Mary Meeker's 2018 Internet Trends Report

Written by Jason Anderson

Tags: Agency


If you don’t know who Mary Meeker is then rapidly read on for a summary of probably the most-awaited annual internet trend report. You can watch the full video here.

  • Last year was the first year in which overall smartphone shipments didn’t actually grow. Whilst there were individual movements that saw some suppliers and territories grow, overall, the market was static.  So, the constant growth that markets have become used to could be a thing of the past, unless some new technology or approach re-ignites a desire for annual upgrading. There’s a similar picture for general internet growth, too. With over half the world’s population now online, growth rose by 7% last year, down from 12% the year before. But there are still an awful lot of people who are excluded from the online world.
  • Those of us who are online are generally spending even more time connected. Adults in the USA spent an average of 5.9 hours per day within a digital media environment in 2017, compared to 5.6 hours the year before. And mobile actually continues to drive digital growth as 3.3 of the 2017 hours were spent on mobile devices.
  • Despite the high-profile releases of $1,000 iPhones and similarly priced Samsung devices, the global ASP is continuing to decline (even though Apple’s actually increased). Lower costs help drive smartphone adoption in less-developed markets.
  • Mobile payments are becoming easier to complete. China continues to lead the rest of the world in mobile payment adoption, with over 500 million active mobile payment users in 2017.
  • Tech-companies are becoming a larger part of USA business. They now account for around 25% of USA market capitalisation. They are also responsible for a growing share of corporate R&D and capital spending.
  • E-commerce sales growth is still accelerating. It grew 16% in the USA in 2017, up from 14% in 2016. Amazon is taking an even bigger share at 28% last year. Conversely, physical retail sales are continuing to decline, overall. 
  • Immigration remains important for USA tech companies. More than half of the most highly valued tech companies in the USA are founded by first- or second-generation immigrants. Uber, Tesla, WeWork and Wish all have first-generation founders.
  • Voice-controlled products like Amazon Echo, Google Home and HomePod are taking off. The Echo’s installed base in the U.S. grew from 20 million in the third quarter of 2017 to more than 30 million in the fourth quarter. 
  • Tech-companies are competing on more and more fronts, with side-ways movements becoming commonplace. Amazon is moving into advertising, whilst Google is moving into home ordering and delivery. 
  • Health-care is attracting more spending from individuals, meaning that consumers in this area may be more value-focused. Meeker asks: “Will market forces finally come to health care and drive prices lower for consumers?” 
  • The speed of technological uptake and its disruption is accelerating. It took over 80 years for Americans to fully adopt the dishwasher; the consumer internet became commonplace in a decade. 
  • Further disruption will affect the way that we work. A dominance of just-in-time and internet-related jobs will come to pass. 
  • Some tech companies are facing a so-called “privacy paradox.” They are caught between using data to provide better consumer experiences and violating their consumer’s privacy. Google and Apple are on opposing side of this. 
  • AI will become a bigger part of enterprise spending.
  • As a hub for internet companies, China is gaining rapidly the USA. China is now home to 9 of the world’s largest internet companies (by market cap) with the USA having 11. Five years ago, China had 2 and the USA had 9.