Ten years since the launch of iOS, a research conducted by Upstream, mobile commerce platform in high growth markets has found that Apple’s operating system could see a new opportunity over the next decade in South Africa where currently 20% of consumers use iOS and 74% use Android.
Apple’s global market share slipped 1.1% over the last year, especially in Western strongholds. This comes at a time when 93% of consumers in developing markets are using digital services on their mobile devices, beyond traditional voice and messaging, and 46% pay up to $5 a month to use them. The findings of the 2017 Emerging Markets Digital Services report, commissioned by Upstream and conducted by global consulting and research firm Ovum reveal that consumers value digital services more than the handsets they use to access them.
Guy Krief, CEO of Upstream, said “British digital brands, and their western counterparts, need to think globally when crafting their growth strategy. Emerging markets offer an opportunity to engage with a new generation of connected consumers as they come online for the first time. While these brands are well placed to form a relationship with customers all over the world due to their international appeal, they need to understand the local markets, and the key role operators play in enabling access to a realm of digital services to consumers.”
The results point to an opportunity for technology and digital companies to engage consumers in developing markets who are hungry for a variety of digital services:
- 53% make use of digital utilities like anti-virus, battery and memory boosters every day
- 48% use a daily digital education application like language learning services
- 58% access religious content on their digital devices daily
The survey of 4,000 respondents across Brazil, Egypt, Indonesia, Nigeria and South Africa also found that when it comes to discovering these new digital services, social media networks play a key role for 67% of South African consumers. Also effective in promoting new digital services to customers are operator owned channels (62%). Furthermore, consumers prefer to pay for digital services via mobile operator backed methods (57%), such as carrier billing, and 59% would use digital services more if a faster registration process for subscriptions was offered.
The research further reveals that 22% of South African consumers find digital services expensive and 19% find data access is too high. The findings highlight that mobile network operators are in a crucial position as a gateway for emerging market consumers to access and pay for digital services, like utilities for mobile devices, entertainment and mobile financial services, such as microinsurance.
Krief continued, “Apple’s high device cost has driven many users to purchase much cheaper handsets, the availability of which has opened up a huge digital opportunity in emerging markets to be captured via mobile. It’s not just that the phone is the key connected device in these high-growth markets; it’s also that the mobile can serve as a medium to cover basic social infrastructure gaps, whether in financial services, education, health, etc. Only 2% of Egyptians have a payment card, for example, so the airtime balance on their phone is the easiest way for them to make an online payment for the digital services they want.
Digital brands need to adapt their approach to the unique needs of emerging markets consumers through the utilisation of the high trust consumers have in mobile operators to deliver digital services. 62% of consumers already trust them more than other providers in the delivery of digital services over mobile.”