(Ecofin Agency) - Last year, 575 mobile apps with more than one million monthly active users were identified in Africa. The continent still offers great growth prospects for developers looking to target a young and increasingly connected population.
In December 2022, the number of monthly active users on mobile gaming applications exceeded 200 million in Africa. According to a report published in early May 2023, by Chinese data analysis firm Datasparkle, the number is up by 18% compared with January 2022 figures.
Datasparkle reveals that each user opens gaming apps 113 times on average and spends over 12 hours playing each month. Mainstream, puzzle, and arcade mobile games remain the most popular in terms of the number of active users in Africa. Music, casino, and card games, on the other hand, saw the fastest growth in monthly users, with increases of 65%, 42%, and 41% respectively in December 2022 compared with the figures recorded in January that year.
Overall, the report points to the steady growth in Africa’s mobile app market. Last year, 575 mobile apps with over one million active users were identified on the continent. In 2021, there were 488.
Of the 500 apps with the most active users on the continent, DataSparkle identified 183 games (36.6%), 41 tools and utility (8.2%), 32 music and audio (6.4%), 31 video players & editors (6.2%), 28 communication (5.6%), social networking (5.2%), 22 finance (4.4%) and 22 productivity (4.4%) apps.
Chinese apps in the leading position
A comparison of time spent on apps shows that "pan-entertainment" applications (video players & editors, photography, social networks, comics, books & references, music & audio, newspapers & magazines) are the most popular in Africa. The continent's mobile phone users spend an average of 3.6 minutes out of 10 minutes spent on their phones.
The geographical breakdown of developers of the Top 100 most-used apps in Africa shows that Chinese developers top the list with 38% of total apps, ahead of the USA (23%) and Europe (11%).
Chinese developers are most proficient in the fields of games, social networking, and video players & editors, while American and European developers are at the forefront in the fields of communication and music & audio.
The report concludes that Africa is an important growth area for developers looking to go global, thanks in particular to its younger population and the steady rise in smartphone adoption. Cell phones have become an integral part of Africans' daily lives. In 2022, every African with a smartphone spent over four hours surfing the Internet on average every day.
On the continent, the median age is 19 and some segments like e-commerce and financial services are almost saturated. In those saturated segments, local players seem to have a clear advantage over international developers. However, segments like gaming, social networking, sports, and music & audio still offer good prospects for developers. There are also niche markets yet to be developed, such as health & fitness, travel, local news, education, and food & beverage.