What’s Moving Mobile In Emerging Markets

Mobile is no longer the “next big thing” for marketers. It’s already here – in fact, it’s permanently-rooted and flourishing.

Consumers across the globe are using their smartphones to do much more than make phone calls. They’re using them to connect, entertain and purchase. So, with all the constant attention being paid to small screens, marketers need to adapt their strategies to fit a variety of different buying behaviors, as well as a range of phones and operating systems.

Jana recently surveyed 2,500 people in emerging Asian markets about their mobile use and preferences and what they planned on spending on devices in the future. They broke it down into a cool interactive infographic, which shows key findings such as:

  • Of the countries included in the survey, the Philippines had the highest use of smartphones, with 63 percent of respondents saying they owned one. Indonesia had the lowest with 45 percent.
  • Apple phones make up less than 10 percent — and in some countries less than 1 percent — of smartphone usage, but the iPhone tops the list as one of the most highly desired phones among most countries.
  • Nokia phones account for more than 50 percent of smartphone use among respondents in Vietnam and Bangladesh.
  • In Indonesia, India and Bangladesh, more than 30 percent of smartphone users surveyed use an operating system that is listed as “Other,” meaning not Blackberry, Symbian, iOS, Windows or Droid.
  • More than half of the respondents in every country paid less than $100 for their phones. When asked how much they planned on spending on their next phones, the number of people who said they planned to pay over $600 nearly doubled in every country surveyed.

All of this paints an interesting picture of the current state of mobile in these markets. How can marketers stay one step ahead of the competition in Asia and elsewhere?

  • Be nimble. Although very few survey respondents currently use iPhones, the desire to own an iPhone and the huge planned increase in spending on their next mobile device could indicate a turn in the tide. The lifespan of a phone isn’t very long, which means the mobile landscape can change dramatically in just a few years. Don’t bog down your mobile resources in one area so you can move quickly as you need to.
  • Watch the “other” guy. The iPhone/Droid debate may rule in your team meetings, but the mobile landscape is much more complicated on a global scale. In many countries there are as many mobile users not on popular platforms like Droid, Blackberry or Symbian. The operating systems that make up the “other” category could have a come-from-behind winner in the race to dominate mobile.
  • Look where mobile isn’t. Don’t overlook areas with low smartphone use. Those countries are poised to grow the most over the next few years, and consumers there may set trends not just for themselves but for the rest of the world, as well.
  • Measure and test. As I’ve mentioned before, you’ll need to decide how you’re going to measure each of your campaigns. What tracking methods are available with each strategy? What metrics will you use to gauge success and ROI? How and how often will you analyze your results — and how long do you wait to pivot?

As mobile use grows across the globe, marketers must take a proactive approach. You’ll have to keep up with current trends in a variety of new and emerging markets, as well as regularly strategize about how to get ahead of the curve. Fortunately, market research data presented in an engaging infographic like the one referenced here can make that job a little easier.

Which global market trends are you keeping an eye on?

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