App Localization for Emerging Markets: Opportunities and Challenges

Major app stores such as App Store and Play Store have millions of mobile apps. There is no doubt that competition is fierce. Therefore, as a mobile developer or marketer, it is essential to find creative and effective ways to attract more users. The most important of these marketing strategies is localization. With markets growing globally, expanding into them can dramatically improve your app's success. But while emerging markets offer great opportunities, they also present challenges.

In this post, we'll look at the importance of app localization for emerging markets, the opportunities it presents, and the challenges you need to overcome to succeed.

Emerging mobile app market

Did you know that the mobile application market size in 2022 is $206.85 billion? Moreover, the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of the mobile app market from 2023 to 2030 is approximately 13.8%. Other estimates put this figure higher at 22.97%. This has made the mobile app industry one of the largest markets spread across the globe. No matter which report you read, there is no doubt that the mobile app market is only getting bigger.

What's more interesting is that gone are the days when the United States was the world leader in mobile app downloads. China was the leading country for app downloads, reaching up to 111 billion in 2022, according to Statista. India followed suit with 29 billion downloads by people in the same year. This is followed by the United States, which generated approximately 12.24 billion downloads.

Of course, we should not ignore the other countries in the top ten. To see if other countries are included in the top 10 list and to give you an idea of ​​how many downloads there are in each country, you should check:

  • China: 111 billion app downloads
  • India: 29 billion app downloads
  • United States: 12.24 billion app downloads
  • Brazil: 10.61 billion app downloads
  • Indonesia: 7.7 billion app downloads
  • Russia: 5.48 billion app downloads
  • Mexico: 5.08 billion app downloads
  • Türkiye: 3.73 billion app downloads
  • Vietnam: 3.52 billion app downloads
  • Philippines: 3.49 billion app downloads
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As you can see, there is a huge market outside of the United States waiting for you to tap into. To give you an idea of ​​what you're missing, the total number of app downloads in these countries is nearly 180 billion, excluding the United States. With this in mind, you should start creating a localization strategy to enter new global markets.

What are the new opportunities for app localization?

There are many exciting opportunities to explore, especially when it comes to app localization for emerging markets. Let's take a closer look at some of these:

1. Market expansion

Localizing apps allows businesses to expand into new and different markets and connect with customers around the world. This approach opens the door to untapped user bases in various geographies, potentially leading to increased downloads, increased user engagement, and improved revenue.

2. Improved user engagement

Tailoring your app content to your users' linguistic and cultural preferences provides a unique opportunity to improve the overall user experience. This ultimately leads to increased engagement, increased loyalty, and positive reviews. The more relatable and user-friendly your users find your app, the greater your satisfaction and connection with your audience.

3. Increase downloads and visibility

Harnessing the power of localization provides a significant opportunity to increase downloads and increase visibility. Studies have shown that apps with localized descriptions in the native language tend to have higher download rates. This strategy offers two benefits. This means that not only will it contribute to increased visibility within the app store, but it can also potentially increase the number of downloads and ultimately boost your app's ranking.

4. Sales growth

Localization provides significant opportunities for revenue growth through expanded market share and increased sales. Businesses can take advantage of these benefits by customizing their products to the specific needs and preferences of different markets and maximizing their revenue potential.

5. Competitive advantage

Having a localized app provides a significant opportunity to gain a competitive advantage in a crowded marketplace. By demonstrating a commitment to user satisfaction, localized apps stand out from the competition. The benefits are clear. The idea is to provide a more customized and comprehensive user experience compared to other products on the market, ultimately positioning it differently and reaching a broader user base.

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What are the challenges of app localization?

With every opportunity comes challenges. Rejecting these challenges will only delay the growth of your app. Therefore, it is important to become familiar with these issues so that you can quickly create a game plan on how to resolve them. The most pressing challenges in localizing apps are:

1. Linguistic and cultural nuances

Successfully adapting content for a global audience requires going beyond literal translation and a deep understanding of cultural nuances and idioms. The impact of misinterpretation during this process can range from a breakdown in communication to, in more serious cases, potential harm to brand reputation.

2. Technological adaptation

Technical adaptation poses a significant challenge when localizing apps and requires accommodating different technical requirements. This includes troubleshooting issues such as text length variations and right-to-left languages. The impact of this issue is evident in the potential for creating inconsistent or poorly implemented user interfaces, which in turn can hinder the overall user experience and functionality of the app.

3. Legal and regulatory compliance

Legal and compliance issues during app localization include adhering to each target market's legal obligations, including compliance with data protection laws. The potential implications of failing to meet these requirements are significant and can result in legal issues, financial penalties, or serious damage to your brand reputation.

4. Resource intensity

App localization is resource-intensive and requires significant investment of time, manpower, and financial resources. The impact of inadequate resources can lead to subpar localization efforts and reduce the overall quality of your app, especially in certain markets where thorough adaptation is critical for success.

5. Be consistent

One of the challenges of app localization is maintaining consistency across different language versions, including branding and user interface elements. The impact of this issue is significant, as inconsistent messaging can confuse users and dilute the overall brand identity. This highlights the importance of careful attention to uniformity throughout the localization process.

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6. Testing and quality assurance

Rigorous testing and quality assurance are important aspects of the app localization process. Failure to address these issues can have serious consequences, including identifying and correcting linguistic and functional problems. Overlooking thorough testing can lead to bugs, errors, and suboptimal user experiences, ultimately leading to negative reviews and reduced user satisfaction.

7. App Store Optimization (ASO)

App Store Optimization (ASO) poses challenges to the localization process as it involves carefully tuning app store metadata and optimizing content for each target market. The impact of inefficient ASO can be significant, potentially leading to reduced visibility and lower download speeds in certain areas. Therefore, a thoughtful and strategic approach to ASO is important to ensure your app’s success in various markets.

Value added by MobileAction

MobileAction's localization tool provides an overview of your app's localized ASO elements (title, subtitle, description) and their performance in active countries. This helps you identify effective localization strategies, identify potential regions for future localization, and gain insight into your competitors' global strategies. By analyzing localized content, understanding top countries, and comparing the approaches of different apps, you can improve your app's localization strategy to strengthen your market presence.

Effectively penetrate emerging markets

Localizing your app can be a difficult but rewarding process. While various obstacles can hinder successful expansion into new markets, the right localization opens the door to new opportunities.

This is a guest post from ShyftUp, a leading ASO agency, highlighting the transformative power of app localization. With the relevant knowledge, skills, and tools, we can help you localize your app, ensure a smooth process, and position your app for the next level of success.

Schedule a demo with ShyftUp today!

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