Examining the Mobile App Development Sector in Brazil

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A Closer Look at Brazil’s App Development Market

Brazil is a bit of an oddity when it comes to technology, as for many years the adoption of smartphones was something of an anomaly. When Apple released its first iPhone in 2007, a large portion of the world sat up and took notice, but in Brazil, it took a good few years for the mobile revolution to kick into gear. In 2013, Brazil boasted the 7th largest economy in the world, but according to Google, smartphone market penetration in the country stood at only 26%.

However a few short years later smartphone adoption began to increase at a dramatic pace, and by the 3rd quarter of 2016 smartphone sales had grown 48% more than the same period in 2014. This catapulted national smartphone usage rates to over 53%, and an estimated 76.1 million out of 125 million Brazilian mobile phone users now own a smartphone.

A Fast Growing Mobile Market

It is estimated that between 2014 and 2019, the Brazilian smartphone market will grow at an incredible 25.97% CAGR, as the use of smartphones continues to skyrocket nationally. Already, as many as 24% of Brazilians conduct financial transactions via their phones, clearly illustrating just how eagerly they are prepared to embrace mobile services that are monetised.

Although the majority of Brazilian smartphone users are under the age of 29, the most significant growth has been recorded in the over-35 demographic. This is evidence that the older generation is now engaging with mobile technology, and a wider audience is developing.

The growth of mobile use and the rapid adoption of smartphones in the last 4 years is proof that Brazil has become increasingly tech-friendly. This mobile trend is one that Brazilian businesses are readily able to capitalize on, and the development of highly localized apps has increased tenfold. The mobile marketplace is also open to developers from across the globe, and any app developers who are able to create products that cater to the South American marketplace specifically should see good returns.

Digital Dealings

It’s only to be expected that with a boom in smartphone adoption comes a boom in app development. According to a study competed by App Annie, the number of locally developed apps in Brazil doubled between 2013 and 2014. This caused the value of iTunes and Google Play-based apps to grow by 40%, which is a marked increase from just a single country. A 2015 OpinionBox study also showed that more than 39.5% of smartphone users in Brazil purchased in-app content, illustrating that apps are not only becoming increasingly popular, they are also very profitable.

This creates not only the ideal opportunity for local businesses to capture the attention of those who have become entrenched in the mobile sector, but it also offers opportunities for those further afield to both develop apps and to spread their knowledge and teach developers new skills. A well-established web and mobile development company could teach Brazilian developers a lot about creating apps that are user friendly and that will generate maximum revenue, and there is plenty of space for established companies to claim ground in Brazil and work within the app development sector. This will benefit the Brazilian economy in multiple ways, and it will drive employment figures upwards, as a new tech-embracing generation emerges.

What’s been termed as the ‘app economy’ globally has yet to really come into its own in Brazil, but now that smartphone use is rapidly increasing, there are so many opportunities for developers, and for those looking to go in to the field. There is also the opportunity for businesses to diversify and expand their offerings, and this should drive revenue up too.

Overcoming Hurdles

As with every emerging market there are always hurdles that need to be jumped and potential pitfalls that need to be navigated. In Brazil, the instability of the economy is the biggest hurdle as it affects the way users engage with their smartphones. Brazilian mobile operator Oi ran a poll to determine how Brazilians accessed the Internet using their mobile device, and the results showed that 68% of smartphone users relied on free Wi-F hotspots to connect to the Internet. This was proof that cost remains a huge factor in the mobile sector, and the fact that Brazilians also prefer Android powered mobile devices to the far more expensive iPhones speaks volumes.

Despite the market being incredibly cash conscious, many businesses have found a way to hold the attention of consumers without incurring massive costs themselves. There has been a wave of DIY app building services that are affordable, and have spurred on the development of apps that are more localised, rather than offer a one size fits all solution. This has led to a large number of small apps suited to individual needs being created, and Brazilians have been quick to cotton on to this idea.

There are already well over 80,000 Brazilian-centric apps, but as many of the DIY app builders only cost developers- or wannabe developers- R$3 a month for access to their platform, the numbers are not surprising. These apps cover just about everything, from local soccer scores to those that connect users with neighbourhood restaurants, but their quality is not always that good. Of these 80,000+ apps in circulation, only a 3rd or so are actually of decent quality and perform properly on their native platform, the others are simply subpar DIY builds that offer a less than stellar experience.

For any app development company that can create apps that are cost effective and high quality, the Brazilian mobile market is one that deserves a look-in. The market looks set to continue its skyward climb in the next few years, despite being on somewhat shaky ground economically. You can’t stop progress, and now that Brazilians have a taste for what their smartphones can do, the popularity of apps will only keep increasing.


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