Mary Meeker, leading technology analyst and partner at venture firm KIeiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB), released her annual internet trends report on Wednesday. As usual, the lengthy compilation of Internet prognostications offers a comprehensive look at the current digital technology landscape and what tech trends to expect next. Here are a few highlights.
Meeker's 2018 presentation kicks off with an estimated tally of global Internet users. Two years ago, Meeker posited that there were 3 billion internet users worldwide -- or 42 percent of the world's population.
Now, more than half the world's population are Internet users, or roughly 3.6 billion.
"Internet usage growth is solid while many believe it's higher than it should be," Meeker writes in the report. "Reality is the dynamics of global innovation & competition are driving product improvements, which, in turn, are driving usage & monetization. Many usability improvements are based on data - collected during the taps / clicks / movements of mobile device users. This creates a privacy paradox.."
MOBILE SHIPMENTS NOT GROWING
2017 was the first year in which global smartphone shipments did not grow, Meeker notes. Meanwhile, the global average selling price of smartphones continues to decline, helping to drive adoption in less-developed markets.
Easy-to-use mobile products are also becoming pervasive. Mobile video usage is climbing, while China in 2017 had more than 500 million active mobile payment users.
AMAZON EATS THE WORLD
Amazon's e-commerce marketshare has expanded from 20 to 28 percent over the last five years. Additionally, Meeker posits that 49 percent of users begin products searches at Amazon, compared to 36 through traditional search engines.
Meanwhile, the installed base for the Amazon Echo grew from 20 million in the third quarter to 30 million in Q4.
AI A GROWING ENTERPRISE PRIORITY
As internet leaders like Amazon and Google enable easier data processing and collection, AI service platforms will become increasingly relevant in business. AI is a small but rapidly rising spending priority for the enterprise, Meeker notes.
TECH SECTOR GROWTH
Meeker estimates that technology companies made up 25 percent of US market capitalization as of April 2018, compared to 33 percent at the peak of the dotcom boom. Meantime, six technology companies -- Amazon, Alphabet, Facebook, Intel, Apple, and Microsoft -- were among the top 15 highest spenders for R&D and capex.
China currently houses nine of the world's 20 largest internet companies by market cap, while the US is home to 11.