As global smartphone sales growth takes a nosedive, the mobile market in the Middle East and North Africa is just starting to take off.
Last year, the global smartphone market experienced its slowest period of growth since 2013. China’s economic downturn and market saturation is largely responsible for the slowdown, which is understandable when you consider that the country accounts for over 30% of the world’s smartphone sales.
And yet, as the top end of the market begins to decelerate, growth in smaller, emerging mobile markets is actually picking up. The industry outlook on the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is particularly optimistic, as the region’s mobile market experienced significant growth in 2015. Moreover, the forecast is equally bright for the remainder of the fiscal year.
In fact, mobile data traffic grew by about 70% in the region between 2013 and 2014. What’s more, mobile data traffic is expected to outpace its current volume by up to 1400% by 2020, far surpassing the global rate of data expansion, which is only expected to increase by about 900% over the same period of time.
How the Region Breaks Down
There are currently about 680 million mobile subscriptions across all of MENA, but that number is expected to grow at an annual rate of about 6% in the coming years, reaching nearly one billion by 2020.
While the vast majority of those 680 million mobile subscriptions are currently based in Gulf countries, such as Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, adoption rates are set to skyrocket across the greater region, as operators continue to improve the quality of service and expand their 4G and LTE networks to increasingly remote locations.
In the midst of a global turndown, these positive projections are bringing the region to the attention of some major players in the mobile market. Apple opened two new stores (the first two in the Middle East) in the UAE in 2015, which, it’s probably safe to assume, isn’t just a happy coincidence.
Need further evidence? At the end of 2014, about 125 million of the region’s mobile subscriptions were attributed to smartphones, but experts project that smartphone subscriptions will grow to over 388 million by 2020.
No Time Like the Present
As MENA’s smartphone market continues to expand, m-commerce transactions are set to experience similar growth. In turn, the mobile app will become an increasingly important tool for consumer engagement and digital transactions across the region.
Yet, traditionally speaking, app development has come with a hefty price tag, making the platform inaccessible for many small businesses and individual entrepreneurs with limited resources. Luckily, a recent wave of affordable, user-friendly DIY mobile app building platforms are making it possible for anyone to build a mobile app, opening the door for entrepreneurs and creative individuals to tap into these exciting, emerging markets — no matter where in the world they’re located.
Now, in less than 20 minutes, would-be developers can make their app ideas come to life with AppMakr’s easy-to-use app building tool. The platform requires no prior programming experience, and users can build their own apps for free, and publish them to the app store for as little as $9.00 a month.
Platforms like AppMakr represent the long tail of mobile app development. Instead of one app to meet the needs of millions, now people can build millions of apps to meet the needs of individuals and small communities. That might mean an app that helps connect a neighborhood restaurant with its local customers, or an app that allows schools to notify parents and students about important information regarding assignments, closings, and upcoming school events.
And as mobile apps become increasingly localized, small businesses, individuals, and communities as a whole are discovering they have the ability to connect with one another on an unprecedented level.
Simply put, capitalizing on the exponential growth of MENA’s mobile market is no longer cost-prohibitive, so what are you waiting for? Get started on your new mobile app today!
Latest posts by Jamie Ayers (see all)
- When It Comes to Campaigning Apps, A Clear Winner Emerges - October 27, 2016
- Emerging Markets Are Essential to App Developers — Here’s Why - October 13, 2016
- Out-of-the-Box UX Design Can Eradicate Racist User Behavior — Just Ask ‘Nextdoor’ - September 29, 2016