Emerging Markets for Mobile Apps

About a year ago, the analytics firm Distimo released a report detailing the emergence of several East Asian mobile app markets.  Those app markets continue to grow, but what’s surprising is the emergence of mobile app markets – and their impressive growth rates – elsewhere in the world, most notably Brazil, Turkey, Russia, and Mexico.

There are quite a few numbers to consider, but when we say “impressive,” that may be something of an understatement.  In these four markets, revenues for iPhone apps increased anywhere from 54% to 115%, for a combined total of $160,000 per day.  Once games became available in the App Store in Brazil, revenues increased by 80% in one month alone, making Brazil the largest app market in Latin America.  And while Brazil’s growth is impressive, it’s paltry compared to that of Russia’s, where iPhone app revenues increased by 115% over the year, and revenue for Android apps at Google Play increased by a staggering 250%.

For a thoughtful and meticulous mobile app developer, there’s a great deal to be optimistic about in this most recent Distimo report.  Emerging markets mean more opportunities for those capable of ascertaining the particular needs of these widely disparate demographics, and it’s more important than ever to know your customer.  Russians clearly like to read, for example:  the Books category is one of the top four revenue generators in the Russian mobile app market, whereas the same category is among the least popular in Brazil and Turkey.  Additionally, the Distimo report predictably reveals that consumers still prefer free apps to paid apps, but notes that while in-app purchases might be lucrative in Turkey and Russia, the ad-based freemium revenue is the way to go in Mexico and Brazil.

Developers would do well to study and exploit these new markets over the coming years.  For the first time since mobile apps became available, more revenue is being generated outside the U.S. than in, and even the Distimo report doesn’t pull any punches when it refers to the mobile application as a “truly global phenomenon.”

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