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What is dark sharing – and why is it a problem? When will ‘detatchables’ dominate the tablet space? How soon till brands spend more on digital ads than TV ?

You’ll find the answers to these and many more mobile data related questions in this week’s MEF market stats round up…

Annual Internet traffic to hit one billion gigabytes per month in 2016

Data flowing across the internet is on course to go past a zettabyte this year, says a major report by Cisco.

It forecasts global IP traffic will reach 1.1 zettabytes, which is equal to one billion gigabytes per month. By 2020, the figure will reach 2.3 ZB per year.

Predictably, video will play a major part. Cisco adds that the world will watch 3 trillion Internet video minutes per month by 2020 – which is about one million video minutes every second. High-definition video will make up 82 per cent of it.

It’s a huge trove of data. Other highlights include:

  • Desktop and personal videoconferencing will go from 95 million users in 2015 to 248 million users by 2020.
  • Virtual reality traffic will increase 61-fold by 2020.
  • M2M will grow from 4.9 billion in 2015 to 12.2 billion by 2020
  • Smartphone traffic will exceed PC traffic by 2020.
  • The number of devices connected to IP networks will be three times as high as the global population in 2020.
  • By 2020, global fixed broadband speeds will reach 47.7 Mbps, up from 24.7 Mbps in 2015.

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The smartphone market is mature: sales to grow just seven per cent in 2016

In 2010, smartphone sales grew by 73 per cent. Growth will be 10 x smaller this year, say new stats from Gartner.

It pegs worldwide smartphone sales at 1.5 billion units in 2016 – seven per cent up on last year. In 2020, smartphone sales are on pace to total 1.9 billion units.

The reasons are obvious. Most people have got a phone already, and they don’t replace them that regularly. Today, the market has reached 90 per cent penetration in the mature markets of North America, Western Europe, Japan and Mature Asia/Pacific. Replacement cycles are now at 2.5 years.

Naturally, the focus for many vendors is on India and China. Gartner estimates that 139 million smartphones will be sold in India in 2016, growing 29.5 per cent year over year. It says that, after recording growth of 16 per cent in 2014, sales of smartphones in China were flat in 2015.

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Song downloads are down by a fifth in 2016

The rise of streaming continues to hit downloads hard. According to Digital Music News, sales of a-la-carte tracks from sites like iTunes have fallen by 20 per cent in the year to now.

It says that last year, downloads plunged nearly 13 per cent (according to Nielsen Music), so the decline is clearly accelerating. Digital Music News also quotes projections form PWC that suggest revenue from paid downloads will fall at a CAGR of minus 14.3 per cent – from $2.3 billion in 2015 to just over $1 billion in 2020.

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‘Detachables’ will be a third of tablet sales by end of decade

The tablet market is in decline, but it will see a “slight rebound” in 2018 and beyond thanks to detachables.

IDC says the detachable category – laptops with a removable tablet screen – will go from 16 per cent of the market in 2016 to 31 per cent in 2020.

The analysts notes that many manufacturers are moving into the segment, making products cheaper and boosting consumer awareness for the category. This is mitigating the decline in tablet sales caused in part by average four year replacement cycles.

IDC also says the UK is Europe’s largest detachable market with 300,000 sales in Q1. The iPad Pro has 21 per cent of the market.

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Mobile video ad revenue set to rise 30 per cent a year

A huge new study from PwC says mobile video Internet ad revenue will go from $3.5 billion in 2015 to $13.3 billion in 2020.

It says the rollout of 5G networks will power the surge, and that mobile advertising as whole will comprise 49.4 per cent of total internet ad revenue by 2020. It was 34.7 per cent in 2015.

Essentially, advertising dollars will catch up to where the eyeballs are. That will put overall digital advertising on course to outgross TV for the first time: $93.5 billion versus $81.7 billion by 2020.

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Social commerce comprises just one per cent of e-commerce

The promise of the social media ‘buy button’ has yet to deliver, according to research by BI Intelligence. It reports that people like to research products on Facebook, Twitter, and the like before they buy them. But they buy elsewhere.

The study looked found 30 per cent of the general population (and 40 per cent of Millenials) use these platforms for product research, yet just one per cent of all e-commerce orders in 2015 occurred from a direct social media referral.

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82 per cent of content sharing is invisible to social networks

A new report on ‘dark social’ says eight in ten shares are done messaging, email or text. The study by ad platform RadiumOne asserts that just 13 per cent is shared via Facebook, and the remaining 10 per cent through the other public social networks.

This is alarming for publishers and for social media firms who base their adverting and marketing strategies around ‘visible’ sharing. And it’s getting worse. In 2014, dark sharing was below 50 per cent.

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