The global state of the mobile industry


Mary Meeker, formerly of Morgan Stanley and now of venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers, continues to do her annual presentation at Web 2.0 Summit, providing an unparalleled compilation of research about the global internet industry.

There is a lot to digest in the 65 slides of the presentation, so I thought it was worth pulling out some of the more interesting ones on mobile. Below is the full presentation, plus six charts giving insights into the state of the global mobile industry.

KPCB Internet Trends (2011)
Here are the 7 selected charts with brief commentary:

This chart provides an update of data I shared last November on global mobile internet growth, showing 35% growth over the last year, with much of that coming from emerging markets, notably China and Brazil. The US is now at 56% mobile internet penetration, still well behind not just Japan and Korea but also Australia, and on a par with the best in Western Europe.

Ten years later we can see the extraordinary success of the iPod, though it was also evident earlier in its life. What is more startling is how much not just the iPhone but even more the iPad have transcended that early strong growth. Of course it was the iPhone 3G which really changed the rules and drove the iPhone’s current success, but given the price of the iPad, its swift growth is proof that its launch was a real landmark in consumer technology.

Our shift to mobile use of the internet is illustrated by how fast our use of social networks has gone mobile. With social networking a dominant use of the internet globally, this shows quite dramatically the move away from desktop for internet access.

A growth rate of 153% is pretty good for any industry. It’s a good place to be. App revenue dominates, however that may shift over time as mobile web grows, and advertisers acknowledge and respond to consumers’ shift to mobile for much of their internet access, particularly related to purchasing decisions.

While the attention/ advertising gap has shrunken to more realistic levels for the internet, the mobile attention/ advertising gap is massive, suggesting mobile advertising has enormous scope to grow.

The growth of mobile payments is phenomenal, with a diverse industry that is a long, long way from stablizing. This points to mobile commerce as a real phenomenon, as well as payments by mobile, though that again will take many years to evolve into a mature industry.

I find this particularly interesting. The US mobile industry has been behind in many ways over the last two decades, from its extremely slow uptake of text messaging through to only moderately high uptake of mobile internet. What this chart shows is that on one aspect of the mobile industry – mobile OS – US has come from being a marginal player at best, to the dominant player with the fastest growing platforms. This is an important landmark for US innovation.