On Wednesday legendary tech forecaster Mary Meeker delivered her 23rd annual Internet Trends Report at Vox’s Code Conference. This year’s report came in at a healthy 294 slides – if you want to see the entire presentation scroll about half way down this Business Insider link and start clicking until you pass out from a data overdose.
All jokes aside, this is an incredibly valuable report because it charts tech consumption patterns and then goes one step further by fitting the pieces of the macro puzzle together. In previous years Meeker has focused on specific tech sectors like digital media, mobile advertising, and gamification. This year’s report delves deeper into data, engagement, eCommerce and the rise of Asian tech to compete with the US’s dominance.
In a feeble attempt to boil down this data into usable bite-sized chunks, I found a solid summary from Recode. To me these are the most usable data points from a digital media perspective. Enjoy!
- 2017 was the first year in which smartphone unit shipments didn’t grow at all. As more of the world become smartphone owners, growth has been harder and harder to come by. The same goes for internet user growth, which rose 7% in 2017, down from 12% the year before.
- People are still increasing the amount of time they spend online. U.S. adults spent 5.9 hours/day on digital media in 2017, up from 5.6 hours/day the year before. Some 3.3 of those hours/day were spent on mobile, which is responsible for overall growth in digital media consumption.
- Mobile payments are becoming easier to complete. China continues to lead the rest of the world in mobile payment adoption, with over 500M active mobile payment users in 2017.
- Voice-controlled products like Amazon Echo are taking off. The Echo’s installed base in the U.S. grew from 20M in the third quarter of 2017 to more than 30M in the fourth quarter.
- Tech companies are facing a “privacy paradox.” They’re caught between using data to provide better consumer experiences and violating consumer privacy.
- eCommerce sales growth is continuing to accelerate. It grew 16% in the U.S. in 2017, up from 14% in 2016. Amazon is taking a bigger share of those sales at 28% last year. Conversely, physical retail sales are continuing to decline.
- Internet leaders like Google and Amazon will offer more artificial intelligence service platforms as AI becomes a bigger part of enterprise spending.
- China is catching up as a hub to the world’s biggest internet companies. Currently, China is home to nine of the world’s 20 biggest internet companies by market cap while the U.S. has 11. Five years ago, China had two and the U.S. had nine.
- Immigration remains important for U.S. tech companies. More than half of the most highly valued tech companies in the U.S. are founded by first or second generation immigrants. Uber, Tesla, WeWork and Wish all have first-generation founders.