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Mary Meeker: Mobile driving most dramatic behavior transformation in history

NEW YORK ? At Google Inc.?s Think Mobile event in New York, industry guru Mary Meeker said that the pace and force of mobile growth is unlike anything she has ever seen. She and others who presented at the event addressed what this change means for businesses.

The event started with Dennis Woodside, senior vice president of the Americas at Google, Mountain View, CA, talking about some of the ways that mobile phones are causing a cultural shift. There are so many opportunities in terms of what marketers can do to better connect with the mobilized modern consumer.

?The consumer is on the mobile Web,? Mr. Woodside said. ?The demand is there.

?We believe that mobile will create the largest technology market ever,? he said. ?This market will dwarf the PC and all the PC industry has done.

?This new, huge technology market will transform almost every industry.?

Ms. Meeker?s insights
Mary Meeker, a partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers, gave a lay of the land. She said that the mobile trends and the rapid growth of consumer adoption will cause quite a disruption.

Ms. Meeker provided 10 mobile trends she feels are important to note:

1. Mobile platforms have hit critical mass
2. Mobile is global
3. Social networking is accelerating the growth of mobile
4. Consumers are shifting time to mobile usage
5. Mobile advertising is experiencing growing pains but shows huge promise
6. Mobile commerce is changing shopping behavior
7. The emergence of virtual goods and in-app commerce
8. Not all platforms are created equal
9. Change will accelerate and new partners will emerge rapidly
10. There are still many emerging trends to watch for

?IPods changed the media industry,? Ms. Meeker said. ?IPhones ramped up even faster and the iPad leaves its siblings in the dust.

?ITunes also changed the media industry and the App Store leaves it in the dust when it comes to the cumulative number of downloads,? she said.

?When it comes to cumulative Android shipments, Android has hit critical mass.?

Mobile is global. China, Russia, the United States, Brazil and India are the largest Internet users making up a total 46 percent of Web users worldwide, per Ms. Meeker. In 2009 these five countries had a total 1.8 billion global Internet users.

The industry is now seeing a 35 percent year-over-year growth in global mobile 3G subscribers. Leading the way is the U.S., Japan, Indonesia, China and Brazil.

The industry is seeing the convergence of different types of platforms like Facebook + Apple + Google. Mobile, social and search are converging. 

?Real-time social features are accelerating mobile usage,? Ms. Meeker said.

There?s a big growth in sharing location and music on mobile. Ms. Meeker calls this SoLoMo, for the combination of social, local and mobile.

Sixty percent of time spent on smartphones is new activity for mobile users Mr. Murphy said. New mobile activities include using maps, games, social networking, utilities, the Web and apps.

With the adoption of all of these new mobile activities, Mr. Murphy expects global mobile data traffic to grow 26-times over the next five years.

This obviously presents several opportunities for marketers.

?So far it has been difficult to build consistent mobile ad revenue,? Mr. Murphy said. ?This is due to lumpy buys.

The Internet and more traditional channels that preceded it prove that advertising dollars follow eyeballs. And, history will repeat itself in the case of mobile, according to Mr. Murphy.

Of all the various smartphone platforms, Android and iPhone are experiencing the biggest growth.

Internet and application usage is massively higher on Android and iOS than on other platforms. 
Platform differences can significantly impact monetization. Built-in billing and in-app commerce are key.

Ecommerce and mcommerce
Online commerce is gaining share versus offline, per Ms. Meeker.

Right now online is 5 percent of U.S. retail sales.

?Mobile should get to the same level much faster,? Ms. Meeker said. ?Mobile is revolutionizing commerce.?

Per Ms. Meeker, location-based services, transparent pricing, discounted offers and immediate gratifications are some of the ways that mobile is revolutionizing commerce.

Location-based services enable real-time physical opportunities and transparent pricing, in terms of price comparisons, could disrupt retailers. Discounted offers drive foot traffic to local retailers.

?Mobile shopping apps are changing behavior and driving revenue and ROI for retail partners,? Ms. Meeker said.

Per Ms. Meeker, we are in the early innings of a massive phenomenon.

She listed more trends to watch for in the mobile space.

1. Ubiquitous computing ? Real-time connectivity, 24/7, in the palm of consumers' hand
2. More affordable ? Device and data pricing falling
3. Faster ? Networks and devices are improving
4. Personal ? Location, preferences and behavior
5. Fun to use ? Social, casual, reward-driven marketing
6. Access nearly everything anywhere ? ?Stuff? in cloud
7. Explosion of apps and monetization ? More and making more money
8. Measureable real-world activation ? Driving foot traffic to physical stores
9. Reward/influence behavior in real-time ? For exactly the right people

In 2011, and beyond, Ms. Meeker expects the HTML5 versus app debate to continue. NFC for payments, offers and loyalty will take off.

Consumers will depend on mobile health for monitoring, diagnosis and wellness. Additionally, Ms. Meeker predicts the rapid enterprise adoption of tablets for productivity.

?The impact of empowering billions of people around the world with real-time connected devices has just begun,? Ms. Meeker said. ?It?s going to be a fascinating decade.?

Google?s take
After Ms. Meeker?s presentation, Jason Spero, head of Americas mobile advertising at Google, took the stage.

Mr. Spero said that we have entered the era of constant digital connectivity.

?We have all the digital info at our fingertips all the time,? Mr. Spero said. ?Mobile is making us smarter.

?It is changing the way we shop and engage with all businesses,? he said. 

According to Mr. Spero, 2007 marked the beginning of the mobile era because until then, devices just were not up to par.

Now, mobile devices entertain us, they are immediate, mobile is local and it is the ultimate shopping companion, he said.

One in three mobile searches are local. After looking up a local business on their smartphone, 61 percent of users call the business and 59 percent visit its location.

Mr. Spero said that 79 percent of smartphone Internet users use their device to help with shopping.

Also, 74 percent have purchased as a result of using their smartphone while shopping.

Mobile is clearly becoming a new way people shop. EBay has nearly tripled mobile gross merchandise value year-over year to almost $2 billion, with strong holiday shopping momentum in the fourth quarter.

The company said during its earnings call that it expects mobile GMV to double this year to $4 billion.

?The mobile phone is at the dinner table,? Mr. Spero said. ?Is there anywhere it doesn?t go??

Fifty percent of Americans will have smartphones by year-end, per Google.

?Highly connected consumers mean a dramatic change in how we all have to think of our companies,? Mr. Spero said. ?The mobile Web is exploding.

?Google search traffic on mobile grew 4-times in the last year,? he said. ?It is driving a cultural change.?

Click here to view KPCB's full slideshow from the event.

Final take
Mobile advertising now, according to Google Mobile Ads