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December 7, 2012

Services Vs. Goods — Mary Meeker Report Indicates Shift in Consumer Focus

It all comes down to services versus possessions.

Services such as Spotify, ZipCar and Netflix have affected the way people view ownership, says venture capitalist Mary Meeker of Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers.

Using such services is a trend led by what Meeker calls the “asset-light” generation — consumers who are more focused on services than physical possessions.

In her 2012 Internet Trends report, Meeker includes several slides showing how times have changed to allow consumers to access services via technology. The most obvious examples include DVD and BluRay purchases being replaced by services such as Netflix, books being replaced by eReaders, biographies and diaries being replaced by social media and scrapbooking being replaced by sites such as Pinterest.

“It’s easier for people to get what they want when they want it by buying access to a vast range of goods and services — such as all the movies on Netflix — rather than buying to own a particular object or title,” Meeker was quoted by the Washington Post.

The popularity of mobile apps continues to rise as well, Meeker noted, as people look for ways to make life easier whether by syncing devices or searching for services.

Her report also indicated the continued growth of mobile traffic. In fact, mobile usage has increased so much around the globe, it has surpassed desktop traffic.

Thirteen percent of all Internet traffic is now through mobile devices, jumping from four percent in 2010.

Monetization of the mobile sector is also on the rise with a compounded annual growth rate of 129 percent since 2008.  Much of this growth is due to mobile apps. In fact, mobile apps is expected to rake in 67 percent of the $19 billion the sector will generate in 2012.

Given the rising popularity of mobile computing, Meeker’s report indicated sales of Smartphones and tablets will continue to increase, growing to 1.7 billion devices in 2015. On the other hand, the sale of desktops and laptops will ring in at 400 million.

The sale of eReaders has also skyrocketed — nearly 30 percent of American adults own a tablet or eReader up from only two percent less than three years ago.

To read the full report, click here.