If you could take a guess right now, are there more global TV users or more global mobile phone users? Mary Meeker, current partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers and legendary Morgan Stanley internet analyst, shared that information and much more during her annual State of the Internet presentation last week at the Code conference in southern California. There were many takeaways from her 164 page Slideshare deck, however the mobile realm is a topic that came up frequently. And if you were wondering, there are still more global TV users (5.5 billion) than mobile phone users (5.2 billion).
While Internet usage is slowing overall, according to Meeker, mobile growth is exponential. But mobile data consumption is up significantly at 81%, especially to watch video. Globally, mobile now accounts for 25 percent of web usage, up from 14 percent a year ago. There are plenty of opportunities within this realm – of the world’s 5.2 billion mobile users, only 30% have smartphones; this allows for plenty of growth. Specifically, certain countries are showing faster growth than others. In China, for example, ~80% of total Internet users access it from their mobile devices.
The “biggest reimagination of all” for Meeker is the “troves of findable and shareable data” that will be created by the proliferation of mobile devices and sensors into 2015. A prime example is the number of photos that are shared over the Internet. This almost quadrupled between 2012 and 2013, and she predicts that the number of photos uploaded per day in 2014 will rise from 1.2 billion to 1.6 billion.
Meeker also predicts that mobile apps will become more specialized than ever over the next year. First there were “multi-purpose web apps, then multi-purpose mobile apps” like Facebook’s original app. Now, there are single-purpose apps for the same product. To demonstrate this point, she mentioned Facebook’s main app, but also Messenger, Instagram, WhatsApp, Moves and Paper. Another similar example is LinkedIn, which now has four apps – LinkedIn for iPhone, LinkedIn for iPad, Pulse, and contents.
Dennis Crowley, CEO of Foursquare, just brought out Foursquare’s own single-purpose app, Swarm.
“What we’re starting to see is that the best apps tend to be the simplest, the easiest to use and the fastest to use,” he told the Guardian. “I think there’s a larger trend towards unbundling apps and making very easy, simple, clean and elegant single purpose use case apps, and I think that’s what we’re doing.”
Meeker’s report has focused on mobile for the last few years and it certainly is not slowing down. The Internet as a whole is growing, led by developing countries, and mobile is growing faster than ever. Mobile now accounts for 25% of Internet usage, up from 14% a year ago. This is a trend that will continue to have massive growth and we are excited to see how it grows in the future!