single rectangular piece of glass. Next up, 3 years later, Apple released the third game-changer. The iPad. Tablet computers had been a round for a while but not as we know them today. Apple was the first to really innovate the way tablet computers look and feel, they should look similar to a smartphone – a bigger sheet of glass with no buttons. Tablets these days often exceed the hardware specifications of some budget end desktop computers on the market.

A new wave of game changers happened quite recently within the last 5 years called smart devices. Fitbit released its first smart tracker in 2014 and Apple released their first smart watch a year later. Internet of Things (IoT) is also a new concept within the last 10 years where more of your everyday items are connected to the internet so that you can control them without being near them. This includes smart heating, lighting, and virtual assistant hubs such as: Alexa, Google Home and Amazon Echo.

In the year 2000 you had to get up to turn the lights on. Now all you have to do is say “Alexa, turn the lights on”. 


eCommerce in 2000

The fundamentals of shopping online, ordering over an internet connection and waiting for the item to be delivered by a van, have stayed the same over the last 21 years but the ways users interact to make the sale has changed. To buy online in the year 2000 meant using a clunky desktop computer possibly located in your computer room, firing up Internet Explorer 5 and directly entering the website address you saw from a TV advert. Today, you’ve probably ordered from an app on your phone or perhaps through voice control: “hey Google, order me some more apples” you instruct your virtual assistant. “Don’t kid yourself, you know you’re not going to eat all those apples” is its reply.

Payment methods have changed significantly over the two decades from having to enter all your card information on a dubious looking form to using secure payment gateways like PayPal. Google Wallet is one such innovation where an app on your phone using NFC can be scanned to take payment in a physical shop and can also be used to pay online. Having goods on finance using Buy Now, Pay Later schemes is on the raise since 21 years ago with payment providers like Klarna making the process seamless.

The user experience had one of its game changes in the year 2014 with the release of HTML5 and HTML5 enabled browsers. The change meant the release of new tags so that the structure on your website can have a greater description for search engines. The need for plugins like the dreaded Adobe Flash was removed with videos and other multimedia now natively supported with just a few lines of code. HTML5 means we can now track users geolocation (if they provide permission) which has incredible business advantages that it needs its own blog article. HTML5 browsers now use local storage which means more data can be stored on the client’s browser and not on your server.

Ecommerce no longer just means buying and selling from a website. With the rise of social media, many sales have happened in groups and pages set up by its own users. In-game and in-app purchases were also unheard of in the year 2000 unless you bought a floppy disk or CD that contained the upgrade. Today, sales through games on your phone, Xbox, Playstation etc have rocketed 167% since 4 years ago. This could be buying tools and bocks for your Minecraft world, making a bet on a football match or unlocking Tinder Gold.

Anyway, less of the past and more about the future- Let’s make yours bright! At iocea eCommerce agency in Lincoln, we help build brands and grow businesses into an online success. Since 2000, we’ve helped thousands of clients with website development, design, digital marketing and other services to give them the boost that they needed to soar in the eCommerce world.

Click here to check out our website and see what we could do for your business!