recommended reading

The Mobile Industry Is Fighting the Wrong War in Emerging Markets

An Indian camel herder, left, speaks on his phone at the annual cattle fair in Pushkar, India.

An Indian camel herder, left, speaks on his phone at the annual cattle fair in Pushkar, India. // Ajit Solanki/AP

Mobile is counting on the developing world (and its estimated 5 billion mobile subscriptions) in a big way. As Mozilla demonstrates a $25 smartphone, undercutting on price has long been the industry’s strategy to wooing emerging market consumers. However, content also matters significantly. On smartphones, content manifests in apps, meaning mobile providers and companies must ask: Is the battle for cheaper smartphones a worthwhile fight, or does the real war lie in making their content accessible?

There are considerable obstacles to actively reaching consumers in emerging markets. More than a third of these consumers, for example, find content too expensive to access, while 32% are not aware of any kind of incentives or promotions to drive purchases. The Trojan horse in the room is that a majority of app stores require access to credit payment methods, while more than one in five (21%) emerging market consumers do not have access to credit or bank facilities. In addition, a majority of potential smartphone users in emerging markets do not have access to banking or credit card accounts, and as such cannot use the Apple App Store or Google Play, even if they wanted to.

Yet another obstruction is translation. One in six (18%) emerging market consumers cannot view content from app stores on their current devices, one in four (24%) cannot find the content they are looking for and one in five (20%) find that content is not in their local language. Notably, each of these obstacles are completely avoidable, and by focusing on remedying them, companies could easily pull ahead of the pack in reaching their target customers.

The real promise of app stores

At the mobile marketing firm Upstream, we teamed with research firm Ovum in order to produce the “The Next Mobile Frontier Report,” which polled mobile consumers in Brazil, India, China, Nigeria, and Vietnam. The report revealed that the Google Play store, available on Android phones, is the most popularly accessed content service (40%), Apple’s App Store is second (28%), followed by Nokia (23%) and mobile operator (26%) app stores follow close behind. And, even more telling are the types of apps consumers in developing nations are downloading: social networking (82%), music (81%), news (78%), gaming (65%), lifestyle (54%), books (53%), business or financial services (46%), health services (33%) and educational services (41%).

These numbers demonstrate that consumers in global markets are hungry for two types of content: that which is informative and that which provides greater opportunity for connection and networking. To remain competitive, brands must tap into this consumer desire and therefore into the mindset of customers. While there are similarities to Western trends—the desire for news, music and social media—the future of emerging markets is actually much more diverse, as travel, health and educational information is coveted, as these are the categories where those who do not already use such apps demonstrate the desire to use them in the future. Therefore, as developers continue to zero out their prices, odds are the answer lies within these kinds of apps as well as those that allow social networking, music and news.

Content is king

With a nod toward the sheer importance of content—especially that which is globally branded—60% of consumers state that when purchasing it, they want a format that suits their device, rendering mobile manufacturers somewhat irrelevant in this regard. No doubt: app stores are where brands active on mobile should place their focus. As devices diversify, content is a constant denominator in the eyes of emerging nations, and so king.

With this in mind, mobile providers, manufacturers and companies must take app stores seriously, and more importantly, move to develop mobile content that is not only desirable, but accessible. Today’s technology presents new possibilities for consumers and correspondingly huge opportunities for content creators and mobile businesses alike. The onus is on them to follow through with content-specific plans, or else even the cheapest smartphone will fail to offer any real value.

Reprinted with permission from Quartz. The original story can be found here

Threatwatch Alert

Network intrusion / Software vulnerability

Hundreds of Thousands of Job Seekers' Information May Have Been Compromised by Hackers

See threatwatch report


Close [ x ] More from Nextgov

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • It’s Time for the Federal Government to Embrace Wireless and Mobility

    The United States has turned a corner on the adoption of mobile phones, tablets and other smart devices, outpacing traditional desktop and laptop sales by a wide margin. This issue brief discusses the state of wireless and mobility in federal government and outlines why now is the time to embrace these technologies in government.

  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

  • A New Security Architecture for Federal Networks

    Federal government networks are under constant attack, and the number of those attacks is increasing. This issue brief discusses today's threats and a new model for the future.

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

  • Software-Defined Networking

    So many demands are being placed on federal information technology networks, which must handle vast amounts of data, accommodate voice and video, and cope with a multitude of highly connected devices while keeping government information secure from cyber threats. This issue brief discusses the state of SDN in the federal government and the path forward.

  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.