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8 developing markets your business should consider in 2021

Webcertain search and social report 2021 has just been published, and it includes some promising developing markets that may be of interest to global brands.

These markets are yet to reach internet usage saturation, and with large populations and growing numbers of people coming online, they are lucrative and have huge growth ahead of them.

This blog post will look at eight developing markets that I have identified as being of particular relevance to global brands wanting to get that first-mover advantage over their competitors.

1. China

Population: 1.4 billion

Internet penetration rate: 68.7%

China is such a huge economy and overall powerhouse that it may seem odd to call it a developing market, but in terms of the digital sphere, it is. Only 68.7% of people in China are online, far below what we see in comparably large economies such as the US (89.8%). With such a large proportion of the Chinese population still to come online, this is a market with massive growth ahead of it. Just remember, when doing digital marketing in China, you need to completely alter your strategy and use the local platforms. For search engine marketing, that means Baidu and Sogou; for social media, think WeChat and Weibo; and for e-commerce, make sure you are on Taobao, Pinduoduo, JD.com and Tmall.

To read the Webcertain search and social report 2021 for China, click here.

2. India

Population: 1.3 billion

Internet penetration rate: 54.3%

There are over a billion people in India, but only 54.3% of them are online. This means that over half a billion Indians are still to come online; a glittering opportunity if ever there was one. When targeting the Indian market, be aware that the country sees some of the highest levels of ad blocker usage in the world. A staggering 51% of Indian internet users use ad blocking tools. For this reason, it is important not to rely too heavily on advertising, but to make sure you are paying proper attention to your organic SEO, social media and content marketing efforts. This will ensure that your content is seen by your target audience and does not get filtered out by ad blockers.

To read the Webcertain search and social report 2021 for India, click here.

3. Brazil

Population: 212.6 million

Internet penetration rate: 70.8%

Brazil is the largest and most populous country in Latin America, but only 70.8% of its 212.6 million residents are currently online. With three in ten Brazilians still to make that digital leap, now is the ideal time to enter the market if you want that first-mover advantage. Be aware that internet speeds are on the slow side, especially on mobile. As of January 2021, the average fixed internet connection speed is 79.30 MB per second, and the average mobile internet connection speed is 29.22 MB per second. It is therefore important to make sure your website is optimised for speed, so that slow loading times do not lead to high bounce rates and ruin your efforts.

To read the Webcertain search and social report 2021 for Brazil, click here.

4. Russia

Population: 145.9 million

Internet penetration rate: 79.7%

Russia is another big country with a big population – the highest population in Europe, in fact. But with only 79.7% of people in Russia being online, there is still a lot of growth in the future of this market. When targeting Russia, be aware that the digital platforms you will have to use will be different, as there are several local players challenging the big names we are used to seeing dominate in other countries. When doing search engine marketing, make sure to give equal attention to both Google and Yandex. And looking at social media, be aware that your social strategy will need to include the likes of VK and Odnoklassniki, alongside the more familiar Instagram.

To read the Webcertain search and social report 2021 for Russia, click here.

5. Mexico

Population: 128.9 million

Internet penetration rate: 71.5%

Mexico is an attractive market, especially to brands with a physical presence in the southernmost United States. It becomes even more attractive when you realise that only 71.5% of Mexico’s 128.9 million-strong population is currently online, meaning that a lot of growth is ahead of it. When selling your items in Mexico, be aware that the most popular e-commerce website is Mercado Libre, not Amazon. You should also know that there are three important events around which online sales increase in Mexico: Christmas, El Buen Fin (similar to Black Friday, taking place on the weekend prior to the anniversary of the Mexican Revolution) and Hot Sale (another online sales event, taking place in May).

To read the Webcertain search and social report 2021 for Mexico, click here.

6. Philippines

Population: 109.6 million

Internet penetration rate: 78.7%

The Philippines is a vibrant archipelago of 109.6 million people, of whom only 78.7% are currently online. Nevertheless, those who are online are avid internet users, with the average internet user spending a whopping 10 hours and 56 minutes online every day! So, where are these people spending all this time online? One very popular online destination is Facebook, with a staggering 97% of Filipino internet users having used Facebook in the last month. It goes without saying, therefore, that Facebook needs to be a core part of your digital marketing strategy when targeting the Philippines.

To read the Webcertain search and social report 2021 for the Philippines, click here.

7. Egypt

Population: 102.3 million

Internet penetration rate: 53.5%

Egypt has a population of 102.3 million, but only 53.5% of these people are currently online. With around half of Egyptians still to come online, this country has a huge amount of growth in its future. If you want to get in there early and target Egypt now, you should be aware that internet speeds are very slow in the country. As of January 2021, the average fixed internet connection speed is 34.51 MB per second, and the average mobile internet connection speed is 20.32 MB per second. Furthermore, the country is very much mobile-first, with 69% of web traffic coming from mobile phones. It is therefore vital that your Egyptian website is optimised for mobile and for speed.

To read the Webcertain search and social report 2021 for Egypt, click here.

8. Vietnam

Population: 97.3 million

Internet penetration rate: 73.5%

And last but not least, let’s look at Vietnam. Vietnam has a population of 97.3 million people, of whom 73.5% are currently online. The Vietnamese search engine market looks rather different to most other countries. The country’s second most popular search engine is a homegrown platform called CocCoc. CocCoc currently accounts for 5.3% of all searches done in the country. Whilst this is not a huge number, it is nevertheless worth considering in your search engine marketing efforts, as there will be less competition than on Google.

To read the Webcertain search and social report 2021 for Vietnam, click here.

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 49 countries, check out Webcertain search and social report 2021!

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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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