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The State of the Internet: Mary Meeker at 2019 Code Conference

Mary Meeker, widely considered to be the "Queen of the Internet," released her latest 2019 Internet Trends report at the Vox/Recode's Code Conference.  The Internet Trends Report is an annual overview of every significant internet trend in the past year and what those trends mean in the next.  Meeker is a former Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers partner and is currently a general partner at the venture capital firm Bond Capital.  She's been compiling the list since 1995.


Mary Meeker delivered a rapid-fire review at the 2019 Code Conference of her latest Internet Trends Report, widely considered to be one of the most influential and comprehensive reports on Internet trends. 

The report covers 11 broad areas from ecommerce to education, data growth to usage, work to immigration, and China. 

The report's foreword includes the following statement:

Quote

Core constituents of consumers / businesses / regulators are increasingly drinking from a data firehose & management challenges continue to rise for all parties. Broad awareness of challenges can be the first step in driving change.

This is an especially appropriate message for Invision Community admins and managers, who must not only ingest the data firehose but turn it into actionable feedback.  This report is presented to Invision Community clients as a way of understanding the broader trends that shape and influence the digital world around us, and to hopefully spur thoughtful conversation on how to thrive as an online community through 2019 and beyond.  

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Here are highlights from the report, especially selected for clients of Invision Community.

  • More International - Global internet penetration surpassed 51% in 2018, which means more than half of the world's population are Internet users.  Certain regions have very different growth patterns.  Asia Pacific already contains more Internet users than the rest of the world combined, yet less than half of its users are on the Internet.  In contrast, North America is virtually saturated.  Growth of new users is getting harder, except for China, India, and Indonesia which show the most promise of new users.  

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  • More Ecommerce - Ecommerce is a rapidly rising a major portion of retail sales.  Ecommerce growth is a strong 12% year over year.  Physical retail growth is 2% year over year. 

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  • More Online Advertising on Mobile - Internet advertising is continuing to increase overall at 22% year over year, with all of the new growth dedicated to mobile advertising spending.  Spending on desktop advertising is flatlining.  

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  • More Hours Online - Online media usage increased by 7% year over year in the USA, with all of the growth on mobile.  Desktop usage flatlined in 2013 and even decreased in the past three years.  Out of online time, Facebook, Youtube, WhatsApp, and WeChat dominate the global time spent online.  Mobile use also surpassed time spent on TV for the first time in 2018.   

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  • More Short-form Video - Short videos like Instagram Stories, Facebook Stories, and WhatsApp Status are one of the newest trends to explosively grow in the past 3 years.

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  • More Opportunity for the Underserved - Square is a popular credit card processor and merchant services provider.  The fastest area of growth comes from new users in the lowest-income metropolitans in the USA versus the highest-income metropolitan areas in the USA, with 58% of its businesses from females and 35% from minority-owned businesses.

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  • More Images - For two decades, users on the Internet have been dramatically ramping up image creation and image sharing.  Image sharing has also evolved, with leading platforms like Instagram adding new features like video stories and collaborative story-telling.

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  • More Interactive Gaming - Interactive gaming continues to be a dominant Internet trend with 2.4 Billion users, an increase of 6% year over year.  Interactive gaming is social in nearly all ways, with real-time play + talk, shared environments, collective goals, and in-game social networks.  One of the leading gaming-related platforms is Discord.  

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  • More Digital Payments - Digital payments continue to be more efficient, now driving 59% of all global payments.  

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  • More Data Personalization - The amount of data being collected has exploded in the past decade.  Successful companies now deploy data as a core part of their workflow to improve customer satisfaction. Retail customers like sharing data if it gives them a better experience. 

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  • More Negativity and Polarization - With more people than ever coming online, there continues to be usage concern over problematic content and activity. We will continue to see a world that gets more polarized and divisive due to less filtering, more amplification of extreme content, more vivid live images and videos.

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  • More Internet Censorship - The early days of a free Internet are over.  We are living in a 'splinternet,' where your online experiences are increasingly determined by local regulation.  Truly free Internet decreased with governments increasing surveillance and censorship.

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  • More Trust in an Open Internet - On the other hand, an open Internet and online consumer reviews boost multi-sided accountability that ensure safety of products and services, make companies accountable to consumers, and make consumers feel confident on their purchases.  On AirBNB, a popular online booking platform for short-term rentals, 70% of guests leave a review.  The reviews are fundamental to building trust on AirBNB.  

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  • More China Internet - China continues to be the world's success story, with global growth that underscore its superpower status.  It is a rapidly rising country with room to grow for most macroeconomic and technical trends including urbanization, disposable income per capita, share of world exports, mobile internet users, and cellular internet growth.  Some of the notable Chinese apps include WeChat, Meituan, and Alipay.  

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CONCLUSION

Online communities have been a part of the online experience from the beginning through email listservs, chat rooms, bulletin boards, Usenet groups, multiplayer dungeons, and more.  We will always be a part of humanity's need to connect, to share, and to relate with similar people but our methods and technology will evolve.  The world is more mobile, more pictures and videos, more international, more polarized and open to abuse, and also more connected than ever before.  As more people come online, as more methods to communicate flourish, as the technology and infrastructure around the Internet continue to mature,  I hope you find inspiration in the 2019 Internet Trends Report to grasp upon these macro trends and find new opportunities to connect and serve your communities better.  

 

Download the full deck here: https://www.vox.com/recode/2019/6/11/18651010/mary-meeker-internet-trends-report-slides-2019


Comments

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Mobile continues to grow and desktop continues to shrink. As an admin, more focus on mobile; how your site renders and how easy it is to use on mobile screens is crucial. I've started to shift to using my mobile phone with my sites so I can see how easy or hard it is to interact and there's definitely opportunity to improve. Imagine if there was no facebook or other platform taking up users "online time", there's only so much of that time in the overall pie. It's still affecting forums, no matter how you look at it.

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16 minutes ago, AlexWebsites said:

Mobile continues to grow and desktop continues to shrink. As an admin, more focus on mobile; how your site renders and how easy it is to use on mobile screens is crucial. I've started to shift to using my mobile phone with my sites so I can see how easy or hard it is to interact and there's definitely opportunity to improve. Imagine if there was no facebook or other platform taking up users "online time", there's only so much of that time in the overall pie. It's still affecting forums, no matter how you look at it.

100% agree.  

The story of mobile is the biggest story of the Internet right now.  It is the overwhelming trend for everything.  

I don't think ALL communities need to focus on mobile though.  If you have a highly technical community, you're probably okay sticking with desktop (based on your device usage, which you can see in your analytics).  

But if your community is more social, more casual, or more lifestyle-focused, then designing for mobile should be your first priority.  

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On 6/19/2019 at 4:41 PM, AlexWebsites said:

Imagine if there was no facebook or other platform taking up users "online time", there's only so much of that time in the overall pie. It's still affecting forums, no matter how you look at it.

Forums alone are dead tbh and no matter how hard CPR you try to give a dead, it just wont work.

All forum based communities need to add more social oriented "boosters" (modules/app) to stay alive. People like to engage online as that's why they are glued to mindless feeds, so if you can offer them more useful experience they will come to you. It's a matter of increasing 1-2 min use of forum to 60 minute use as a social community of your niche. 

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