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MEF Member On Device Research recently teamed up with ArabNet to take a look at the burgeoning App economy in the MENA region, and came up with some interesting insights. Managing Director MENA, Nader Kobeissi, presented the report’s findings at the ArabNet Digital Summit in Dubai.

Surveying smartphone users throughout the UAE, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, the report shows that more than half are app-happy, with 52% downloading five or more apps in the last month. This is compared with a tiny 2% who have downloaded none at all. What’s more, those users are happy to pay for apps; across the region an average of 40% pay to download apps, with 37% both buying apps and making in-app purchases.

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This app economy is currently driven by interest in games and social media apps, with most people reporting that their favoured way to find new apps is simply by browsing the app store or taking recommendations from friends, rather than through advertising or marketing.

Also identified in the report is a need for better quality, more interesting Arabic apps. Whilst 81% of Saudi users reported that they download Arabic apps, a mere 39% of those in UAE do the same, with many citing a preference for international apps or a lack of good quality content being the reasons why.

This post originally appeared on the On Device Research Blog and is reprinted here with kind permission.