2018 Internet Trends Report Released

Legendary venture capitalist Mary Meeker has just released her Internet Trends 2018 report. The report, released annually, is highly valued by tech industry professionals and investors for its deep insight into the status of the Internet at the moment and where it may be headed. Meeker presented the report in a series of 294 slides accompanied by a fast-paced narration.

The report documents developments this past year that will influence trends in accessibility and communications technology development.

Below are a few of the key points in her presentation.

World Internet adoption continues to grow: As of 2018, half the world population, or about 3.6 billion people, will be on the internet. That’s thanks in large part to cheaper Android phones and Wifi becoming more available, although individual services will have a tougher time adding new users as the web nears saturation.

Mobile usage grows, although Sales are flat: While smartphone shipments are flat and internet user growth is slowing, U.S. adults are spending more time online than ever before thanks to mobile devices, clocking 5.9 hours per day in 2017 versus 5.6 hours in 2016.

Voice tech usage takes off: Voice technology is at an inflection point due to speech recognition hitting 95% accuracy and the sales explosion for Amazon Echo, which went from over 10 million to over 30 million sold in total by the end of 2017.

The Privacy Paradox: Tech companies are caught in what Meeker calls a “privacy paradox” today. Tech companies want to use customer data to improve customer satisfaction, drive user engagement and improve the predictability of many services… but face a potential backlash from consumers who are growing more concerned about their privacy.  Over the past 12 months, 64 percent of consumers responding to a survey said they’ve deleted or avoided certain apps due to data privacy concerns while 47 percent admitted to adjusting mobile privacy settings and 28 percent said they’ve disabled cookies. Furthermore, 27 percent of respondents said they don’t visit or close certain websites and 26 percent now closely read privacy agreements.  China has a significant advantage over the US and Europe in this arena, as users there are much more willing to trade their personal data in exchange for product benefits.

Major tech companies dominate investment in R&D: We’re at an all-time high for public and private investment in technology, and the top six public R&D + capital expense spenders are all technology companies.

Flexible Work Needs = Freelance Market Growing:  An increasing number of eligible workers are choosing the flexibility they can gain by choosing short-term contract or freelance work over more traditional work options. Technology is making freelancing work easier to find, and freelance opportunities continue to boom, with the rate of contract workers growing coming in at three times the rate of total workforce growth. The on-demand workforce grew 23 percent in 2017.

Link to 2018 Internet Trends Report Slide Presentation: http://www.kpcb.com/internet-trends

Link to Mary Meeker video Presentation  & full transcript: https://www.recode.net/2018/5/30/17411618/full-video-transcript-kleiner-perkins-mary-meeker-trends-presentation-slide-deck-code-2018