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Mobile Marketing

Brazil: The App Economy is About to Explode

As emerging economies go, Brazil is red

Its population is vast, young, and ready to
engage with new technologies via their smartphones. Despite this, the country’s
home-grown tech companies have yet to make an impact on the local business
scene in the same way that US or Chinese companies have dominated their home
markets. That’s not to say there aren’t local success stories – read on for
more details – but it does mean that there is still time and space to make a
big noise in what is essentially a really big market.

In a market ripe for disruption, there is
still time to become the Brazilian Apple, Amazon, Alphabet, or Alibaba and, as is
the case in similar markets, the smartphone will be the catalyst for Brazil’s
soon to be discovered unicorn brands. If you are looking for a new, exciting,
and potentially high-growth opportunity, Brazil might just be the place to find

Economy with Real Scale

With a population of more than 212 million, Brazil is not
only South America’s most populated country, it ranks as the fifth most
populous country in the world (behind China, India, the United States, and
Indonesia), it is also an incredibly youthful country, with 69 percent of its
population under the age of 30.

Note: If, as an app developer, the promise of targeting a population
where the vast majority of people fall into the category of Millennial or
Generation Z doesn’t raise your pulse, you should probably seek medical help as
a matter of urgency.

Z – Will the Smartphone Generation Change the Way We Work

Love Their Smartphones

As is the case in many other emerging
economies, smartphones are the primary method of accessing digital services in
Brazil with 71 percent of Brazilians owning a smartphone (compared to just 38
percent of people who own a laptop or desktop device). Smartphone penetration
rates in Brazil are in line with global averages and much higher than other
emerging economies like India where smartphone penetration is only around the
40 percent mark.

Android devices dominate the market with an
84 percent market share with Samsung accounting for 42 percent of device sales
(reasonably priced devices like the Galaxy J5 lead the way), followed by
Motorola with 24 percent. Apple devices sit in third place with less than 14
percent of the market.

A Smart Future Built on Affordable Devices

Internet Users

Brazilians spend upwards of nine hours per
day connected to the Internet. This is compared to 6.3 hours (31 percent less)
in the United States and just 5.8 hours in the United Kingdom.

Upwards of 90 percent of Internet users in
Brazil access online services via their smartphones, compared to just 38
percent on a laptop, 37 percent on a desktop, and 17 percent on a tablet.

Much of this time is spent on online chat
(83 percent), social networks (56 percent), and streaming music services (44
percent) – perhaps highlighting the young, urban demographic of the typical
Brazilian smartphone user.

This heavy Internet use can also be seen in
the decline of other media. While the number of hours spent online increased by
4 percent between 2014 and 2016, the number of hours watching TV fell by 2
percent and listening to the radio by 3 percent.

Interestingly, the number of hours spent
consuming print media remained static.

Importance of the Brazilian Market to Global Brands

Just because Brazil is referred to as an
emerging economy, doesn’t mean that global corporations aren’t already seeing
real critical mass in the market.

Brazil boasts more than 130 million
Facebook users making it the social networks third largest user-base.
Similarly, Instagram has more than 50 million Brazilian users, making it their
second largest user base in the world.

Similar patterns can be seen in other
popular social networks like Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. Meanwhile,
WhatsApp is the most commonly used communication app in the country with a
staggering 91 percent penetration rate amongst Internet users.

The gaming industry is also incredibly
buoyant in Brazil with an estimated 60 million gamers generating more than $1.3
billion in annual revenue.


In terms of app usage, Brazilians are also
heavy hitters.

The country downloads more than 6 billion
apps every year, making it the fourth largest global consumer of apps.

The average Brazilian smartphone user has
83 apps installed on their device and will use up to 12 services every day.

The local market doesn’t only consume apps,
it also makes them and currently ranks as the fourth largest app producer in
the world. As such, Brazil has its fair share of local success stories in the
smartphone ecosystem.

Success Stories

PlayKids, produced by the Brazilian mobile
services company Movile, is one of the top-grossing children’s apps of all
time. The app which offers educational content and service is now available in
more than 180 countries and has more than 5 million active subscribers.

Cool for School – Education Apps

Tapping into the growing popularity of
mindfulness, Brazilian developers also saw huge success with the adult drawing
and coloring app Colorfy which has more than 90 million users and was the
second most downloaded free app in 2015.

a Smartphone App Really Help Improve Our Mental Health?

Looking for something more energetic –
you’re sure to find something to entertain you coming out of Brazil’s
burgeoning games scene – with the countries 375+ games studios producing upwards
of 1,700 games titles in 2018.

Room to Grow

Despite such heavy app usage already, there
is still plenty of space for the Brazilian app market to grow. If it follows
current trends in North America, smartphone ownership could grow by upwards of
10 percent in the coming years. And with youth on its side, there is no reason
why, as the economy grows, it cannot surpass this and further challenge more
mature markets.


As the smartphone continues to disrupt the
media landscape in Brazil, there is also the potential to take more money from
competitive channels.

Despite losing share to the mobile devices,
television still dominates media spend in the country with 55 percent of the
total investment in media and advertising going to broadcast and Pay TV. This
is compared to 31 percent in the United States and China where the bulk of
investment (52 and 58 percent respectively) now goes to digital channels.

It is this extra capacity in terms of
growth potential and revenue that will potentially tip the balance from the
traditional brands that dominate the business scene in Brazil to more
disruptive technologies.


There are, however, a number of roadblocks
that need to be cleared before Brazil can call itself a true contender in the
mobile arena.

These roadblocks are commonly seen across a
number of emerging economies and include:

  • Smartphone proliferation has
    yet to filter out of the urban environment and be widely adopted by older and
    more rural demographics.
  • Internet speeds tend to be
    slower than in many other mature economies.
  • eCommerce is still in its
    infancy in Brazil and requires significant investment in numerous areas if it
    is to become a viable alternative to traditional retail.
  • While Brazilians are avid
    consumers of content via their mobile devices, they are not yet making a
    significant number of transactions via their devices.

The good news is that none of these
roadblocks are unsurmountable and small changes will make significant changes
which will then be amplified by the size of the opportunity afforded by the
size of the market.

Turbine – Feet on the Ground

The team at Digital Turbine have long been
excited about the opportunities available to app developers in the Brazilian
market and, as such have invested heavily in the region with a physical
presence to ensure the best possible relationships with popular device
manufacturers and mobile networks in the region.

This means our pre-loaded app campaigns
have the best possible reach and engagement opportunities at a price that
enables app developers to explore and further develop their activities in this exciting

To learn how Digital Turbine can help your
next app marketing campaign hit the ground running in maximize your potential
in Brazil, contact one of our local pre-loading experts today.

Marissa Camilli

By Marissa Delisle

Marketing Specialist

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