Mary Meeker has put out her deck of slides containing predictions of Internet trends for 2016. Her predictions are eagerly awaited by tech industry, digital marketers and businesses related with internet. She has a keen insight on the digital world. What is she talking about this year? Let’s find out.
#1 Global internet penetration growth flat at 9%. India grew by 40%.
Global internet user growth has stagnated. It only grew at the rate of 9% in 2015. We are all on the internet. India is the only country which had new internet users joining the internet in big numbers. China and India, both of these countries have more internet users than US, which is now at the third place. Growth opportunities exist in the developing nations and it is easier to reach their masses which are now connected.
#2 Android smartphone’s share grew but average selling price of smartphone continues to drop.
In 2009 iOS smartphones had 14% of market share which increased to 16% by 2015. Android smartphones had 4% share in 2009 which increased in a big way to 81% in 2015. Android gained market share but its average selling price keeps shrinking year-on-year basis. According to Meeker’s prediction Apple’s shipment of smartphones will see a drop of about 11% in 2016 while Android smartphones will gain 7% of the marketshare.
#3 Google and Facebook – consolidating their positions
Online ad space has these two giants Google and Facebook battling it out. Both of them have consolidated their positions. Google dominates the markets and recorded 18% year-on-year growth. It earned about $30 billion from PPC ads. Facebook on the other hand earned ad revenue worth $8 billion but managed a very impressive year-on-year growth rate of over 59%. Together they have cornered 76% of overall online advertising growth. The year ahead will see both of them strategising to deliver targeted ads to earn maximum online ad dollars possible.
#4 Messaging Apps will grow and grow
Messaging apps have seen impressive growth rate in past couple of years and some of them have more users than the biggest social networking app. WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and WeChat are seeing better growth rates than social network like twitter. Messaging platforms are evolving and each one has the potential to develop its own sustainable ecosystem. In Asia, messaging apps like Line and Kakao Talk are proving to be very handy for their users. Users can chat, buy products, call taxis, play games, order food – all from one messaging app. App-scape is changing. Messaging apps are adding more and more functionalities. Facebook Messenger bots enable you to order pizza, buy shoes and more. It could soon be the biggest customer service platform. Apple’s iMessage has opened up for third party developers. Sign of times to come.
#5 Messaging has evolved from social conversations to business related conversations.
Messaging apps are getting bigger and bigger. They are adding more functionalities. They are now more than apps for social conversation. Today a consumer wants to interact with a brand the same way he interacts with his friends – directly in real-time. He expects to be attended to almost instantly. Messaging apps enable brands and businesses to interact with their users in real-time. They are therefore getting more and more popular and are growing by leaps and bounds. Chat bots powered by AI are making their presence felt and they will facilitate the growth of the messaging apps further. Messaging apps are now new customer service channels for businesses. Early adopters are reaping big benefits.
#6 Preferred Contact Channels
This slide of Meeker summarises the demographic disparity of generations and their preferred contact channel. Generation Y (Born 1981-1999) prefers to be contacted by chat or through social media. They do not like to be contacted on phone. They are more used to communicating through texts. For them calling a person is a lot more work than texting him. Texting provides them the convenience of time. They don’t have to attend to the texts immediately whereas the calls demand urgent and focused attention. The generations that were born before 1981 however prefer to be contacted by phone. The silent generation and baby boomers prefer phones. Businesses need to understand the preferences and devise their communication strategies accordingly.
#7 Voice Search rising exponentially
There is a growing percentage of smartphone users who now use voice assistant routinely. Google voice was launched in year 2008 and today it has grown nearly 35 times. The trend is global. According to Andrew Ng, Chief Scientist at Chinese Search engine Baidu, by 2020, 50% of all searches will be made either by images or speech. People use voice searches when their hands or vision is occupied. Typing takes time and input by voice commands is faster. “No one wants to wait 10 seconds for a response,” adds Andrew Ng. Meeker suggests that voice search technology is getting better and better. There is more awareness about products like Amazon Echo which is seeing higher sales in 2016 and this could be its year.
#8 Rising Data Privacy Concerns
A lot of data is being generated at different ends and the users are very much concerned about the security of their data. Privacy concerns are growing and there is a big and growing number of customers who are wary of companies which store their data. They are not sure how the collected data would be used by the companies. There is no quick and easy solution to the problem of data leakage and data theft. Users are in a defensive mode. About 74% of users say that they have been watchful of their online activities and have limited their online activities due to security concerns. Gaining the trust of users will remain one of the big tasks in future too.
These are some of the important trends Meeker spotted. Digital marketers and app publishers can go through the data and insights and leverage them. You can go through her complete presentation here. Let me know what else you find interesting in Mary Meeker’s presentation in the comments below. Until next time – Adios.