Rebecca Hawkes | 26-09-2013
Smartphone use in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) will double this year to 112.2 million, up from 67 million in 2012, according to new research – which can only be good news for those involved in mobile video in the region.
The increase will help to propel the region to the world's second largest mobile phone penetration after the Asia-Pacific, according to eMarketer's latest Global Media Intelligence Report, produced in collaboration with Starcom MediaVest Group.
"The No 2 region in terms of the number of mobile phone owners is the Middle East and Africa, where 525.8 million people of any age are expected to use a mobile phone at least monthly this year – significantly more than in North America or Western Europe," states the report.
Internet users in MEA will increase to 260 million in 2013, from 102 million in 2008, while smartphone users now account for 21.3% of mobile phone users in the region, up from just 1.5% in 2009, says eMarketer.
In addition, social network use has skyrocketed in the region, with 209.8 million people from the Middle East and Africa accessing social media in 2013, compared with 45.5 million in 2008.
"Despite the rapid rise in smartphone penetration, the region remains last in the world by this metric, which helps explain why mobile internet ad spending in the region is still the lowest in the world, at an anticipated US$50.4 million this year," says the report.
"That represents 140% growth compared to 2012 spending levels, but is far behind regional totals elsewhere in the world, even for other emerging markets like Latin America ($150 million) or Central and Eastern Europe ($162 million), which have smaller mobile populations but larger populations of smartphone users and users of the mobile internet."
With a total advertising spend of US$19.28 billion in 2012, the regional spend on digital advertising is $1.35 billion – equivalent of just 1.1% billion of the total spent worldwide.