Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends presentation is almost peerless in the space. Nothing brings together developers looking for opportunities and threats, online marketers looking to assess prioritization, and business owners reassessing their strengths and weaknesses quite like the Kleiner Perkins deck. In many ways, it’s a SWOT analysis of the industry.
It’s worth reviewing all the slides if you’re curious about the future of technology as presented by some of the best number-crunchers on the planet. Still, at 196 slides, not all of them tied to online businesses, it can be a bit much. If you’re looking for the CliffsNotes version, we’ve got it ready for you.
Let’s get the obvious out of the way, first.
The Biggest Internet Players Are Now Worth Trillions
In 1995, the biggest Internet companies were worth just shy of 17 billion dollars. You would be able to look at the biggest companies on the planet – General Electric, Coca-Cola, Phillip Morris – and there’d nary be an Internet technology company in sight.
Fast forward to 2014. The top 15 Internet companies have become worth a cool 2.4 trillion. The largest players – Apple, Google, Facebook – are known not just for sheer size, but their ability to act as platforms, as gatekeepers. That’s important to remember for anyone playing in this space.
9% of Retail for the US Now Done via Web
For context, it was 1% in 1998. There’s still plenty of room left to grow, but in case you needed to know whether you’ll need to nail down e-commerce experience for desktop and mobile in the coming years, the answer is yes. The size of opportunity is over 300 billion dollars, and growing.
There are 5.2 Billion Mobile Phones – and 40% of them are Smartphones
Everyone knows mobile is big, but the context usually isn’t there. Few have put it as elegantly as this slide. Just 40% of 5.2 billion (billion!) mobile phones are smart phones today – as more people make the switch to smart phones, nailing mobile usability will be even more critical.
In the US, Mobile Use Has Overtaken Desktop and Laptop Use – and the Gap is Widening
An average of 2.8 hours is spent surfing on mobile phones, versus 2.4 hours for desktop and laptop. That’s a lot of internet use, and it looks like mobile isn’t really cannibalizing desktop – people are just using the web more.
To capitalize on this, you can’t just shift your budget from desktop to mobile – getting both right will be painful, but necessary.
Growth Is Slowing
Smartphone use is maturing, and with maturity comes slower growth. Still, at 2.1 billion smart phones in use and 23% growth, getting things wrong here can be deadly for businesses.
Mobile Advertising Still Languishing Behind
All that time being spent on mobile phones isn’t translating to mobile ad spend for businesses – yet.
Part of this is that nobody has really nailed the experience yet. Google and Facebook are trying hard, and the actual ads on their platforms are improving.
It’s prudent to keep watching this space, and testing for ROI on mobile ads.