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too-many-appsWith MEF Global Forum Mobile First Markets less than three weeks away, Pooja Kallor, Global Insights Analyst from MEF member, InMobi, continues an analysis of the global mobile app ecosystem, assessing the factors that are stimulating growth in emerging markets worldwide.

In the previous blog, we laid out the regional landscape for app developers in terms of share, app install costs and app earnings. We also explored the OS landscape across regions. In this blog, we move forward and explore the dynamics of a booming mobile app economy – factors driving mobile app growth and it’s interconnectedness with smartphone adoption.

The story starts with smartphones, as it always does. For the first time ever, there are now more active mobile devices than there are humans on the planet. About 1.167 billion smartphone devices were shipped last year, a year-on-year increase of 25.9%. With increasing competition amongst smartphone manufacturers, costs are being driven low and more is being offered for less. This, in turn, is driving growth in emerging markets, opening up a wider and eager audience for app developers.

Let’s look at how this impacts the app economy of countries around the world.

Smartphone Penetration and Install Growth


Emerging countries such as the Philippines, Indonesia and Russia are the growing app install destinations of the world. These markets with their low smartphone penetration rate boast of an eager audience willing to explore and download mobile apps. This drives the install growth through the roof. Spurred by low cost smartphones, cheap mobile internet plans and an enthusiastic audience, these markets are golden for app developers.

Smartphone penetration and Cost Per Install (CPI)


Consequently, emerging markets with low smartphone penetration and high install growth will drive the CPI low due to the sheer volume of installs. It is cheaper to drive an app download in Indonesia or Malaysia as compared to USA or UK.

Per Capita Installs and CPI


Similarly, countries with low smartphone penetration, low CPIs and high Install growths boast of high per capita installs. Being mobile first nations and relatively new to smartphones, mobile users in Indonesia, Malaysia and Philippines displayed a higher tendency to download apps. This is reflective of a relatively young smartphone nation eagerly consuming mobile content, much to the developer’s delight.

effective Cost Per Mile (eCPM) and Smartphone penetration


However, currently the highest rewarding markets for app developers of the world are those with high smartphone penetration. These are typically mature markets where smartphones have been around for a while and users are now accustomed to mobile payments. As users willingly shop online – either through in-app purchases or otherwise, developers are rewarded through their apps. As emerging markets such as China and Russia move towards higher smartphone penetration, app developers will be rewarded with an enthusiastic, mobile-first audience looking to transact via mobile.

eCPM and CPI


As in life, things come a full circle on mobile too – eCPMs and CPIs are closely and directly related. Mature markets like the USA, UK, and Germany command high CPIs, and consequently, also reward app developers with higher eCPMs. This stems from a user base willing to make more purchases through their mobile devices.


Pooja Kallor

Global Insights Analyst


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So where does this leave us?

Growing mobile ad spend, increasing time spent on mobile apps, rising smartphone shipments and adoption are keenly driving mobile app growth. If ever there was a time for developers to up their game, it is now. Understanding the key metrics that influence market dynamics to hone your user acquisition and monetization strategy is the first basic step.

This piece originally appeared on the InMobi blog and is reused with kind permission. Download the full report from the InMobi website.


Screen Shot 2015-06-09 at 15.34.09MEF Global Forum Mobile First MarketsJune 30th, Bangalore is a one-day conference supported by Mozilla, Mahindra Comviva and Blippar showcasing the latest innovations and trends helping accelerate growth in exciting markets such as India, Nigeria, Turkey and Indonesia. Learn more about how local pioneers and new sector opportunities are helping mobile-first markets leapfrog developed markets when it comes to advancing opportunities in the mobile ecosystem. MEF Global Forum Mobile First Markets is FREE to attend for MEF members – head over to the MEF website to find out more.