By David Meyer
May 31, 2018

The smartphone business is not growing anymore, according to this year’s installment of Mary Meeker’s much-lauded annual tech industry report.

The Kleiner Perkins partner gave her latest presentation Wednesday at the Code 2018 Conference. The findings of Meeker and her team pointed to a general trend of slowing growth in the Internet.

Shipments of new smartphones showed zero year-on-year growth in 2017, she said. With more than half the people in the world now using the Internet, growth in user numbers has dropped from 12% to 7%. Meeker said internet usage was still growing solidly—4% year-on-year—but the industry still faces a challenge.

“The reality of all for the business people in the room, when you get to a market, when you get to 50% penetration, new growth becomes a lot harder to find,” the venture capitalist told the conference.

Another interesting aspect of Meeker’s presentation was the fact that simple-to-use apps are taking over, whether that’s in messaging, commerce or media. This focus on user experience is having an effect—”With payments friction is declining, products like messengers and also, mobile payments are rising dramatically and digital currencies are emerging,” she said.

Meeker said data-driven personalization was key to improving these user experiences, but there is of course a downside on the privacy front.

“Internet companies are making low price services better in part from user data. Internet users are increasing their time on internet services based on perceived value. Regulators want to ensure data is not used improperly and not all regulators think about this in the same way,” she said, nodding to Europe’s new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR.)

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