Untapped markets

Horace Dediu, tweeting as @asymco, regularly posts data he has collected on the mobile market. His analysis is consistently fresh and interesting, making him a must-follow on Twitter (along with Jose Furtado, @jafurtado, the most prolific tweeter in publishing).

Dediu recently tweeted a link to a summary chart of the "100 largest unaddressed iPhone markets". The analysis, which excludes China and India, estimates the number of potential smartphone users not currently on the iOS device. Dediu found:

  • There are 11 countries with 40 million or more potential customers, starting with Pakistan, the Russian Federation, Nigeria and Bangladesh, as well as markets like the United States and Japan.
  • There are 20 countries with 20 million or more potential customers, with the second bunch ranging from Algeria, Colombia and Kenya through to Uzbekistan, Italy and Ghana.

Understandably, many of these markets would see a $300 iPhone as an incredible luxury, and Apple has more than enough reason to keep its device prices high in developed countries. That's not the lesson I took away from Dediu's chart, though.

As digital content and its accompanying metadata go global, there are literally hundreds of millions of potential smartphone customers in a wide range of emerging markets. These markets won't come online all at once, and many will take time to develop.

But this is the time to be thinking about those new markets. Publishers who can understand and meet the content needs of consumers in those markets will be well-positioned to take advantage of what are currently drawing-board opportunities.

About Brian O'Leary

Founder and principal of Magellan Media Consulting, Brian O’Leary helps enterprises with media and publishing components capitalize on the power of content. A veteran of more than 30 years in the publishing industry and a prolific content producer himself, Brian leverages the breadth and depth of his experience to deliver innovative content solutions.