Sometimes the world we're living in changes so fast, it's impossible to take it all in coherently. A recent report by KPCB entitled Internet Trends 2011 took on the gargantuan task of making the world's feverish pace more digestible for us mere mortals.
The results were astounding, and three numbers emerged as crucial if you want to profit from some undeniable megatrends taking place right before our eyes.
That's the total number of Internet users China added between 2007 and 2010. Let's put that number in perspective. Check out the chart below, and you'll see that the 246 million users China added in three years is bigger than the total number of Internet users in America, period! And they're only at a penetration rate of 34%.
Think that's scary? Check out India, whose user base is growing 43% year over year and has only reached a penetration rate of 8%!
Internet Users in 2010
Total Possible User Base
Source: KPCB's Internet Trends 2011.
What does this mean for you? Well, there are certainly some Internet companies in China and India that are bound to benefit from this trend. The chart below gives you the names of some of the prospects. Click on the company name to get a more in-depth look at each opportunity.
What it is
Internet search provider
Portal and micro-blogging provider
Internet service provider
Search and consumer offerings provider
These aren't necessarily buy recommendations. In fact, some of these stocks have garnered extremely negative sentiment from our Foolish community. Rather, these are four companies that are trying to capitalize on a growing trend and as such probably deserve a place on your watchlist (you can add them by hitting the "+" button next to their names).
That's the percentage of the world's population covered by commercial wireless signals. Again, to put it into perspective, only 80% of the world's population is connected to an electrical grid!
Furthermore, consider that while there are 5.6 billion mobile phone subscribers in the world, only 15% of them currently have a smartphone. That represents an enormous opportunity for companies like Apple (NAS: AAPL) ,whose iPhones have been selling like hotcakes abroad, and Google (NAS: GOOG) , whose Android operating system has been activated on 190 million devices worldwide.
Though there are other companies that benefit from smartphone sales -- like Microsoft, or Qualcomm -- this is really a two-horse race between Apple and Google.
These days, I'd say I buy about 65% percent of my "stuff" online. I guess I just thought that's the way it was with everything, everywhere in the U.S., for everybody.
Apparently my bias against the physical act of shopping got the best of me. According to the report, a miniscule 8% of all retail sales in the United States take place online. 8%!
The report predicts that a steady linear trend has formed that predicts market share will generally continue growing, capturing a little more than 0.57% market share per year for the foreseeable future. That represents an enormous runway for growth that's just getting started.
Amazon (NAS: AMZN) , in their quest to be the e-tailer of choice for decades to come, surely stands to benefit from this trend, as does Google. Amazon is already laying the groundwork for its future dominance -- essentially giving its Kindle Fires away for free in return for future traffic to their website. Google, on the other hand, will undoubtedly capitalize from the ramp-up in online advertising as companies try to bring more and more eyeballs to their websites.
Put together, these three numbers help us gauge just how the use of the Internet is revolutionizing the way the world does business.
Will anyone physically shop in the future?
Though I may avoid doing it at all costs, the act of going to the store and shopping isn't going anywhere, anytime soon.
There may, however, be a stark difference in the way we pay for our goods and services. The Motley Fool has created a special free report detailing this change: "Your Credit Card May Soon Be Worthless. Here's Why... ." Inside, you'll find out about an amazing technology called near field communications (NFC), and learn what company is poised to benefit from adoption of this technology. The report is yours today, absolutely free!
At the time thisarticle was published Fool contributor Brian Stoffel's dislike of shopping is a deep-seated result of his mom's hours-long trips to the store when he was young. He owns shares of Google, Apple, and Amazon. You can follow him on Twitter at @TMFStoffel.The Motley Fool owns shares of Google, Microsoft, Apple, and Qualcomm. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Google, Apple, Amazon.com, SINA, Microsoft, and Baidu; creating a bull call spread position in Microsoft; and creating a bull call spread position in Apple. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.
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