Meeker: Mobile is King of Internet Access and Content

Mary Meeker of KPCB puts out an Internet Trends report every year that is chocked full of interesting data on Internet, social, mobile and e-commerce trends.  In this year’s report at the Code conference in Southern California last week, Ms. Meeker said that while growth in overall Internet usage was slowing (especially in developed countries), it has increased rapidly for mobile.
Meeker said that:
  • Mobile data consumption is up 81 percent due to many more people using tablets and smartphones, especially to watch video. See graph below.
  • Mobile access now accounts for 25 percent of global web usage, up from 14 percent a year ago.  Mobile internet traffic is growing at a rate of 1.5 times that of conventional broadband.
  • Meeker sees it growing at an annual rate of 81 percent, with mobile video largely driving that growth.
  • Global mobile internet usage leaped from 14 percent to 25 percent between May 2013 and May 2014.
  • In North America, it jumped from 11 percent to 19 percent and in Europe it increased from 8 percent to 16 percent.
Mobile-Growth
Image courtesy of KPCB

Comment: This author finds it remarkable that “We now spend more time on mobile than on print and radio combined.”

In 2013, people spent 20 percent of their time on mobile devices, yet only 5 percent of the ad spending was allocated to mobile Internet access.   One would expect the latter to increase substantially in the years ahead. Meeker estimates there’s $30-billion per year to be made in mobile ads.  Therefore, advertisers, marketers, and media companies will try to get a good chunk of that ad revenue.

Meeker lists community, content, and commerce as the “Internet Trifecta.” With the ever expanding number of consumers online, there is a natural desire to connect with others through content. Marketers who provide context to the content they are creating and sharing are the ones who are able to increase connectivity within their communities of interest and grow stronger, which leads to brand loyalty.

Meeker said that there’s now clear evidence that people want to share information more privately. Mobile messaging services like WhatsApp (bought by Facebook for $19B), Tencent (QQ Instant Messenger in China) and Line (a South Korean-Japanese proprietary application for instant messaging) are growing at exponential rates — a trend that companies like Facebook and other social networking companies have noticed.

People were said to be “media junkies,” sharing articles via social media and tapping into streaming services. Apps are replacing linear TV channels as the way to consume video, with Americans aged 16 to 34 watching just 41 percent of their TV live, she said.

Google’s YouTube is also booming with consumers. “They are increasingly loving short-form video,” she said. “Consumers even love ads.” Indeed, 22 percent of video watching globally is done on mobile devices. On-demand mobile video apps, such as WatchESPN, BBC iPlayer, and HBO Go are all gaining popularity with mobile users. She says that 40 percent of Internet TV watchers are already using mobile devices (This author finds that to be incredible as most people we know do not watch Internet TV on their mobile devices except for video clips).

Meeker observed that 84 percent of mobile owners use devices while watching TV. They use them, in order of popularity for Web surfing, shopping, checking sports scores, looking up information about what they’re watching, and talking to friends/family or tweeting about the program. (That is something I certainly relate to as I do it all the time).

The country to watch is China, according to Meeker.  China has more Internet users than any other country by far – about 618 million Internet users last year. Approximately 80 percent of those only access the Internet via mobile devices. Four of the world’s 10 largest Internet companies are Chinese, up from one a year ago. [This author thinks they are Tencent, Baidu, Rakuten, and Alibaba].

In conclusion, the mobile Internet will continue to experience solid growth.  Therefore, it is imperative for Internet and e-commerce companies to develop content that resonates well with mobile audiences.


References:

1] Meeker’s Slide deck:

http://www.slideshare.net/kleinerperkins/internet-trends-2014-05-28-14-pdf

2] On-line Articles:

http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/05/28/state-of-the-internet-still-growing-but-more-mobile-than-ever/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=0

http://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/internet-trends-report-2014-mary-meeker

4 thoughts on “Meeker: Mobile is King of Internet Access and Content

  1. Alan, thanks for reporting on her report. Fascinating stats and definitely the trend of more watching via mobile. I am still of the watch TV crowd, but I definitely see the younger people in my household watching on the iPod (yes, the smaller screen) and PC; YouTube being probably the number one viewed, followed closely by Twitch.TV (another Google property).

    Interestingly, I heard a funny anecdote at the BroadbandTV Conference the other day. The story was told of a young twenty-something lady whose parents bought her a TV. She wasn’t going to use, but not for the reason of not being connected to cable. She was used to watching on her tablet and didn’t see a need for the big screen.

    1. Thanks Ken. I was in the same BroadbandTV conference session where the speaker said the young lady (think a teenager-not a 20 something) thought that the only way to watch TV was via a tablet.

      At that same conference, Vubiquity released results of a study of 1600 people to ascertain their video watching habits. The conventional TV dominated by far with 83% of respondents saying they watch TV at least every week and nearly half watching TV daily. Another speaker said that 90% of all video is watched on conventional TVs- not game players or mobile devices/PCs.

      In contrast, 33% watched video on a smart phone at least once per week with only 11% watching daily on that device. Tablets were used a bit more for video consumption, but not much.

      I assume the results would be quite different if the survey was taken in China.

  2. Excuse me, Rakuten is a Japanese company. The forth Chinese company in the text might be “sohu” which is kind of a chinese-version-youtube.

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