Two times each year, Mary Meeker of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, the largest venture capital firm in the world, makes predictions about the present and future state of the Internet. Dubbed the “Queen of the Net” in 1998, Meeker’s insights have proved to be consistently true, with one of her most compelling predictions, which was made in 2008, being that mobile web use would become more prominent than the use of desktop computers to access the Internet by 2014. The following are some of the highlights of Meeker’s predictions for the coming year:
While mobile website technology has become a regular part of many people’s daily lives, there is still much room for growth: Although there are currently about 2.4 billion Internet users worldwide, the development of new international markets accounts for about 8 percent of the yearly growth of the Internet. In fact, since 2008, nearly 300 million new Internet users were added in China, and nearly 100 million were added in India. While only about 17 percent of all mobile web users do so through smartphones, the rate of growth in smartphone users was more than 40 percent over the past few years.
What is perhaps even more compelling is the fact that an increasing number of children between 6 and 12 years old are asking for mobile web devices as presents; nearly 50 percent asked for an iPad for Christmas. Given that this demographic will be using the Internet for years to come, it is another emerging market that will create another space in which Internet use will grow in the future.
Mobile web use is changing the way in which Internet users consume content and businesses are communicating with consumers: With people increasingly using mobile devices to access the Internet, rather than PCs, more and more websites are being designed to have interfaces that respond to touch, movement and/or voice commands, which some are touting to be a more “natural user interface.” Additionally, because people are using the mobile web devices while they are on the go, consumers are more likely to expect up-to-date content that is sharable and accessible at any time.