The Top 5 Emerging Countries by Smartphone Penetration and CPI

Mobile growth in developed markets has slowed. But in developing markets like Latin America and Asia, growth is still proceeding at an exponential rate, fueled by rising smartphone penetration.

It can be difficult to monetize in developing countries, but smartphone ownership across millions of people is a good counter -- especially as in-app advertising has become more lucrative for developers. So we’ve put together a handy guide to some of the largest developing countries, using data from Newzoo on smartphone penetration rates and Chartboost Insights for cost per install (CPI) from ad campaigns.

For an overview of 5 of the most important emerging markets for app developers, read on...

Brazil
Number of mobile game players: 50 million
Smartphone penetration: 37.7%
Average CPI: $0.87

Due to recent political and economic issues, smartphone adoption rates in Brazil have grown at a slower rate than predicted. But political turmoil doesn’t halt app downloads. Despite a disappointing year for smartphone vendors, mobile game developers enjoyed more activity as year-over-year session lengths grew 63% from 2015. It helps that a majority of Brazilian gamers choose mobile as their preferred platform.

Strategy games like Clash Royale and Clash of Kings are the big hits in the country, earning the most downloads and ad revenue.

Mexico
Number of mobile game players: 33.8 million
Smartphone penetration: 40.7%
Average CPI: $0.64

Mexico is LatAm’s second largest smartphone market after Brazil. And due to price cuts after government efforts to abolish telecom provider America Movil’s monopoly, the number of smartphone and internet users in the country is expected to rise.

The people of Mexico seem to have an affinity for pocket-sized sports, with multiple soccer titles making it into the top downloaded games. Casino and Trivia games also earn plenty or revenue for developers.

India
Number of mobile game players: 244 million
Smartphone penetration: 22.4%
Average CPI: $0.65

Although India’s population is almost as big as China’s, the world’s most lucrative mobile game market, revenue is still hampered by payment barriers and a low percentage of paying users. Still, as the second largest advertising market next to the US, developers can thrive here through freemium games and mobile ads.

If developers aim to capture Indian hearts, they should start with Strategy games, which users spend an average of 26 minutes a day playing, or Card games steeped in local culture like Teen Patti, which occupy multiple spots in the top grossing charts.

Indonesia
Number of mobile game players: 35 million
Smartphone penetration: 20.7%
Average CPI: $0.78

The world’s largest archipelago is Southeast Asia’s most profitable mobile market. Even with fewer gamers than India, Indonesians spend 84% more. But besides great IAP sales, the market also benefits from ads. Advertisers saw installs from ads triple just last year.

Developers who want to cash in on Indonesia’s growth should pay attention to the popularity of Multiplayer games in the region, as attested by Mobile Legends: Bang Bang’s placement at the top of both most downloaded and top grossing charts. As in Mexico, Casino and Trivia games also earn plenty of revenue in Indonesia.

Thailand
Number of mobile game players: 17.6 million
Smartphone penetration: 40.5%
Average CPI: $0.72

Thailand has a relatively small user base compared to India and Indonesia, but regardless Thai players are lighting up Indochina with a flurry of activity. The country has surpassed Canada in number of smartphone users, and recently saw an 86% surge in IAP purchase buying.

Games with the highest CPI in Thailand are Casino, Card, and Sports games. Besides localizing art-style to appeal to Thai players, developers should consider working with LINE, whose games in the country.

Mobile is taking off in Latin America and Asia. But each country still has its own unique nuances, and developers should be aware of player preferences and local trends if they want to take full advantage of the momentum from emerging markets.

For help setting up attribution for these markets, just reach out to us at any time.

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