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Digital markets mature

News, 29 May 2015

RANCHO PALOS VERDES, CA: Annual growth in the number of internet users and smartphone owners is slowing and the digital focus is rapidly shifting to mobile and video according to the latest Internet Trends report from Mary Meeker.

Now a partner at venture capitalist firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Meeker delivered her 2015 report at the Code Conference, organised by tech news site Re/code, where she described internet user growth as "solid but slowing" – at 8% in 2014, compared to 10% in 2013 and 11% in 2012.

The performance of smartphones was "strong but slowing", as the 65% rate seen in 2012 fell to 27% in 2013 and 23% in 2014.

The fastest growth in new smartphone subscriptions was in Asia, especially in India (+55%) and China (+21%), while Brazil (+28%) also saw a significant increase, as people began to upgrade from feature phones.

Meeker also observed global data traffic continuing to shift decisively towards mobile and video.

Internet video accounted for 64% of all consumer internet traffic in 2014, up from 62% in 2013 and 57% in 2012. And mobile video accounted for 55% of all mobile data traffic, up from 52% in 2013 and 50% in 2012.

In this context, the Washington Post said that the internet is essentially going to become "a big video pipe", as it reported predictions from IT firm Cisco that in the next five years online video will make up 80% of all internet traffic globally, and 85% in the US.


Currently the average American adult spends 5.6 hours a day on the internet, according to Meeker, with just over half that on mobile.

This "will have profound impact on what we consume", noted TechCrunch, as people move away from fewer longer online sessions to multiple short sessions: "Bite-sized content and experiences are becoming favourable".

The oft-observed gap remains between where consumer spend their time and where advertisers spend their money, with print overindexed and mobile underindexed. 


Meeker quantified this opportunity at $25bn in the US alone, indicating huge potential for businesses that can successfully take advantage.

Data sourced from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, TechCrunch, Washington Post; additional content by Warc staff