Internet growth may be slowing but there's still a boom in apps

Business Insider has published the annual presentation on the state of the web by internet stock analyst turned investor Mary Meeker of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.

The report, now in its 23rd year, compiles and crunches data from a wide range of sources to provide insights into the biggest trends in digital.

Meeker has highlighted some key trends in the digital space. She highlights that, although the growth rate is slowing, the number of internet users is still growing. Her data shows the number of internet users growing by 7% to reach 3.6 billion. This is down from a growth rate of 12% in the previous year.

Meeker estimates that close to half the world’s population now has internet access, with the penetration reaching 49% in 2017 compared to only 24% in 2009. This level of penetration, she suggests, will make it harder for internet usage to continue to grow significantly.

One area that has continued to grow rapidly is the use of WiFi. Meeker shows that the number of WiFi networks has jumped sharply from around 50 million to around 450 million just in the past five years.

In her presentation, Meeker notes that in 2017, smartphone shipments were flat after growing 2% in the previous year. Despite this apparent slowdown, she highlights that the simplicity of use provided by smartphones and similar devices has seen rapid adoption of mobile payments. It has also led to very strong growth in messaging apps such as WhatsApp, WeChat and FaceBook Messenger.

What she describes as “Better/Faster/Cheaper” devices have also been an enabler of this increase in usage. Mobile payment take-up has been particularly strong in China where Meeker’s data shows a five-fold increase in the last five years with over 500 million users in China now.

The internet of things (IoT) will deliver even more connected devices globally and allow businesses and consumers to use data for everything from “smart homes” to more efficient production processes.

For more on the internet of things, see our BI Research The Connected World Report

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