By Adam Fraser
The time is upon us again. LinkedIn and Twitter go into something of a meltdown as one of the tech industry’s most eagerly awaited powerpoint decks – the 2018 Internet trends report from Mary Meeker – is released.
At 294 slides it is a truly deep dive into a number of uber internet trends. Not for the faint-hearted or those looking for a quick sound bite and headline – think more encyclopedia than breakthrough insight – it remains a fantastic (free) resource for anyone performing analysis in the tech sector.
I would encourage everyone to take the time to review the detailed deck, but if you (understandably) don’t have the time to browse 294 slides, here are 10 key takeaways:
- Global internet users continue to grow (now 3.6bn), although the rate of growth is slowing (7% vs 12% on the prior year); internet users will reach half the global population in 2018.
- Global smartphone shipments were flat year on year, appearing to have hit maturity. Interesting to compare this to 2014’s growth of 28% and 2015’s 10% growth.
- The time spent with digital media per adult in the USA continued its steady consistent growth over recent years, up 5% to 5.9 hours/day (as a comparison this was 4.3 hours/day in 2012 and 3.0 hours/day in 2009), with the majority of this time now spent on a mobile device.
- Google’s machine learning voice accuracy now exceeds 95%, which is basically in line with the equivalent human accuracy. Amazon Echo’s install base now exceeds 30m, representing rapid growth on the prior year.
- Technology companies now represent 25% of the US stock market’s collective market cap, approaching the previous peak level of 33% experienced during the dot combook of 2000.
- E-commerce revenues continue to grow, but still represent only 13% of total retail revenue (a surprisingly low number, two decades into the internet revolution), with Amazon’s growth leading the way.
- Social media is increasingly driving product discovery. 78% of Facebook users (Instagram 59%, Pinterest 59%) discovered products on that platform, 55% of the consumers who discovered a product on social media then made their purchase online, while 6% of all referrals to e-commerce sites came via social media.
- Uber retail trend: consumers are increasingly renting/subscribing and not buying – examples of growth were Netflix, Spotify, Dropbox, NY Times, LegalZoom and Peloton.
- The macro growth in internet advertising continued (up 21% versus 22% last year), noting mobile advertising spend is still “underweight” versus its share of time spent across media types (representing a $7bn opportunity).
- Key technology disruption drivers noted were cheaper computer storage and processing power, plus rising and cheaper connectivity, facilitating easier data sharing.
Other sections of the report covered healthcare, population density, the future of work, data gathering, personalisation, AI and China, in some detail.
Well worth the time for a detailed review, and an excellent reference point for reliable and trustworthy data points that may be useful in a range of other content analytics use cases.