Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers general partner Mary Meeker released her annual Internet Trends Year-End Report on Wednesday. The 117-slide report presented mobile and internet trends in 2012 and predicted areas of growth or slowdown.
A focus of the report was how the global population is spending more time accessing the web through mobile phones and less time browsing the web on PCs. Consumers spend 26% of their time on the internet (mobile and PC) and 13% of their time on mobile phones. In 2011, global consumers spent 4% of their time on mobile phones.
Mobile usage has grown even in areas faced with high skepticism such as mobile commerce. On Black Friday, November 23, in the U.S., 26% of purchases were made on mobile phones compared to 6% on Black Friday of the previous year. Looking at those numbers, it is easy to understand why companies such as Facebook are ready to pay high valuations for companies such as Waze, a mapping company that derives revenue from location-based ads.
What was surprising in Meeker’s presentation was the fact that consumer time spent accessing the web through desktop and laptop computers was decreasing, or stagnant. In the long term, that could mean a shift in opportunity for manufacturers, developers and advertisers, rather than the growth of an entire industry. In Korea, mobile search queries surpassed searches on PCs in the fourth quarter of 2012. PC queries declined slightly from the first quarter of 2011. In China, 71% of internet users accessed the web through PCs compared to 96% in 2007. Meanwhile, 75% of China’s internet users accessed the internet through a mobile phone in 2012 compared to 28% five years ago.
Meeker’s report pointed to an opportunity for mobile advertising as the number of smartphone users grows. As of now, only 3% of all advertising is spent on mobile ads, while 13% of consumers’ time is spent on mobile phones. Companies looking to fill in that gap might want to speed up their innovation. Meeker’s report also said the next phase of growth is wearable tech. By the time companies have mobile monetization and commerce figured out, wearable tech usage could be on the rise while smartphone and tablet usage decline.