Despite the pandemic and restrictions on movement over the past two years, Southeast Asians celebrating Ramadan have been resilient. This year felt different and celebratory as family reunions became possible. Family, friends and togetherness were the focus. The need to share time, space and happiness has never been stronger.
I saw a surge of activity in the brand marketing warrooms as my team and marketers planned campaigns that highlighted the opportunity to share the occasion. Recognizing the mood, they planned to break through the festive noise and reach their target audience through personalized advertising and trusted channels.
SHAREit has served as a channel for those in emerging markets to share non-gaming or gaming apps, shopping recommendations, and entertainment or educational content over the past several years.
This Ramadan has revealed key consumer behaviors for app sharing that will endure for the future. We compared the categories of apps shared during Ramadan in 2022 to last year’s on SHAREit.
The growing importance of app sharing in emerging markets
Do people “share” apps? I’ve heard this question many times. App sharing has grown tremendously over the past five years, driven in part by the huge populations in emerging markets like the Philippines, Indonesia in Southeast Asia, Latin America and Africa.
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It started mainly in areas where internet infrastructure was not well established, but digital adoption increased. People started sharing apps that make their life easier or more useful with friends and family.
Heavy apps that would take a long time to download from the Internet could be quickly transferred between peers via SHAREit. Now over 10 million apps are shared on SHAREit every day.
The app economy has grown massively due to the increasingly affordable use of smartphones and the increasing mobilization of the world population. The size of the global mobile applications market was estimated at US$154.05 billion in 2019 and is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11.5 percent from 2020 to 2027.
Over the course of 2021, over two million new apps and games were released, bringing the total number of apps released to date to over 21 million, according to App Annie’s State of Mobile 2022 report.
Consumer spending on mobile apps hit $170 billion in 2021. Today’s download growth is mainly driven by emerging markets like India, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia and Egypt.
Gaming reaches a new peak during the holiday season
Southeast Asia is one of the fastest growing gaming markets in the world. COVID-19 has also accelerated the rise of mobile gaming as consumers turned to gaming to beat the lockdown blues.
As the practice of social distancing kept consumer and business activities to a minimum, gaming proved to be a distraction and engaging activity for people at home looking for social interactions. We have seen immense demand for racing, simulation and elimination games in markets like the Philippines and Indonesia.
Interestingly, despite the fact that during this Ramadan break people were finally able to meet again and social gatherings took place, gaming continued to increase. In Indonesia people share several games like action, arcade, simulation, casual and board games. Board games’ share was significant, growing by 95 percent, but trivia games led among all game types, more than doubling their share from the previous year.
As travel restrictions are eased, vacations come first
Another interesting trend that stood out was the sharing of travel apps. A travel boom is emerging and we are seeing increased interest, particularly in domestic travel.
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According to a recent survey in Southeast Asia, respondents from the Philippines and Indonesia showed the greatest willingness to travel domestically.
The share of travel apps increased by 69 percent after Ramadan as people wanted to plan vacations and getaways after the holidays. This is extremely good news for travel brands, which have been the longest exposed to the brunt of the pandemic, suffering from people being inactive and even uninstalling apps.
Increase sharing of apps related to food and fitness
Food is the focus of most festivals. While the share of food apps grew by 109 percent during Ramadan as people searched for new recipes to cook and order delicacies, the share of health and fitness apps increased by 23 percent.
Grocery delivery has been one of the fastest growing app industries globally, becoming a much-needed tool in consumers’ lives to order groceries safely, socially distanced and conveniently. Sessions on food and drink apps will hit 62 billion in 2021, according to App Annie. The rise and boom in usage and sharing of food apps will continue.
Medical app sharing is skyrocketing
With increased health awareness, people have become more aware of where their food comes from, what they eat, and how they exercise and exercise.
During the Ramadan season, we have seen people in Indonesia addressing meal plans, suhoor and iftar schedules, drinking guidelines, common side effects and how to deal with them. The share of medical apps increased by 491 percent.
Consultation with doctors via video conferencing has gained immense popularity due to the pandemic and is no longer uncommon.
According to App Annie, global health and fitness app downloads in 2021 exceeded pre-COVID-19 levels, despite moderating slightly from a 2020 pandemic-related high in most countries. The top five meditation apps worldwide saw consumer spending grow 27 percent year-over-year.
Gaming, travel, food and fitness as well as medical app landscapes will continue to grow. It is critical for the players and app developers in this segment to ensure they meet these growing consumer demands, adapt to their habits and lifestyles as they evolve, and remain disruption-ready.
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How the app-sharing economy keeps up with current trends first appeared on e27.