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2007: 750m Internet users in the world. 2015: 2.6 billion smartphone subscribers; by 2020 there will be 6.1 billion. ~John Lilly, Medium


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John Lilly wrote on Medium, reflecting on that Mozilla daily growth chart above from 2007:

This was all still pretty new — before January 2006 we didn’t have great systems for even telling how many users there were worldwide.

For us, in that time period, the ratio of monthly to daily users was about 3:1 — so by March 2007, we had maybe 90M users give or take.

[Interesting to note that that ratio wasn’t something we started out thinking about — this was a time we kind of had to find our own way to understand that that was an important ratio.]

Anyway, you can see that through that period, we were experiencing strong growth, and for a product that wasn’t viral. More tellingly, since this was at a time before the iPhone and real smartphone adoption, we were getting very robust daily usage and growth — in a way that’s qualitatively different than today’s mobile usage, which tends to be more often & more intimate.

But what really caught my eye was a note on the slide that said this:

Comscore estimates 741M Internet users worldwide in 12/07.

Now, you can find other estimates at the time that are closer to a billion, but still, that’s an amazing change. From 750M laptop/desktop Internet users 8 years ago to 2.6B smartphone subscriptions today, with some people expecting 6.1B by 2020, just 5 years from now.

Mind you some users have multiple subscriptions. See below.

Still, we're talking billions of smartphone users this decade. Wow. 

From the TechCrunch article about 2.6B smartphone subscriptions today:

The numbers come from the latest annual Mobility Report from Ericsson, which is being published today. Using data gathered from around 100 carriers globally, Ericsson uses this to paint a picture of what is going on right now, as well as what to expect in the future, covering not just how many people are using mobile networks but also how they are using mobile.

Those 6.1 billion smartphone users works out to some 70 percent of the world’s population using smartphones in five years’ time, a measure of just how central these devices are becoming to how we communicate with each other and do much more.

In fact, “total mobile” subscriptions by 2020 will actually number 9.2 billion. When you take into account Internet-of-things and M2M services, mobile broadband and even some basic remaining feature phones, there will be 26 billion connected devices in five years’ time. (As some point out, however, this is actually a downward revision from Ericsson’s previous forecast of 50 billion connected devices.)

Still, despite the rise of these new mobile-based services, and the growth of other categories like tablets, it’s smartphones that are leading the mobile charge. By 2020 they will account for 80 percent of all mobile data traffic.

If world population in 2020 is 7.5 billion that would imply 5 billion people with smartphones by 2020.

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