Market Facts and Trends
- With over 2.2 billion smartphone users worldwide, the mobile market easily outnumbers the broadband internet market. This, combined with advances in smartphone technology, means the mobile device is the future of all advertising. As device manufacturers provide handsets with embedded applications such as Facebook and You Tube, the groundwork has been laid for greater UGC (user generated content) and as such, it will become the ultimate advertising platform that will reside in people’s pockets, no matter where they are or when they access their phones.
- The Net Generation in the Middle East: Born after 1977, the Middle East presents a unique swathe of Net Generation users, for whom all things digital come as second nature and who therefore embrace technological advances and who are prepared to spend higher than average proportions of their income on media and content consumption.
- Traditional media (print) still plays an important role in the Middle East due to the established newspaper reading culture.
- Literacy plays an important role and has a direct impact on traditional printed media and there are wide differences from country to country in the region. For example in Morocco and Yemen the average literacy level is around 50%, compared to 90% in Kuwait, UAE and Qatar. This results in disparities from country to country where literacy levels are low and visual mediums such as TV have a higher importance attached to it, compared to print media.
- Broadband penetration – low and slow broadband penetration remain major constraints to the wholesale adoption of modern media methods and again vary from country to country. Typical barriers to improvement in this sector include cultural barriers, high retail pricing and poor telecommunications access network infrastructures.
- Despite the high costs of implementing and developing telecommunications access network infrastructures across large geographical areas, the mobile phone is rapidly emerging as a rival means to broadband access and internet content delivery and is increasingly providing an alternative way of watching TV on the go via IPTV technology.
- Broadband penetration in the Middle East will grow strongly, supporting social network growth and e-commerce development.
- Tablet adoption will rise quickly in the region as multiple devices enter the market, creating new content opportunities.
- Facebook will open up new opportunities for Arabic language marketing.
- The swelling numbers of consumers online across MENA will force more consumer brands, retailers and consumer service companies to embrace digital.
- The Arab world’s online shopping market will become broader-based, providing consumers with new choice and web ventures with new opportunities.
- Online Arabic language content will remain an issue of concern for the region, but opportunities for Arabic content will continue to grow, perhaps faster than ever before.
- Independent online media launches will continue, whilst traditional media continue to procrastinate about online.
- A new generation of specialised blogs will emerge in the Middle East
- We will see more social change and social initiatives driven by online media, with people finding new ways to work together to achieve community objectives.