More than half the world population is now online


At 3.8 billion internet users, more than half the world population is now online, according to the Internet Trends Report 2019 by Mary Meeker, an influential figure in the industry known for her early bets on companies such as Dell, Microsoft, Intuit, Netscape, AOL,, Yahoo!, eBay and Google. The growth in internet users is, however, tapering — 6% in 2018 as against 7% the previous year.
More concerning to the internet industry is the fact that the global smartphone sales declined (by 4%) for the first time in 2018. This highlights the difficulty in getting the rest of the world population online, as also highlights the fact that existing smartphone users are not updating their phones as frequently as companies would want them to.
The extensive report has something for everyone (explore here). Significantly it has something for Donald Trump — immigration is responsible for many of the stalwarts as well as rising companies in the technology space. Examples: Amazon (Jeff Bezos, 2nd generation Cuban immigrant), Apple (Steve Jobs, 2nd gen Syrian), to startups such as WeWork (Adam Neumann, Israel), SpaceX (Elon Musk, SA), Instacart (Apoorva Mehta, India), Rubrik (Bipul Sinha, Arvind Nithrakashyap, Arvind Jain, Soham Mazumdar – India) and many more.
If you are an entrepreneur looking for some clues, here’s some news from China: Short-form video is the new king of internet consumption, with apps such as Douyin (TikTok) and Kuaishou recording phenomenal growth. In fact, Chinese spend as much time on short-form video app as on browsers, and more on games.
Two curious notes: Privacy remains a concern to internet users, but less than a year ago (52%) despite revelations such as Cambridge Analytica. Then, more people in the US trust Google with their healthcare data than Apple.


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