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Report: Tablets, smartphones and the mobile Internet still on the rise, but overall Internet usage growth slows

Jon Gold | May 29, 2014
Mobile ad spending yet to catch up to time spent on mobile gizmos.

A much-heralded report on Internet trends confirmed an ongoing spike in mobile web usage, powered by still-increasing tablet sales, but also said that Internet usage growth, as a whole, had begun to slow in 2013.

The Internet Trends report from venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caulfield Byers said that global tablet shipments grew faster than PC sales did at any point in history in 2013, posting a year-over-year increase of 52%. Even with those numbers, tablets made up just 6% of global Internet-connected devices, which could indicate potential for growth.

The world may be approaching smartphone saturation, though, as the report showed "only" 20% annual growth in sales of those devices. KPCB noted that much of this increase was seen in "underpenetrated markets like China, India, Brazil and Indonesia."

Perhaps the most notable number in the comprehensive, 164-page report, however, is the sub-10% rate of Internet user growth seen in 2013. That's a slowdown from previous years, with the lion's share of what growth there was coming from developing markets, which are "difficult to monetize," according to KPCB.

But even if overall Internet growth was slow, the mobile segment's growth was quite the opposite, rising more than 80% largely on the back of skyrocketing demand for mobile video. That plays into the creation of a major opportunity in the mobile advertising sector, according to the report, which said that the proportion of ad dollars going to mobile lagged far behind the proportion of time spent consuming media on mobile devices.


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