Smartphone penetration in emerging markets is increasing with users seeking a richer experience on their mobile devices, according to research firm, Ovum.
Its new report, app stores gaining ground in emerging markets, found that application stores are gaining popularity in the emerging markets of Asia-Pacific, the Middle East, South and Central America and Africa.
“Smartphone penetration in emerging markets is expected to dramatically increase from 2013 and this will have a significant impact on the app store dynamic,” Ovum telecoms emerging markets senior analyst, Richard Hurst, said.
Ovum claimed the increasing penetration of smartphones, mobile broadband and the ongoing reduction of service and device prices has led to the expansion of mobile application use in these markets.
It also showed that operators regard app stores as a key factor in growing their subscriber bases and driving network traffic.
“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,” Hurst said.
However, he mentioned multi-national organisations with strong app store propositions will fight to defend their positions in countries such as China, India, Brazil and South Africa.
“Smartphone users are attractive targets for emerging market operators as they are early adopters and typically have a higher disposable income than average consumers, but the majority of applications in emerging market app stores are free or low cost as consumers have shown an unwillingness to pay for applications,” Hurst added.