Application stores are gaining ground in the emerging markets of Asia-Pacific, the Middle East, South and Central America and Africa as smartphone penetration increases and users seek a richer experience on their mobile devices, says Ovum.
In a new report, the independent telecoms analyst firm states that the increasing penetration of smartphones, mobile broadband, and the ongoing reduction of service and device prices has translated into an expansion in the use of mobile applications in emerging markets. Operators regard app stores as a key factor in growing their subscriber bases and driving network traffic.
Richard Hurst, senior analyst telecoms emerging markets, at Ovum said: “Smartphone penetration in emerging markets is expected to dramatically increase from 2013, and this will have a significant impact on the app store dynamic. The availability of low-cost Android, RIM and Nokia smartphones will see app stores becoming an increasingly important element of the distribution chain.
“Device and OS vendors will look to establish themselves as the leading providers of apps in emerging markets, emulating the position that they occupy in developed markets. However, in countries such as China, India, Brazil and South Africa, MNOs with strong app store propositions will fight to defend their positions,” he said.
Smartphone users are attractive targets for emerging market operators as they are early adopters and typically have a higher disposable income than average consumers.
“However, the majority of applications in emerging market app stores are free or low cost as consumers have shown an unwillingness to pay for applications” said Hurst.