There are 3.8 billion internet users in the world right now, 53 percent of which come from Asia-Pacific. China and India are leading the charge, says Mary Meeker's annual report.Sohini Mitter
Over half of the world's population has access to the internet now, with a majority of users (about 53 percent) coming from the Asia-Pacific region, revealed Mary Meeker's Internet Trends Report 2019.
The report brought out by Meeker, Founder of Bond Capital and former Kleiner Perkins general partner, is one of the most anticipated decks in Silicon Valley.
In the initial years of the report, Meeker put a special lens on India, but slides specific to the country have gone missing since 2018.
However, Meeker indicates that India now accounts for 12 percent of the world's internet users, second only to China (21 percent). USA is third at eight percent). Overall, there are 3.8 billion internet users in the world.
India's internet growth has largely been driven by telecom operator Reliance Jio, which Meeker pointed out, had grown 2X in a year reaching 307 million subscribers.
Globally, however, there was a 4 percent decline in smartphone shipments, which, in turn, slowed down new internet user growth. "When markets reach mainstream, new growth is harder to find as evinced by declining new smartphone shipments in 2018,” Meeker stated.
With technology embracing nearly every aspect of our lives, it is no surprise that seven of the 10 most valuable (by market cap) businesses in the world are tech companies. Microsoft leads with a $1 trillion valuation, followed by Amazon ($888 billion), Apple ($875 billion), Alphabet ($741 billion), Berkshire Hathaway ($505 billion), and Facebook ($495 billion).
Alibaba and Tencent are the only non-US companies in the top ten with valuations of $402 billion and $398 billion respectively.
Of the top 25 most valuable tech companies, 60 percent were started by first- or second-generation immigrants. These corporations employed nearly 1.9 million people last year.
The report further revealed that ecommerce occupies 15 percent of global retail sales at present. Sales from online channels went up 12.4 percent last year, compared to offline retail sales that grew a mere 2 percent.
In terms of social media consumption, users are spending maximum hours on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, WhatsApp, and WeChat. Of this, YouTube and Instagram "gained the most".
Pictures and videos are now the default mode of communication. Short-form video stories on the "Facebook platform" (Facebook Stories, Instagram Stories and WhatsApp Status) now have 1.5 billion daily active users globally. Even on Twitter, more than 50 percent of impressions generated involve posts with images, videos, GIFs, etc. Earlier, Twitter was primarily a text-only platform earlier.
Not just videos, but voice is growing too. Over 70 million users in the US now listen to podcasts every month. Nearly 47 million have installed Amazon Echo devices, which is a 2x growth in one year.
Besides social media, online gaming continued to woo audiences. There are about 2.4 billion interactive game players in the world right now. That is an increase of six percent in a year. Fortnite alone counts 250 million users.
Despite all the large-scale growth the internet is witnessing worldwide, Meeker warned that it will get tougher in the years to come. Removing offensive and violent content from platforms would be a continuous challenge. Also, social media would lead to increased political polarisation and divisiveness.