Venture capitalist and tech investing guru Mary Meeker, currently a partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, has released her highly anticipated annual report on internet trends, and anyone who is bullish on mobile computing will find plenty to be happy about. Meeker sees the potential for at least $30 billion more in online ad spending in the US alone, with plenty of room for growth worldwide.
Smartphone and tablet sales outstrip desktops, notebooks, TVs
Smartphone sales continue to grow, with 315 million units shipped during 4Q13 alone, and they now make up nearly a third of all mobile phones worldwide with no signs of slowing down. This partially shifts the way that people access information online, but it also means that people have more screen time throughout the day. In Africa and Asia, mobile internet has allowed many people to skip past desktop internet access completely for a more affordable way to get online.
Tablet sales have been erratic, but the sales growth has completely outstripped anything that desktops or notebooks were able to achieve. At the end of 2013, the number of tablets shipped is roughly the same as desktop and notebook computers combined. TV still accounts for more of people’s time than any other single type of media, but tablet sales have recently caught up with TV sales, and smartphone sales are more than three times as high.
Mobile ad revenue has plenty of room to grow: Mary Meeker
Against this backdrop of rapidly growing smartphone and tablet sales, and the transition away from traditional media towards mobile computing, online ad revenue growth has actually fallen slightly. Growth is still in the double digits, but considering the amount of time that people spend on their smartphones, mobile ad revenue could be higher than it is.
While the comparison is imperfect, one way to see how mobile ad revenue has failed to keep pace with usage is to compare it to mobile app revenue – a combination of subscriptions, in-app purchases, and upfront payments. App revenue was almost nonexistent in 2008, caught up with mobile ad revenue in 2010, and has pulled away since then. The explosion in app revenue is what you would expect, but it makes mobile ad revenue growth look tepid in comparison.
Whether it’s Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB), Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR), or someone else who figures out how to close the gap, someone stands to generate huge profits from cracking mobile advertising.
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