Mobile Hub – The internet trends 2013 report

Mobile Hub – The internet trends 2013 report
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Thud. The Internet Trends 2013 Report – KPCB & Mary Meeker.

In just a short few years it’s become something of a phenomenon, it’s hotly anticipated, and when it touches down, some folk go AWOL for a few days.  The KPCB Internet Trends Report 2013 by the ex Morgan Stanley and renowned digital guru Mary Meeker with, this year her colleague, Liang Wu, does not disappoint. Download it at kpcb.com/insights/2013-internet-trends. Key trends both seismic and merely notable are once again put into stark relief, and somehow even after over 100 charts packed full of info, there’s never enough. 

Take an aggregate view of the data to hand, and a clear outtake is the mainstreaming of Mobile. 

It’s the combination of the sheer volume of digital content created, the explosion of sharing content, and it’s ubiquitous distribution through handheld devices that makes a clear case that mobile has become the unifying screen.  Smartphone’s are reported to be owned by over 1.5 billion users globally, with huge momentum overall at +31% yoy growth. 

The ongoing take-up in emerging markets especially China, Taiwan, Indonesia, and Philippines has been rapid in the last year, and in Australia which has historically one of the highest penetration of these devices anyway, a very sizable 27% yoy lift is recorded. Internationally, the tablet base although smaller, is now growing at 3x that of smartphone’s, and has achieved in 3 years a comparable volume of shipments it’s taken PC desktop/notebooks to reach in just under 20 years. 

But going back to this dramatic sharing upswing.

In the Report there’s a interesting ranking courtesy of IPSOS, with respondents in 24 markets indicating their ease with sharing ‘everything’ or ’most things’ online.  Top 5? Well the Saudis are leaders at 60%, India 53%, Indonesia 50%, then South Korea and Turkey both about 40%. 

Our experience particularly in Indonesia shows us this culture of swapping and sharing has real impact in the area of peer-to-peer marketing over mobile. Remember ‘digital’ in Indonesia is Mobile. Across the remaining markets tested sees China at 33%, then a canter around continents sees Poland propping up European credentials, at 30%, Brazil right on the global average at 24%, after which we get to Australia at 18%, U.S. and Canada at 15%, Great Britain at 11%, and the last recorded is Japan at 4%. 

The message is clear, all that investment in marketing circles about mobility meeting branded content meeting viral’ness is well founded.

So, what else in the Report?  Well, what’s Mobile anyway? What about a pair of glasses, or a watch, or what about a car? A car is about as mobile as anything can get, is it not? The contention by KPCB is that the typical engineering and user adoption lifecycle of new technology is roughly half of a decade ago.  The conclusion to be drawn is straightforward, that ‘wearables’ will be common place before we know it.  Google Glass in it’s first iteration may well end up being a brilliant catalyst of a whole new sector, if not a mass market product itself, but it’s nonetheless is a sign of what mobile personal computing will become.

I think the gob-smacking slide adjacent, (OS shares 1975-2012), is an amazing commentary of the ‘IT&T industrial E-volution’ and what mobile has instigated before our very eyes.  It shows Microsoft Windows and Intel chips (“Wintel”), domination in personal computing, until iPhone and Android arrives.  It’s extraordinary to see.

Source: KPCB Online Trends Report 2013/Asymco.com (as of 2011), Public Filings, Morgan Stanley Research, Gartner for 2012 data.

I personally can’t help reflecting that a year seems a long time between these Reports, which I think says a lot about how little documented, public, high quality, and well resourced analysis and strategic thinking there is going around.

Talking of wearable’s.

Huawei, China’s prolific mobile conglomerate, foreshadows wearable’s as being the key battleground for hardware companies.  It spun the creds of its admittedly impressive Ascend P6 smartphone that measures a mere 6.18mm in depth, to comment that all and every manufacturer is placing huge R&D resources into the area of wearable tech.  The implication of this on marketers is obvious – know your customer, know their context.

Mobile Advertising eating into desktop ad share.

eMarketer has shared some U.S. data, (U.S digital ad spending by channel 2012-2017), around what predicts as desktop share of ad spend peaking in 2014, then thereafter conceding ground to mobile devices.  The point is that it’s not a switch that’s ‘flicked’ overnight. The reality is that desktop spend growth is slowing ahead of that change. eMarketer sees Mobile ad spend increasing to hit US$27Bn in that market by 2017.

Lastly, the Prism vs. a Collide-a-scope.

No self-centered marketer, yes, you can probably delete the words ‘self-centered’, cannot be ambivalent about the potential impact of the data privacy NSA revelations, and Edward Snowden.

There are sensitivities around consumer data and how it’s used, and rightly so. Marketers need to assume governmental oversight of business and commerce will become more enthusiastic, with the marketing world, particularly the digital world, and especially the mobile world, at the centre of a maelstrom around data privacy. 

I think a simple, maybe over-simplistic guideline around this sort of thing is, you either use data only to a level where there is zero, nada, personally identifiable information in use, or you seek full and transparent rights to use that level of data to the genuine benefit of the user. 

Whatever your politics, the business impact is clear, that tax-payers across the globe are having a sneek peek of their elected representatives surveillance techniques, and as a consequence conservative leaning legislators who would further limit adlands ability to give people commercial information that is of more relevance to them, aren’t wasting the opportunity to capitalise. This I am sure is of absolutely no interest to Edward Snowden, but it is of great interest to us. 

With big data, let’s be bold in our assertions, whilst up front about our intent. 

Graham Christie, partner, Big Mobile Group

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