Takeaways from Mary Meeker’s 2016 Internet Trends Report

Earlier this week, Mary Meeker, the former Morgan Stanley internet analyst and current partner at venture-capital fund Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers, released her annual Internet Trends Report. The report (embedded in full above) examines the biggest trends in digital and provides fascinating analysis and data on today’s state of the web. While it’s definitely a voluminous report and well worth the read, there were two key takeaways I’d like to highlight.

  1. As Meeker suggests, US auto sales appear to be at a peak. Secular shifts in the auto market may be unfolding with the rise of mobility on demand (e.g., Uber). Millennials do not appear to be embracing the car culture compared to previous generations. Fewer 16 to 24 year-olds are getting their drivers licenses. In 1990, 64% of 16-to-19 year-olds had a driver’s license; compare that to 43% of 16-to-19 year-olds have a driver’s license today. Millennials don’t equate a car with ‘personal freedom’ the same way preceding generations do (millennials have phones/portable devices and access to social network that enable them to express their freedom in similar ways). Fast forward, and you have reasonable proof that an entire generation will be less likely to buy cars. High costs and inefficiency give way to ride sharing and on-demand mobility. Current and emerging auto/auto services companies need to align to themselves to these shifts.
  2. In retail, personalization and seamless shopping experiences are key. Retailers taking a unified approach to optimizing the shopping experience, have the opportunity to engage millennials, drive purchases and build loyalty. One key source of assessing alignment with consumers’ needs are user generated content (UGC). Through our own research, we are learning that user generated content via social media sentiment or engagement is not only an indicator of company success but there is a predictive relationship between consumer ratings, positive blog sentiment and firm equity value/returns. To that end, monitoring the feedback via UGC is a key element of alignment with current and emerging customer needs.

Palash Misra is a Director at Stax Inc. Throughout his career, Misra has advised portfolio managers on competitive analysis and growth strategies to achieve profit improvement across multiple industries.