Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers analyst Mary Meeker has presented her annual internet trends report, this year using an impressive 294 slides.
During her presentation at the Code Conference in California last week, Meeker predominantly looked at internet trends, online shopping and data.
Beginning with internet usage Meeker gave audiences a glimpse into global internet users, which had a 7 per cent growth in 2017, down from 2016’s 12 per cent.
Meaning half of the world’s population is now online.
While the growth is slowing, Meeker argues this is easily explainable.
“When you get to a market, 50 per cent penetration, new growth becomes harder to find,” she said.
Despite this, internet usage is growing, and as people use the internet more, there is more room for innovation and competition, as well as a lot of product improvements, according to Meeker.
Internet usage is up 4 per cent, with adults spending 5.9 hours per day online.
Interestingly, 2017 was the first year in history where the smartphone unit shipments plateaued.
As well as this, thanks to a market saturation, the average price of a smartphone is decreasing worldwide, despite the hyped release of the new iPhone and Samsung Galaxies.
Though, that’s not to say people are becoming less interested in using their phones, as Meeker found mobile payments are becoming increasingly easier to use.
In China, there were more than 500 million “active mobile payments users” in 2017.
Speaking of tech, Meeker acknowledged the unprecedented rise of home voice devices, specifically Amazon’s Echo.
The Echo device rose in popularity from 20 million users in the third quarter of 2017 to a whopping 30 million in the fourth.
The Privacy Paradox
It would be difficult to speak about the state of the internet without touching on the recent data scandal which Facebook has been embroiled in.
Touching on it, Meeker said, “Internet usage growth is solid while many believe it’s higher than it should be.
“Reality is the dynamics of global innovation and competition are driving product improvements, which, in turn, are driving usage and monetisation.
“Many usability improvements are based on data – collected during the taps/clicks/movements of mobile device users.
“This creates a privacy paradox.”
Essentially, companies are between a rock and a hard place when it comes to data. They are both purposely collecting data to heighten customer experience, and simultaneously violating consumer privacy.
Despite this, e-commerce sales growth is accelerating and tech giants like Google are expanding from an ads platform to a commerce platform via Google Home Ordering.
As well as this, Amazon is making a clear move into advertising.
On jobs, Meeker said regardless of the hype around automation, the fear of robots flooding into industries and replacing humans is nothing new, and the reality is there’s likely nothing to worry about.
“Work is changing rapidly, though tech disruption is not new.
“New technologies, the fear of robots taking over jobs is nothing new, fears have ebbed and flowed over time.
“Will tech impact jobs differently this time, we’re not sure, but the job market is solid.
“Freelance work is growing three times faster than the growth of the normal workforce.”
Overall, Meeker encouraged the audience to be excited about the future, though touted the importance of keeping the internet in check as it continues developing.
“We’re living in a period of unprecedented change, and unprecedented opportunity, and an unprecedented need for responsibility.”