Mobile app users in SEA cost less to acquire: report

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A lottery ticket vendor in Bangkok checks her mobile phone.
MAY 28, 2019 - 3:46 PM

MOBILE app users in South-east Asia cost less to acquire than in other markets, according the 2019 Southeast Asia App Engagement Report by app marketing platform Liftoff.

The region offers great potential for app publishers, said Liftoff. According to a 2018 Google-Temasek e-Conomy SEA report, more than 90 per cent of South-east Asians connect to the internet primarily through their smartphone, with users in Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Malaysia spending four hours or more on mobile internet each day.

Based on data from its own mobile app campaigns, Liftoff looked at acquisition costs and engagement rates for mobile app users in the region. It found that acquiring app users in South-east Asia "comes at a bargain price" compared to other Asia-Pacific countries and the United States.

For instance, getting South-east Asia users to install an app cost 73 per cent less compared to US users (US$1.58 versus US$5.88) and 65 per cent less compared to the rest of the Asia-Pacific. Registrations, subscriptions, and purchases also cost about half as much in South-east Asia than in the US.

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Another finding was that Android users in South-east Asia both cost less to acquire and purchase at a higher rate than Apple's iOS users.

In mobile gaming, user acquisition costs are much lower for installation (US$2.59) and registration (US$5.79), but shoot up when it comes to getting users to make first-time in-app purchases (S$173.75).

For shopping apps, user acquisition has low costs, and registration rates are high at 40 per cent, compared with the global rate of 17.5 per cent. Said Liftoff: "Purchase rates in the region mirror last year's 7 per cent global benchmark, signaling that Southeast Asia is about as ready to spend money on mobile as any other region in the world."

As for retaining users, social networking, entertainment, and gaming apps have the highest retention rates in the region.

The Liftoff report studied campaigns in Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Myanmar, Singapore, and Thailand from Mar 1, 2018 through Feb 28, 2019.