5 Ways the MENA Region is Turning Digital

5 Ways the MENA Region is Turning Digital
August 15, 2018 David Mel
5 Ways the MENA Region is Turning Digital

Written by: Simon Batt

The MENA region probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when you think of a bustling digital market. Did you know, however, that the MENA region has adopted the digital age with a lot of passion, and is growing at an alarming rate on a year-by-year basis? This makes it a prime market for smartphone developers who want to publish their game in a bustling, but not too competitive, app market.

Here are five areas where the MENA market is shining in this new digital age:

1. Gaming

The MENA market has been a big fan of video games since the Playstation 2 era. Sony’s influence in this market has been huge ever since, with people reporting a 60% share of the market being held by Sony.

That’s not to say the market only cares about consoles, however. Smartphones hit the MENA world big time, with 63% of the total population subscribing to a mobile phone network. Of course, all those users will want the hot new games on their phones; as a result, MENA users alone accounted for 26% of the global mobile gaming market in 2017!

2. Game Development

With the MENA market’s love for games, it’s only natural that its residents want to make their own too! Game development is gradually becoming recognized as a legitimate career to pursue. This is thanks to the growth of game development conferences drumming up interest and support in the region, such as the Digital Games Conference in Dubai. There’s even a friendly video game development contest called Game Zanga, where budding developers make a game in a short amount of time.

3. Web Surfing

Video gaming isn’t the only area where the MENA region is shining. The region has a 64.5% penetration rate of users that regularly use the internet, which is above the global average of 54.1%. Not only has the region embraced the new internet age, they’re doing so at a greater rate than the rest of the world!

4. Social Media

Along with their keen web-browsing habits, the MENA region has taken to social media very well. One of their more favored channels is WhatsApp, as shown in a survey where 80-90% of residents in most regions stated they used the app. The MENA region ranked in the top three global markets for SnapChat, and the majority of women in the UAE and Saudi Arabia use Twitter as a news source. Other popular apps such as Facebook and Instagram see healthy usage, too.

The MENA region’s love for social media can also be seen in its YouTube usage, where it comes second in the world for video views per day. With a whopping 310 million views coming from the Middle East and North Africa area, they’re one of the biggest consumers of video content on the internet.

5. E-Commerce

With the MENA region embracing the digital world more and more every year, online shopping has naturally become a staple within daily life. 62% of residents used online shopping in 2017, which is a 25% increase in the amount of people who claimed the same im 2016. This isn’t just for small items, though; UAE residents spent an average $332 per online purchase. The total spent in 2016 on e-commerce was $20 million USD, which is more than India’s!

As you can see, the digital world of the MENA market is growing at an alarming rate. Yet, despite this, it still remains a somewhat untapped market. As such, this is the best time to establish a foothold in the MENA region while the market is still open for newcomers.