2014 Internet Trends

Mobile is taking over the web. KPCB venture capitalist Mary Meeker has revealed in her newly published Internet Trends 2014 report that mobile data traffic rose 81% year over year, and mobile usage now makes up 25% of total web usage. Smartphones are still on the rise — now representing 30% of all mobile phones — but tablets are seeing the most growth: With 2013 tablet shipments up 52% from the year before, the devices are growing faster than PCs ever did.

Meeker, a former Morgan Stanley analyst also known as the Queen of the Internet, presented these findings and more in her much-anticipated annual report on the future of technology at the Code Conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif. Wednesday morning. Among her insights:

Tablets on a Tear: Tablet adoption is growing faster than PCs ever did, and there’s still more loads of growth ahead – tablet population penetration is at 6%. Meanwhile, desktop PC population penetration is at 10%, laptops at 11% (see slide 8).

Tech Company Valuations Still Below Peak Levels: Is there an excess in tech company valuations? Some, Meeker says, but levels are still well below the peak of 2000. Venture financings are 77% below the peak of 2000 (see slide 22).

Social Media’s Rapid Force: Half of total social referrals happen in 6.5 hours on Twitter and in 9 hours on Facebook. Facebook accounts for 21% of global referrals on the web. See slide 42 for top social content leaders.

Photos are Still King: About 1.8 billion photos are now uploaded or shared per day, a trend Meeker expects will only increase as more advanced apps and platforms emerge (see slide 62).

More Video Screens, but Smartphones are No. 1: The number of screens are proliferating, from TV to laptops and tablets, but smartphones are now the most-watched medium in many countries. More screens means consumers will be able to get more content in less time (see slide 96).

Pay Attention to Rapid Growth in Sensors: Just four years ago, a Samsung Galaxy S phone came equipped with four sensors. The S5 model, released this year, has 10. The rising growth in sensors will create troves of data that can be used to help researchers find patterns and solve previously unsolvable problems, Meeker says. (See slide 67)

China’s Mobile Momentum: China is now the most mobile nation in the world — 80% of China’s total Internet users are mobile users (see slide 129).

Millennials Changing TV: Millennials are abandoning Live TV for online video. Consumption of DVR’d and on-demand is on par with non-millennials, but it’s triple for online — and that is coming straight from Live TV (see slide 122). Meanwhie, apps are quickly replacing TV channels: TV is evolving from a directory of channels to a platform of TV apps, evidenced by the popularity of offerings like HBO Go and BBC’s iPlayer (see slide 106).

The Biggest “Re-imagining” Will be in Big Data. Some of the most significant changes in the technology industry over the coming years will result from more advanced mining of data (see slide 60).

The New Online Ad: Who hates ads? What is now called “The Art of the Short Form” is hugely popular online (see slide 112).

1st and 2nd Generation Americans Lead Tech Companies: 60% of tech’s top 25 companies were founded by first or second-generation Americans. In the top 10, make that 70%. Meanwhile, the number of foreign students sent home for lack of a limited-availability H-1B visa has nearly quadrupled in the past decade (see slide 149).

If you look back at Meeker’s past Internet Trends reports, many of her current findings expand a worldview that Meeker has been refining for more than a decade. Meeker first noted the rise in mobile adoption in her 2004 report, and accurately predicted that “mobile usage is and will be more than people think” in 2009.

China’s large influence on the Internet has been on her mind for the past 10 years. In 2003 she wrote a special report on the Internet in China, warning investors not to underestimate the global force China would be on businesses and consumers.

And in both 2002 (following the ‘90s tech boom) and in 2012 (amid the IPO craze) she addressed the idea of a tech bubble. Tech can be thought of in cycles, she says, which can be charted on a graph (see slide 109): Hype rises to Disappointment, which drops to Realism – and then Growth starts back up again.

(article by M.Wong)


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