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Almost 41% of UAE users downloaded paid apps in last 30 days

Almost 41% of UAE users downloaded paid apps in last 30 days

A survey, which polled smartphone users in Saudi Arabia, UAE, Lebanon and Egypt, found that more than 50 per cent of users downloaded more than five apps in the last month.

About 41 per cent of users in the UAE downloaded paid apps in the last 30 days, according to a new study by mobile market research firm On Device Research.

The results from the study, which sampled 500 smartphone users each in Egypt, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, were presented during the ongoing ArabNet exhibition.

More than 50 per cent of users in these four countries downloaded more than five apps, both paid and free, in the last one month, the report found. The figure was relatively higher in Saudi Arabia where 51 per cent of users downloaded paid apps.

Games and social media apps were the most popular among downloads in the region, indicating that the Middle East is a thriving market for app developers.

The study also looked at the number of in-app purchases that were done by users in the region.

Around 44 per cent of the consumers did an in-app purchase, the poll showed. Out of that 39 per cent said that they paid to avoid advertisements while around 37 per cent of them said that they paid to get additional content.

“People are more willing to pay to get more content, which is good news for the region,” said Nader Kobeissi, managing director, MENA, On Device Research.

“We also looked at whether the same people who paid for the apps do the in-app purchases and the answer is pretty much yes. Only three per cent paid for an app and did not do an in app purchase. To me it is that if you get somebody to pay for the app, you will definitely get somebody to pay for an app again.”

According to Kobeissi, there is still an untapped potential in the market.

“Around 53 per cent have never bought apps so there is still a significant opportunity for app developers to tap into the market and ways to monetise these people.”

He also noted a few barriers regarding app purchases in the four countries that were surveyed.

“One of the reasons that people don’t spend too much on apps is that they have trust issues with the mobile payments or they have privacy issues where they don’t want to give personal details,” said Kobeissi.

“But that is not the number one reason here in the region. Users are looking for apps and they want to buy them but they don’t find the right ones. That is pretty good news for the developers.”

He urged developers to create Arabic language apps to cater to the demand in the region.

“The average (number of people looking for Arabic apps) in the region is 68 per cent, the highest was in Saudi Arabia with 81 per cent while the lowest was the UAE at 39 per cent.”

The presence of expats in the UAE, who are actively downloading apps, skewed the numbers, said Kobeissi.

“But if you look only at Emiratis and other Arab expats then that percentage is as high as 68 per cent,” he clarified.

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