Mary Meeker just shared her latest internet trends report, and, as ever, it’s essential reading.
Let me share some highlights which impact the future of education and technology.
1. The international big picture
- Demographics continue to demonstrate “slowing population growth… slowing birthrates + longer lifespans”.
- Economic growth is slowing. Add that to demographics and finance, and human civilization seems to be “Losing [its] Mojo” (!). This is maybe the most ambitious slide of the desk:
Given Meeker’s job and audience – working with finance – this sums up a very, very influential world view. Expect to see political points flow from this, and to have some of them enter education.
- India is now the world’s second-largest internet-connected population, behind China, and ahead of the US. I wonder how many people in American higher ed are aware of this, and how many of them are thinking strategically about what it means.
- China is continuing to carve out a different path to the digital world, and its population seems to be migrating more rapidly into that world than the US is now doing. For example,
- Internet growth is slowing. Will we see the world’s division between online and off- stablize?
2. Technology and media
Meeker offers two key points here. One is that messaging apps are growing like mad, soaking up a rising proportion of digital life. A second is that visual services (pictures and video) continue to dominate the world. Note, for example, the following chart showing visually-intensive platforms racing ahead in the social media space:
Interestingly, Flickr and Google/Picasa do not make an appearance in the slideshow. Ouch. Also missing: podcasting. And gaming.
Also interesting is that Meeker doesn’t emphasize television any longer. She was tv as huge in 2013. So is it declining, in her view?
3. Differentiating out American generations
There are a lot of cliches and generalizations here, but the tendencies are solid, as far as the research I’ve seen. Some practical applications do appear. For example,
4. Changes to the digital device ecosystem
Several key points here, including the continued human migration towards mobile devices (ah, it’s good to be right, and to have been right since 2000). There’s a fascinating difference in how China and the United States shape mobile interfaces and mobile behaviors. Check out this comparison, where the Chinese version violates all kinds of US design principles, yet succeeds:
Smartphone sales are growing more slowly than before, pointing to a plateau down the road. And who will own that mesa? Despite the strength of iOS in the United States, Android clearly dominates the world’s smartphone market:
Another key point: Meeker sees speech recognition and voice interfaces going mainstream. Good reflections here. I’d like to draw attention to these important findings about the reasons people use voice interfaces, and the locations they do so:
Walking and especially working? We’re not using voice there, generally.
Overall, this is a powerful and useful presentation.
Some notes surprised me. I’m still thinking about the car details. I’m surprised to see the gig economy missing this time, as that was a big issue for the 2015 presentation. And, as I said above, it’s weird to see gaming and podcasting left out. Above all, that mojo slide sticks with me.
What did you find in this giant slide trove?
(thanks to Steven Kaye)