Are Mobile Applications the next Big Thing in Doha ?

Qatar has one of the highest mobile penetration rates at over 85% with smartphones accounting for 50% of internet connected devices.  In the 15-24 yrs bracket, mobile penetration is 100% with 98% of these devices connected. Qatar’s population is around 5 million people which translate to a mobile base of over 4.25 million. These are mouthwatering numbers for mobile app developers in Doha.

Encouraging Statistics

The statistics of mobile usage and internet connectivity should spur mobile app developers who are looking for a growing market.

  • 85% of households have a broadband connection up from 80% in 2010
  • Households have an average of 2 computers, 3 mobile phones and 1 smartphone
  • Mobile penetration is 100% in the 15-24 yrs. bracket of which 98% are connected to the internet
  • 59% of internet users are looking for goods and services, 50% are downloading software, 35% are downloading games and 25% are doing online purchases
  • Mobile based e-commerce was estimates were $0.45 billion in 2015 up from $0.4 billion in 2012
  • The biggest social media networks for Qatari nationals are Whatsapp (97%), Instagram (65%), BBM (48%), Twitter (46%), Facebook (44%) and Snapchat (39%)
Areas of Opportunity

The top 5 uses of internet connection for Qataris are;

  • watching movies, downloading, or music videos 69%
  • downloading and reading newspapers and magazines 59%
  • Searching for information on products and services 55%
  • Searching ,downloading and installing software 50%
  • Searching government organizations 45%

Another notable use is that game related traffic account for 35% of internet usage.

Smartphones account for 75% of the mobiles in Qatar. 72% of smartphone owners are ages 32 years and below.  The smartphone platforms share is as follows;

  • Android -40%
  • iOS- 35%
  • Blackberry -15%
  • Windows – 10%
Mobile App Industry

There are 11 leading mobile app development firms in Doha. The most popular apps are for photography and social networking. Android app development can exploit the demand for social networking and photography as seen by the top free Android apps

  • Whatsapp
  • Messenger
  • IMO free video
  • Facebook
  • ShareIt

The top free apps on iOS show that iOS app development on social networking is also a good growing opportunity.

  • Bitmoji keyboard
  • Prisma
  • Geopets
  • Lumyer
  • Whatsapp
Growing Trend

Qatar is the fourth biggest user of Facebook in the MENA region. However, the biggest social networking apps are Whatsapp, Instagram, Twitter, BBM, Facebook and Snapchat in that order. This shows that the Twitter and Facebook still have room to grow, which is a good sign as these networks have lots of room for app development.