Amazon has some serious catching up to do.

At least in emerging markets such as China, Brazil, India, and, uh … even Nigeria, that is. The details are included in a yet-to-be released study by London-based mobile marketing outfit Upstream Systems. The study outlines clearly the importance of brand recognition, even in countries with large populations with low literacy rates.

Upstream manager Vasilieios Tziokas has his own thoughts about why Amazon, at least as a brand, is a mystery to millions of consumers in these countries.

“Our experience in emerging markets has shown that consumers there are showing a completely different behavior. It is not possible for the average Nigerian to have exactly the same taste with the average American or French. Amazon is huge in U.S. and Europe for its online store but it is still trying to penetrate LATAM and Africa,” Tziokas emailed VentureBeat late at night from his home in Athens.

The study indicates that Apple, Microsoft, Google, and Samsung far outstrip Amazon’s brand recognition in the markets listed above. This is serious, actually. With North and South America, Europe, and parts of Asia like Japan already saturated with Western tech, companies are looking to move beyond those markets and tap new ones. This includes not only China, Vietnam, and India but also Africa, which has major potential with its growth adoption of mobile tech.

And major potential to scale.

And don’t forget. Flipkart and Alibaba are very strong in South and Southeast Asia, further distracting from the Amazon brand.

According to the report, which VentureBeat obtained this morning, Amazon is poised to make significant strides in the mobile sector. And though the evidence is thin, the online retail giant may also be creating a smartphone:

“Amazon is rumoured to be planning extensions to its existing mobile content offering that could include a music streaming service and even a dedicated ‘Amazon’ smartphone. However, the global online retailer is losing ground to its ‘Big 3’ key competitors Apple, Google and Microsoft in emerging markets, according to new research from Upstream. In fact, the most recognized brand in emerging markets is hardware manufacturer Samsung (88 percent), closely followed by Google (87 precent), Apple (85 percent) and Microsoft (82 percent).”

Only about half of those surveyed in the Upstream Systems report — 4,504 people, actually — say they’ve never heard of Amazon. The survey team spoke to residents in Brazil, China, India, Nigeria and Vietnam.

Over half the respondents said — shocker — they knew who and what Apple was, and they wanted to buy the giant’s hardware and services.

Amazon, on the other hand, was only recognized by around half (56 percent) of those surveyed. This latest data comes from ‘The Next Mobile Frontier’ report, from mobile marketing expert Upstream, which polled the views of a representative sample of 4,504 consumers in Brazil, China, India, Nigeria, and Vietnam in conjunction with analyst house Ovum. Over half of those surveyed (52 percent) said that Apple is the brand that they currently spend money or would like to spend more on in the future. Microsoft (48 percent) and Google (43 percent) were not far behind, but Amazon clearly still has much work to do, with only 21 percent of those surveyed wanting to or currently spending money with the brand.

Amazon definitely has work to do, according to Tziokas:

“Moreover, Amazon’s flagship products (Kindle and Fire) never appealed to the average consumers in emerging markets mainly because of the content they provided. Our research shows that ebooks are not the most favorite type of mobile content and services like Amazon Prime and the new video content that Amazon produces cannot attract massive adoption in countries like India.”

For Amazon, whose Q1 results are due out next week, the study portends that its marketing and PR teams have some work to do — and visits to make — in these nations.














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