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The annual Digital trends update from Mary Meeker is out

Mary Meeker's annual Internet Trends report came out last week. Since its inaugral release over 20 years ago, Meeker's view has become the industry's State of the Union. It's a Global view (with a bit of a US bias), incredibly in-depth and as such, very long. But here's the TL;DR version:

Digital usage and media trends

  • Smartphone ownership is still growing, but slowing. 
  • Digital ad spend growth is primarily driven by mobile, and more so by Google and Facebook (quel surprise)
  • Mobile spend still doesn't tally with the amount of time spent with the medium (ad spend is about 7 percentage points behind time spent in the US, roughly $16B)
  • There is a huge disconnect between what marketers use to measure digital versus what they actually want to measure, particularly in Social. 
  • People don't mind incentivised mobile ads. They do not like interstitials (a pop-up by any other name...)

Technology developments and their impact

  • We're increasingly going to see searches be less text-based and more visual and voice-based
    • See: Amazon, Pinterest, Google all ramping up their efforts in these spaces
  • The journey between ad and transaction is shortening in digital as consumers want things with more and more immediacy. Some Digital ads will give you the opportunity to book, buy, sign-up without ever leaving the format. 
  • E-commerce is so much of thing that apartment buildings are now being built with bigger post rooms to accomodate all your deliveries. 
  • More real-world shops are estimated to close this year in the USA than ever before, so why are Amazon investing in real-world shops? It's not that retail is dead, just that "mediocre retail experiences are dead".


  • A huge section on how gaming (both casual and otherwise) helps learn and develop in areas such as solving puzzles, planning workflows, exploring, collaborating and many more.  
  • And how gaming has shaped the world we live in now. Would we have had Superhosts on Airbnb were it not for Space Invaders?
  • Basically gaming has influenced and will influence everything.
    • "If you want to see what business leadership may look like in three to five years, look at what’s happening in online games."

Digital Services

  • Those leading the Digital services sector are doing so because they provide better user experiences at lower prices... obviously. By that we mean they are good at both data and scale (personalisation, recommendation and discovery are all important). The number of unique artists people listen to on Spotify has increased year on year, due to the recommendation engine. 
  • Almost all traditional TV networks have seen a decline in time spent over the last 5 years. Netflix has grown 669% in the same period. 
  • The rise in cloud-based infrastructure has meant smarter, more user-friendly ways of working... but more vulnerability to cyber-attacks - network breaches caused by spam / phishing scams have gone up 350%. So don't click on anything dodgy.


And much more. For the full report, click here