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Targeting the young, growing Brazilian market may be the smartest decision an app publisher can make this year. App installs have been growing at an impressive 30% year-over-year, easily the largest and fastest growth in the region. With the world’s sixth largest population, Brazil’s smartphone growth has exploded in recent years — up 11% in 2019. But it may have only scratched the surface in terms of where the market could go. In 2019, Brazil had a smartphone penetration of only 45.6%, dwarfed in comparison to top countries like the U.K., Germany, and U.S., which are around 80%.

App publishers have capitalized on the young Brazilian user base through regionalizing their app and campaigns to a Gen-Z market quick to adopt a mobile lifestyle. According to AppsFlyer, 9.1% of users who install an ecommerce app go on to become purchasing customers, more than twice as much as other high-end markets in the region. The categories that are crushing it in ecommerce sales align well with Brazil’s young demographic: food delivery, games, shopping, and travel.

Large pool of mobile-first consumers

With a median age of just 32, cell phone sales in Brazil are brisk, and by 2023 some 104 million Brazilians will own a smartphone. Brazil’s growth, as is seen by most emerging economies, is driven by the younger population with 85% of the 18-34 demographic owning a smartphone vs. 32% over 50 – a large gap in comparison to developed countries (in the U.S., it’s 95% vs. 67%). As Brazilian youth turn to adults, they will continue to be quick adopters of new devices as the country as a whole evolves to a mobile lifestyle.

What’s particularly noteworthy about Brazilian consumers is that they’re enthusiastic app users, especially when it comes to shopping apps. Mobile sales are north of $7.6 billion in revenue and account for 32% of all ecommerce payments in Brazil. Considering 78% of Brazilians say they prefer to buy via an app over any other payment option due to the channel’s speed and simplicity, ecommerce will likely continue to grow as smartphone penetration approaches levels we see in other developed countries.

Advertisers now have access to scale and reach

Scale and reach are key concerns of any advertiser considering a new market. Brazil’s market has proven to be very engaged as marketers have scaled their UA campaigns.

The country has seen steady increases in mobile app spending, which is estimated to top $4 billion in 2020. According to AppsFlyer, Brazil accounted for more than half of app install ad spend in the region in 2019. What’s more, advertisers are seeing good returns for their ad spend. Last year 60% of all app installs in Brazil were the result of advertising campaigns.

Maturing market, maturing UA campaigns

Like any maturing market, successful UA campaigns require nuance and an eye towards incrementality. Social media is a great way to obtain scale (there are 140 million social media users in Brazil as of this past January). In January 2020, Brazil accounted for more than 10% of all TikTok downloads.

But don’t spend your entire UA campaign on social media. First, competition for attention on those platforms is as fierce as it is in the US, and you’ll find that after a spate of new installs, your ad spend will deliver fewer and fewer users. Second, ad fraud concerns are large in Brazil, where fraudsters use unofficial places to lure customers to download apps which may cause people to shy away from traditional channels. Fortunately there are plenty of other channels that will deliver incremental users without the fraud concerns.

Consider, for instance, pre-loading your app on mobile devices. In Q1 2020, some 10.4 million mobile phones were sold in Brazil. And recent data shows that people with new devices install three times more apps than people who have had their phones for more than a year in the US. It stands to reason that these trends would also follow in Brazil, meaning pre-loads could have an exponential effect for advertisers that invest on pre-loading.

Marketers should also consider new and emerging channels that have seen success in Brazil. TikTok’s large growth makes it a channel potentially to look into. Other Brazil growth categories, such as food delivery, games, shopping, and travel also offer opportunities for advertisers.

The Brazilian market represents a bright spot in a year that has been challenging on many levels. In a few years the market may very well become saturated, but at the moment, consumers are enthusiastic about trying new apps. If you add it to your marketing strategy I suspect you’ll reap rewards for years to come.

Matt Tubergen serves as the executive vice president of Digital Turbine Media, where he is responsible for overseeing all mobile media and campaign development, management, and strategy for its 300 top brands and app clients. 

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