‘Absolutely first-rate when it comes to spotting big-picture trends before they come into focus.’
That’s how Fortune’s Andy Serwer described Wall Street analyst turned venture capitalist Mary Meeker, in a profile back in 2006.
He’s (still) right. And since we’re all about spotting big trends early, Meeker is worth our attention.
Each year, she delivers her highly anticipated ‘State of the Web’ presentation — and did so at the D11 Conference.
If you missed it, or don’t have time to sit through 117 slides, I’m going to give you the ‘CliffsNotes’ version.
So here are six of the most fascinating technology statistics she shared — and their investment implications…
Technology Statistic #1: The Internet is Everywhere…or Not!
Given the ubiquity of high-speed internet access in the United States, it’s easy to assume that everyone enjoys the same convenience.
Not so much.
In 2012, the number of internet users increased by 8.8% to 2.4 billion.
With seven billion people in the world, we’re talking about a penetration rate of just 34%.
And here’s the real shock…
The country with the fastest-growing internet population is…Iran. Last year, the number of users there surged by 205%.
At the other end of the scale, India is the most under-served country, with only 11% of its population using the internet.
The takeaway: Bringing the web to those billions of people without it should provide ample growth for telecoms and wireless carriers for years.
Technology Statistic #2: It’s All About Mobile
For those of us who do have the internet, we all love it at high speed. And we want access to it on our mobile phones wherever we go.
These stats prove it…
In May 2009, mobile internet traffic only accounted for 0.9% of total internet traffic.
Today, however, it accounts for a whopping 15%. And the trend suggests that number will be close to 30% by the end of next year.
But there’s a problem…
Building the infrastructure necessary to enable more high-speed mobile internet access takes time and a ton of money.
But it’s great news for companies involved in small-cell technology. Small cells — previously known as femtocells — basically fill in the gaps in mobile coverage quickly and cheaply.
The takeaway: There’s no way for telecoms to keep up with demand for mobile broadband connectivity without small-cell technology.
And small-cap companies hold the most profit potential.
Technology Statistic #3: Get Ready for a Mobile Advertising Boom
How about this for a disconnect?
We spend 12% of our time on mobile devices…yet only 3% of total advertising spending is allocated to the medium.
So despite the almost overnight increase from zero to roughly $4 billion spent on mobile advertising, spending needs to dramatically increase even more.
The takeaway: Advertising ultimately follows eyeballs. Which is why we dubbed mobile advertising one of our Top Technology Trends for 2013.
Here’s another fascinating tidbit from the chart: The average American spends more time listening to the radio (14%) than reading a newspaper or magazine (6%). So yes…print is dead.
Technology Statistic #4: We’re All a Bunch of Co-Dependents
Let’s keep the stats rolling…
Of the top 10 internet sites in the world (as measured by unique monthly visitors), eight of them are American-owned companies.
We’re talking about the likes of Google (GOOG), Microsoft (MSFT), Facebook (FB), Yahoo (YHOO), Amazon (AMZN) and Wikipedia.
Yet 81% of the users responsible for all this traffic come from outside the United States.
The takeaway: This proves that globalisation is in full force. But we need the rest of the world just as much as they need us. At least when it comes to the internet.
Technology Statistic #5: Big Data is Really Big
The amount of digital information created and shared in the world increased nine-fold in just five years — to almost two zettabytes by the end of 2011.
But the growth isn’t over. By 2015, data creation and sharing is expected to almost quadruple.
The takeaway: The more data the world creates, the more storage we consequently need. And the more data we have stored, the more analysis we can do.
So there are two ways to profit from the growth — storage and analysis.
Technology Statistic #6: If You Die Early, it’s Your Fault
Forget being diagnosed with an incurable disease. Or being accidentally exposed to an insane amount of carcinogens. Or being genetically predisposed to an illness. Or even getting bad medical care.
If you die prematurely, it’s behavioural. In other words, it’s your fault.
The takeaway: First, don’t kill the messenger! And don’t focus too heavily on cutting-edge medical devices that promise to save the world from death. Turns out, we’re our own best defence.
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