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5 opportunities to make a splash in developing markets in 2020

The latest edition of Webcertain Search And Social Report has just been published, and it highlights some interesting opportunities for global brands.

Not all countries are at the same level of development, but the internet is a powerful leveller, and there are certain countries that are embracing it with a passion.

This blog post will look at five emerging markets that we’ve identified as being of particular relevance to brands wanting to get that first-mover advantage over their competitors.

1. India

Over half a billion Indians are online. That figure is impressive enough in itself, but it becomes even more significant when you realise it represents just 40% of the country’s population. That’s right, this massive market isn’t even close to being digitally mature. Over half the population aren’t even online yet, but internet adoption is rising fast, so if you want to enter this enormous market, now is the time to do so. Just bear one thing in mind: there’s a big shift in online content happening at the moment, away from English and towards local languages, in particular Hindi. Do your research and produce your content in the right language for the region you’re targeting.

2. China

China is such a global powerhouse that it can feel strange to think of it as a “developing” market. However, when you realise that China’s internet penetration rate is still as low as 59%, you realise that its online customer base still has a lot of growth ahead of it. If you’re thinking of entering China, the time to do so is now. But remember, the platforms you’ll need to be on will be very different from the ones you’re used to: SEO and PPC should focus on Baidu and Sogou, and your social media marketing efforts should focus on WeChat.

3. Mexico

Mexico is an ideal market for US businesses, especially those with a physical presence in the southernmost states. With 68% of Mexicans currently online, that’s a decent market and the fact it still has plenty of room to grow makes it even more appealing. If your business sells physical products, be aware that the most popular e-commerce site for Mexicans is Mercado Libre. And of course, make sure your content is translated into Mexican Spanish.

4. Russia

Almost 110 million Russians are already online, but that’s still just 75% of the total Russian population. With a quarter of its citizens still to come online, Russia is an important market that it would be wise to enter now whilst it’s still growing. Be aware that the platforms you’ll have to use will be slightly different from what you’re used to. There are two major search engines – Google and Yandex – and it is a good idea to include both of them in your search marketing efforts. The Russian social media landscape includes some unfamiliar names too, such as VK and Odnoklassniki.

5. Romania

Romania is an interesting country, from a digital point of view. Whilst its current internet penetration is low, its digital potential is very high. Let’s explore a little further. Currently, just 75% of Romanians are online, far below the European average. However, those who are online are avid internet users, spending an average of 7 hours and 21 minutes online every day! Not only that, but Romania has the fastest fixed internet speeds in Europe, and the fourth fastest in the world. With such enthusiastic internet users and such a brilliant infrastructure, Romania is a market well worth considering if you want to get in there early for when the final 25% of the population come online.

Bonus round!

Brazil and Poland deserve a brief mention here too. Both these countries are rapidly developing and have good potential. Here’s a brief rundown of the stats, to whet your appetite. Almost 150 million Brazilians are online, but that’s still just 70% of the population. Meanwhile, 79% of Poles are online, which is below the European average. However, internet penetration is rising steadily and with a total population of almost 40 million people, that’s no small market either.

I hope this blog post has given you a useful introduction to some of the developing markets that deserve big brands’ attention. For more in-depth information on 38 countries, you can read the Webcertain Search And Social Report here.

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Elin Box

Content Marketing Manager at Webcertain
Elin is a Content Marketing Manager at Webcertain. She is responsible for Webcertain’s Self-learning platform, producing in-depth guides on a range of international digital marketing topics. She also helps run the Webcertain blog and is the writer of the Webcertain search and social report, an annual report summarising digital marketing best practices in over 50 countries. She is passionate about educating and empowering people to make the best decisions for their business and is proud to help share Webcertain’s wealth of digital marketing knowledge with the world. Elin is from the UK.

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