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Growth in usage of the Internet is starting to slow

Mary Meeker, a general partner at venture capital firm Bond Capital, is an expert on technology in general and on the Internet in particular as she serves on the boards of Plaid, Square, DocuSign, and Lending Club. Her annual report on the important trends on the Internet is a must for understanding what is happening worldwide. This information is not only important for data nerds but also important for corporate treasurers as well. Rani Molla, Data Report, Recode summarised the 333 pages. 

Here is our abstract of her report:

  • Some 51 per cent of the world — 3.8 billion people — were internet users last year, up from 49 per cent (3.6 billion) in 2017. Growth slowed to about 6 per cent in 2018 as sales of smartphones — which are the primary internet access point for many people across the globe — are declining.
  • Internet ad spending accelerated in the US, up 22 per cent in 2018. Most of the spending is still on Google and Facebook, but companies like Amazon and Twitter are getting a growing share.
  • Customer acquisition costs — the marketing spending necessary to attract each new customer — are going up,
  • Problems ahead for targeted advertising, including GDPR impact and other regulation, as well as pushes for more privacy from hardware and software companies like Apple and Facebook.
  • Americans are spending more time with digital media than ever: 6.3 hours a day in 2018, up 7 per cent from the year before. Most of that growth is coming from mobile and other connected devices, while time spent on computers declines. 
  • Images are increasingly the means by which people communicate. More than 50 per cent of Twitter impressions now involve posts with images, video or other media; Twitter used to be text-only.
  • Interactive gamers worldwide grew 6 per cent to 2.4 billion people last year. The number of people who watch those games — rather than participate — is swelling, too.
  • Privacy is becoming a bigger selling point. In Q1, 87 per cent of global web traffic was encrypted, up from 53 per cent three years ago.
  • The internet will become more of a cesspool: Some issues: 42 per cent of US teens have experienced offensive name-calling online, terrorists are being radicalized on sites like YouTube, and social media has encouraged increased political polarization.
  • Health care is steadily becoming more digitized. Expect more telemedicine and on-demand consultations.

CTMfile take: Meeker’s report shows how the corporate treasury department needs to help their company/group take advantage of the massive business opportunities on the Internet.

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