Digital ReadWrite

As Internet Growth Slows, Tablets And Mobile Data Are The Industry’s Best Hope


Owen Thomas

May 29, 2014

Growth in Internet usage on the whole is slowing, technology investor and analyst Mary Meeker warned in her latest Internet Trends report, an annual exercise in looking at the state of the industry that she’s done since her days as an analyst at Morgan Stanley and has continued at Kleiner Perkins, the venture-capital firm where she’s now a partner.

While Meeker spent most of the report, which she published online and delivered at the Code Conference in Los Angeles Wednesday morning, looking at the Internet’s opportunities, the first line of the report should give people pause:

• Internet Users
<10% Y/Y growth & slowing
fastest growth in more difficult to monetize developing markets like India / Indonesia / Nigeria 

• Smartphone Subscribers 
+20% strong growth though slowing
fastest growth in underpenetrated markets like China / India / Brazil / Indonesia 

Tablets are surging, with unit shipments growing at a 52 percent annualized rate; tablets have now surpassed both desktop and laptop PCs in sales. And mobile data usage is growing even faster, at 81 percent.

Yet if overall Internet usage isn’t growing, especially in the developed markets where it’s easiest to make money off of users, that suggests that tech companies are, to a large extent, just reshuffling deck chairs, shifting share around as consumer habits change.

Or they’re looking to make more money off the users they have. Meeker pointed out that Google makes six times as much money per user as Facebook does, and twelve times as much money as Twitter.

One area where Meeker sees growth is the continuing shift of video usage from linear television to on-demand, online video.

See also: Goodbye, TV Channels—And Hello, TV Apps

Meeker’s complete report is available on Slideshare:

KPCB Internet trends 2014 from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers

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