The application economy is less than a decade old and has already begun to revolutionize the software industry. This is opposed to the history of their services, when much of their revenue opportunities were derived from adding features to existing software production. People have access to mobile phones in developing countries more than they have access to clean drinking water, electricity, secondary school education, or even sanitation. With data becoming accessible and affordable, more people are consuming digital content than ever before.

An application is ultimately a mode of transport that we need, to communicate a service. Today, along with the swift growth in the usage of smartphones, the usage of applications has exponentially increased. The mobile handset will continue to scale rapidly in emerging markets. Going by GSMA’s report on the state of the Mobile Economy, the total number of mobile subscribers in Asia pacific, Latin America, Africa and the Middle will grow to 4.6 billion by 2020.

For example, applications are in demand in the Middle East. Almost 85 per cent of mobile internet users have downloaded an application. Top applications include email, social networking, news and weather, sports news and hobbies. In a demographic split, female mobile internet users were found more likely to use photo and video streaming websites, while their male counterparts favored gaming websites.


And this demand for digital content will only grow in the future as income level rises and the lives of the people gets more finely ingrained with digital developments across the world.

According to Flurry Report Brazil, Mexico and Argentina are the three largest application users in Latin America, which is in line with their respective market share in the smartphone category. Utilities and productivity applications were the most downloaded, followed by sports, messaging and games.

The application economy in Africa is also buzzing with home grown applications finding good traction. Local messaging applications, food takeaways, courier services, coupons and deals are also finding favor with the locals. The Asia Pacific region leads the application economy, which is not surprising as it has the largest share smartphone users. In 2016, the region accounted for almost 800 million of the 1.4 billion applications installed.

The growing application economy is a good indicator of the health of digital content ecosystem, as it leads to better user experience as well as monetization opportunities.


Vishal Gupta

Vishal Gupta

Vishal Gupta is the Assistant Vice President & Head - Business Development for the Digital Life Style Solutions at Mahindra Comviva, a business focused on Digital Content based Services & Business solutions in the...