Internet Trends 2018

There are a handful of events that the technology world stops and takes notice of each and every year. There is Google’s I/O developer conference. There is Facebook’s F8 developer conference. There is Apple’s WWDC developer conference and there is one more big presentation everyone is tech takes note of, only this one is not for programmers, but for more for investment bankers. That is Mary Meeker’s annual internet trends report from Kleiner Perkins. Two weeks ago, Mary Meeker gave her 2018 report and we thought it important to share it with you.

Many of you will ask what does this world overview of the internet have to do with my eyecare practice? I will tell you what…and why. With so much of our world and our time spent online, it is important for businesses to know what is going on with technology and strategize as to how to be in front of the pack instead of bringing up the rear. Knowledge is power, whether you have a multi-million dollar marketing firm or the neighborhood optical shop.


Here are a few highlights of her presentation. I’ve also added my take on her talking points.

  • As of 2018, half of the world’s population is now online. That is some 3.6 billion people.
  • Smartphone sales have flattened out, meaning most everyone with a mobile phone has one already.
  • Adults in the US are spending more time online, thanks in part to their smartphones. On average, we spent close to 6 hours a day online last year, versus just over 5 ½ hours a day in 2016.
  • That creates an opportunity for marketers to move more of their advertising dollars to mobile ads.
  • There has been a huge increase in interest for Some ECPs take some of them in their practices, most of course, don’t.
  • Voice technology is nearing a 95% accuracy rate leading marketers to revise how they write content for their websites. Keep in mind we generally write things differently to be heard versus being read, and if people are using voice services such as Apple’s Siri, Google’s Assistant, Amazon’s Alexa, or Microsoft’s Cortana, ECP’s might want to consider some of their website content. There are now 30 million Amazon Echo’s on tables across America.
  • E-commerce is now 13% of all retail sales. It grew 16% last year. Amazon now controls 28% of all e-commerce.
  • Mobile payments are becoming easier to complete. How many ECP’s allow customers and patients to pay with Apple or Samsung Pay? China is rapidly becoming a leader in mobile payment opportunities.
  • Subscription services are big business. Netflix is up 25%. The New York Times is up 43%. Spotify is up 48%. When will we have subscription eyewear?
  • Healthcare spending continues to increase. Meeker expects healthcare companies to offer more modern retail experiences. Eyecare has always been that one exception, where Optometrists straddle both the medical and the retail world. If you haven’t taken the lead and made your practice a retail experience, you will be left in the dust by those that will.
  • Freelancing in the on-demand workforce grew 23% in 2017. Uber, Airbnb, Etsy, and Doordash, are just a handful of ways people are working and earning a living. How will that affect your practice when people are working well beyond the old 9-5?

What does all this mean to ECP’s? Technology is still becoming an ever more pervasive part of all our lives. If you don’t have a website for your store or practice you are still living in the 90’s. If you don’t have a mobile-friendly website, you are still living in the oughts. Are you spending marketing dollars in the mobile arena? You want to be where your customers and patients are, and if they are spending upwards of 6 hours a day online, so too should you.

If you would like to see Mary Meeker’s entire 294-slide report for yourself, click here.

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