Mary Meeker’s Future Internet Trends: Where Are We Going?

Mary Meeker’s Future Internet Trends: Where Are We Going?

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Before you read, browse, or bounce away from this article on Internet trends- give it a chance by reading the final paragraph titled: “No Conclusions or Conclusive Evidence – Just Educated Guessing”

Mary Meeker,  Partner at Klein Perkins the Silicon Valley iconic venture capital firm , whose focus is on the Internet and new technologies, recently released this year’s version of her famous annual report: Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends 2018. Considered critical data for many companies and niches, Meeker always digs deep providing statistical analysis and trend predictions. Let’s take a look at some of the more interesting internet trends, statistics, and data shared in this report.

This is a random selection of internet trends and data points I found interesting. I pose a question after each and I would appreciate your thoughts, answers, or posits on each. What can we glean from this information?

How Many People Are on the Internet?

50% of the world’s population or 3.6B are now on the internet.  Growth of participation has been rapid and steady from 1.6B users in 2009. According to TechCrunch, much of this growth was stimulated by cheaper mobile phones and a greater proliferation of WiFi around the world.

Q: How long will it take for the entire world’s population to be using the internet on a daily basis?

How Many Hours Are We on the Internet Each Day?

With mobile phones and their usage becoming ubiquitous in many parts of the world, adult usage has continued to skyrocket at an alarming rate – as of 2017 we are spending 5.9 hours per day on the internet compared with 5.6 hours in 2016. Way back in 2008, we spent 2.7 hours online per day with the increase most likely related to the popularity of social networks like Facebook and Twitter in combination with other factors.

Q: We are beginning to see mental health issues and issues of addition revolving around social media participation, internet usage, and video gaming. Where is the breaking point and will we be able to push away from the “connected table” to maintain our sanity?

How We Buy Things: Amazon vs Google Search

According to Meeker: “More people start product searches on Amazon than search engines now. . .”

Q: Is this an internet trend? Will we see Amazon and others continue to “steal” traffic from Google?

WiFi Global Growth an Internet Trend Feeding Adoption

400M WiFi networks were in place in 2017 as compared to fewer than 20M in 2007. In 10 years we have experienced 20x growth – is that sustainable and for how long?

Q: At what point does every major city in the United States manage and provide residents a city wide free WiFi network?

Internet Trends: Voice Technology is Taking Over

A combination of Google’s machine learning achieving a 95% accuracy rate for voice searches and the rapid sales of Amazon Echo units from 10M to 30M by year end 2017 means voice search is here to stay.

Q: Are we heading toward a time when all searches will be voice activated through your mobile or laptop (or whatever devices are invented) devices leaving the written searches obsolete – will we cease to write?

Work Life Changes: Freelancing vs Traditional Employment

Freelance work in the gig economy, executed by the work-from-home force coffee cafe brigade, grew three times (3x) faster than total workforce growth. Workers like schedule flexibility and losing the laborious and painful 2-4 hour daily drive time commute. In 2017, driven by Airbnb, Doordash, Etsy, Uber, and Upwork, the on-demand workforce grew 23%.

Q: Do you currently hold a job with an employer that allows you to telecommute? Are you an entrepreneur and part of the gig economy?

eCommerce vs Physical Retail Sales

eCommerce as of the end of 2017 represents 13% of all retail sales. In 2007 it represented 5% of all retail sales.

Q: Does the rate of eCommerce retail sales seem slower than expected considering the media bombardment of eCommerce killing brick n mortar stories?

No Conclusions or Conclusive Evidence –  Just Educated Guessing

Although some of the numbers make perfect sense, other statistics are more difficult to apply to a prediction of future trends. At what point is our planet 100% internet access ready? And at what point does Internet fatigue completely alienate or daze the masses’ senses to the point of paralysis – downward trends in Internet usage and a backlash against the Internet? Is the old school saying “Paralysis by analysis” where we will be in 30 years? Or will Artificial Intelligence and the automation and connection of everything imaginable (IoT) lead us to an existence as human beings where we can’t even do the simplest physical or mental tasks because they are being done for us?


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