Yesterday at the Web 2.0 Summit, Morgan Stanley Internet analyst Mary Meeker did her annual data dump slide presentation, this year focusing on the growth prospects of the mobile Web. As usual, there were 3 or 4 slides that really captured the trends she was talking about, particularly the ones around iPhone adoption and how that phone in particular is catapulting mobile Web usage into the mainstream.
You can see her full slide show below (all 68 of them), but let me pull out the three iPhone slides that helps put its growth into perspective. The first one above shows the growth of data traffic on AT&T’s mobile network. It is 50 times higher than it was just three years ago. I added two arrows to show when the first iPhone launched in June, 2007 and the iPhone 3G in July 2008.
AT&T saw massive pops in data usage following those two launches as consumers discovered the unadulterated mobile Web for the first time. And it is not just the iPhone. With the ubiquity of WiFi, the iPod Touch offers pretty much the same experience without AT&T’s monthly fees. Taken together, the adoption of the iPhone and iPod Touch is outstripping the early adoption the desktop Internet, as represented by AOL and Netscape in Meeker’s chart below. It is also outstripping the early growth of NTT Docomo’s imode, which was the most successful example of the first generation of mobile Web adoption in Japan.
The chart overlays the first 20 quarters of user growth for each product. Only eight quarters after launch, the iPhone and iPod Touch has more than twice as many users (57 million) as imode (25 million), five times as many as Netscape (11 million), and eight times as many as AOL (7 million) at a comparable points in their histories.
The iPhone/iTouch combo is also the fastest-growing consumer electronics product of all time. Its adoption ramp is even steeper than videogame consoles including the Nintendo Wii, Nintendo DS, and Sony PSP. The original iPod and Blackberry aren’t even in the same league.