27 Percent of Digital Consumers in Middle East & Africa Are Mobile-Only

August 25, 2017

2:30 pm

Phones were once attached to the wall, or only in booths. Then they could be carried around in your pocket. But now everyone has smartphones and, let’s be honest, they’re closer to pocket computers than to phones. A new report covering the Middle East & Africa regions — or MEA — confirms this with the news that over a fourth of all digital consumers in these regions rely entirely on mobile phones for their internet access.

GlobalWebIndex has the data on this mobile-only world, as well as a few more facts about what it means.

27 Percent Own Only a Smartphone

The report also notes that a shocking one percent are non-mobile, while another 71 percent use multiple devices to access the internet. The exact percentages vary by the area: Nigeria is now 40 percent mobile-only, while South Africa has just 10 percent solely mobile-reliant consumers.

Still, this puts MEA in a unique location, something that global marketers would do well to keep in mind.

“All this means that the Middle East & Africa presents a special case for brands and marketers. In all other regions, widespread multi-device usage means that although a mobile-first strategy is certainly key, all devices need to be taken into account.

But MEA is a region where we can truly talk about mobile-only strategies that can be impactful. And with the increasing affordability and functionality of smartphones meaning that we are unlikely to see ownership rates of other devices in MEA rise in the future, it’s clear that the smartphone must be at the forefront of any discussions of digital strategy in MEA,” GlobalWebIndex explains.

The top note all marketers should make regarding the MEA region: Mobile-only marketing strategies are the way to go. You don’t need your own app: Flipboard is a great mobile channel to explore, for one example. After all, if you can start your marketing funnel with 99 percent of the region, why wouldn’t you?

Read more about emerging startups around the world at TechCo

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Adam is a writer with an interest in a variety of mediums, from podcasts to comic books to video essays to novels to blogging — too many, basically. He's based out of Seattle, and remains a staunch defender of his state's slogan: "sayWA." In his spare time, he recommends articles about science fiction on Twitter, @AdamRRowe

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