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Key Mobile Takeaways from Mary Meeker’s 2015 Internet Trends Report

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Mary Meeker’s 2015 Internet Trends Report was released at the tail-end of last month. The wide-ranging annual report follows the evolution of the internet, tracking everything from Snapchat and Uber to smartphone penetration and an increased consumer interest in drones. The Meeker report delves into essential tech statistics and the effect technology has on everything from generational preferences to the job market.

But what does all this mean for mobile? We’ve extracted some highlights and key takeaways from the nearly 200-slide report:

Mobile Usage is Climbing Fast…But Not as Fast

It’s no surprise that mobility is still growing strong – though not quite as fast as in previous years as some of the leading economic markets get closer to saturation.

  • There are 2.8 billion internet users (39 percent of the population) compared to 5.2 billion mobile phone users (73 percent of the population).
  • 40 percent of global mobile phone penetration is by smartphone.
  • Global mobile data traffic has increased by 69 percent. While this is slightly less growth than the 81 percent increase seen in 2013, it’s still a massive increase.
  • In the United States, users are engaged with a mobile device three hours a day, up from the less than one hour a day in 2010.
  • Smartphone subscriptions are continuing to grow, but at a slower rate. In 2014 there was a 23 percent increase in smartphone subscriptions compared to a 27 percent 2013 and 65 percent in 2012.
  • The Mobile Advertising Opportunity

    Mobile accounts for 24 percent of total media consumption time, but only 8 percent of advertising spending is allocated there. Of course, advertising doesn’t make sense for all types of apps, but it appears the space is under-utilized by advertisers, offering an opportunity to reach target audiences.

    The report also highlights mobile commerce advances made with the introduction of “Buy Buttons”, which minimize friction to purchase at the point of interest. Social media platforms such as Instagram and Pinterest are working to incorporate the feature into their apps and Google has brought “Buy Buttons” in mobile search results.

    2015 social media

    Content, Goods, & Services: The Trend to On-Demand

    The report points to a steady increase in both the user control and creation of content. Additionally, the platforms used to discover content continue to evolve (see chart below). These new on-demand methods for content access coupled with the rapid rise of business models for on-demand goods and services of all types, will continue to strengthen consumers’ expectations that they can get what they want, when they want it with minimal friction.

    Evolution of Content Discovery


    Change Fueled by Millennials

    Changes to the mobile landscape have been driven by millennials (those currently aged 15-35), and it’s likely that this cohort will continue to drive evolving expectations and norms. According to the Meeker report, 87 percent of United States millennials said “my smartphone never leaves my side,” and 80 percent said the first thing they do upon waking up in the morning is to reach for their smartphones. Millennials also happen to be the largest age bracket in the workforce this year, currently accounting for 35 percent of the labor force.

    Civilian Labor Force

    What’s more, the way millennials prefer to work is different from generations before them. They expect flexible work hours and the ability to work wherever they may be. Plus, 45 percent of millennials use a personal smartphone for work purposes and 41 percent said they would likely download an app to use for work within the next 12 months.

    The Messaging and Notification Phenomena

    Messaging apps are the most-used apps globally and see the longest session times. They have had huge success in recent years, with leaders in the space such as WeChat and WhatsApp consistently making it to the top of the app charts (and onto users’ coveted homescreens). Many users download multiple messaging apps and use them for discrete purposes, according to the Meeker report.

    Messaging Apps

    If the messaging app phenomenon continues to play out globally as it has in Asia, mobile messaging leaders may evolve into central interaction hubs for communication, services and commerce. App developers should begin considering how their offerings might interact within this type of model should it continue to gain momentum.

    Additionally, notifications – though different than messaging – are driving similar changes in user behavior patterns. As the report points out, these glanceable moments are increasingly becoming cross-device, more interactive, and more tailored to the user and their specific needs and preferences. Taken together, these two increasingly important ‘layers’ of app functionality are beginning to blur the boundaries of what we have traditionally thought of as an app and how we interact with it.

    As in years past, Meeker’s report underscores what we know: mobile is here to stay. That said, it is clear that we are still in early innings in a space with a lot of growth and change yet to come.

    To see Meeker’s full 2015 Internet Trends Report, click here.

    Did anything in the Meeker report surprise you? What were your biggest takeaways? Tell us in the comments or on Twitter @appcelerator.

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