Mobile is driving digital media usage

Meeker’s Internet Trends Report: Digital media usage in the US grew 4% in 2017 to 5.9 hours per day. Mobile was the main driver of growth, accounting for 3.3 hours of daily digital time. (citing eMarketer forecasts)

eMarketer breakdown: So where and how are consumers spending their mobile device time? In eMarketer’s forecast of mobile time spent in the US for 2018, smartphones were the big story, with an emphasis on those with larger screens. Likely because smartphones are getting bigger and better, tablet usage is declining, and growth in time spent entered negative territory for the first time in 2017.

Audio took up the biggest chunk of mobile app time in 2017, at 45.7 minutes (about 30% of the total). Social followed close behind with 36.6 minutes, or just under a quarter of app time. Despite the post-Cambridge Analytica #DeleteFacebook movement, eMarketer predicts that mobile time spent with Facebook will not see a decrease.

Voice is primed for takeoff

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Meeker’s Internet Trends Report: Google’s word accuracy rate hit 95% last year, but the Amazon Echo still dominates the smart speaker market, with an installed base of a little over 30 million in the US at the end of 2017.

eMarketer breakdown: Partly thanks to the increasing accuracy Meeker highlighted, smart speakers are being rapidly adopted, and eMarketer’s latest forecastpredicts that the number of US smart speaker users will rise at a compound annual growth rate of 47.9% between 2016 and 2020.

Not since the smartphone have we seen such fast adoption. As illustrated below, 22.9% of the population will be using some kind of smart speaker by 2020.

Consumers want healthcare providers

Meeker ‘s Internet Trends Report: People in the US are spending more on healthcare, and are starting to develop expectations for modern retail experiences, on-demand care, and digitized and transparent care management. Meeker also poses the question of whether increased consumer attention to value and prices, along with market forces, will finally force healthcare providers to bring prices down.

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Data will also play a huge role, with advancing artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities opening doors to new treatments and ways to address patients needs.

Ecommerce growth continues

eMarketer breakdown: In our US retail and ecommerce forecast released in February, estimated that ecommerce growth will continue to accelerate, with sales rising another 15.6% in 2018 and reaching a total of $891.77 billion by 2022. In a breakdown of sales growth by category, food and beverage stands out as an industry that will see transformation in the ecommerce space this year.

Mobile was again a driver of overall ecommerce growth.

What is the thing with Alibaba and WeChat?

Meeker ‘s Internet Trends Report: Five years ago, nine of the top 20 internet companies in the world were from the US, and two were from China. 

Alibaba has businesses in the movie, financial technology, gaming and online video industries. It’s also investing in AI, augmented reality (AR), and connected cars. In October of 2017, it announced a $15 billion, three-year overseas research and development (R&D) budget to develop next-generation tech. Its Tmall platform is the main ecommerce platform in China, holding 51.3% of total market share in Q2 2017.

Tencent is known for WeChat, its mobile messaging app. WeChat (locally called Weixin) isn’t your average messaging app: It has an in-app payment service called WeChat Pay that can be used for utility bills, taxis, groceries and peer-to-peer (P2P) payments. eMarketer predicts WeChat will have 543.7 million users by the end of 2018.

Spend, spend, spend on mobile ads

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Meeker ‘s Internet Trends Report: Although mobile is starting to dominate media time, ad dollars in the US are not flowing to the small screen at the same rate—leaving a $7 billion opportunity wide open. 

eMarketer breakdown: We predict that this opportunity gap will close quickly, and that mobile ad spending will surpass TV ad spending in 2018.

Google and Facebook are the big winners in the mobile ad space, and are predicted to continue dominating the market through 2018 and beyond.