Translate now: Report finds mobile Web users expected to grow by 2020

If your business doesn't have an international presence yet, there's no time to waste. The number of smartphone and mobile Internet users in Asia, Africa and other developing areas has been growing over the past few years. These new Web users are potential customers and clients, and you can reach them directly through their phones. 

A new report from Swedish multinational communication company Ericsson found that the numbers of mobile and Web users in these regions of the world are expected to continue expanding in the next few years. The report shows that it's the perfect time to translate your app and globalize your Web presence. 

Ericsson's report shows growing market of mobile users
The Ericsson Mobility Report published in June 2015 shows that many of the promising trends of mobile Internet use among developing countries are expected to continue rising for at least the next five years. The report analyzes data on smartphones, tablets, portable computers and the data or Internet plans associated with each. 

"Smartphone and data subscriptions are expected to grow through 2020."

Worldwide subscriptions for all of these devices is predicted to increase by 5 percent by 2020, up from 6.8 billion in 2014 to nearly 9.2 billion. Over that same time frame, smartphone subscriptions are expected to jump by 15 percent and mobile subscriptions to Long-Term Evolution, or LTE, mobile Internet rising by 40 percent. The only area where decline is expected is among service for slower Internet services such as Enhanced Data rates for GSM Evolution, or EDGE. Data traffic on each mobile device is also expected to increase by at least 25 percent by 2020 as people use the Web more. 

Aside from just providing the data that shows a clear uptick in spending and use of mobile Internet, the Ericsson report explained the even greater importance mobile devices will have, especially smartphones. By 2020, smartphones are expected to make up 80 percent of mobile data traffic, the report explained. 

Across the globe, the number of smartphones, connected devices and data plans is expected to rise across all markets. In developing countries, these numbers are predicted to climb as new users are added, while in mature economies users may be upgrading and adding additional devices, the report outlined.

Emerging markets 
While much of Ericsson's report details trends encompassing users all over the globe, some of the most intriguing information for entrepreneurs and business owners who want to find new audiences is the enormous growth in certain developing nations.

Asian Pacific countries including China, India, Japan, Myanmar and Indonesia added some of the most mobile phones around the world in the first quarter of 2015, with India alone adding 26 million. An increasing number of these devices are smartphones, but not all yet. This means that the growth is expected to continue as more connected devices are added. Africa had similarly high numbers, adding 21 million devices in Q1 across the continent. 

"India is the fastest growing mobile phone market."

Asia, Africa and the Middle East are the areas that are expected to have the most growth by 2020, Ericsson noted.

"The number of mobile subscriptions is continuing to grow across regions. This growth is expected to be particularly strong in the Middle East and Africa due to a young and growing population and rising GDP – as well as the current penetration being low compared to the rest of the world. Several countries in the Asia Pacific region will experience a strong subscription uptake over the next five years, while more mature regions like North America and Europe will have more moderate growth," the report explained.

Capitalize on this expected growth 
Don't let the smartphone manufacturers and data carriers be the only businesses to capitalize on this global demand. As more and more people are connected to the Internet, you can increase your audience. Look for new markets where your service can thrive, break into multiple countries where there isn't already established competition and directly target communities that would benefit from your business. 

The key to standing out and breaking into these markets of new mobile Web users is having a stellar mobile interface and talking to them in their native language. Although many people in the Middle East, Africa and Asia speak English, humans are much more likely to make a purchase in their native language. According to the Harvard Business Review, people spend the overwhelming majority of their time surfing the Web in their own language and are about 72 percent more likely to make a purchase on a website in their language. 

Focus your efforts on translating your Web presence and apps into the native languages of the markets you're looking to break into. Additionally, use professional translation and localization services to create targeted advertising campaigns on social media and search engines. 

Find new consumers among these fast-growing populations

If you're looking to grow your business and increase revenue, a smart move is to find more consumers and increase demand for your services. It's basic business.

However, when your market is saturated, the cost of marketing to bring in new business can outweigh your potential revenue stream. When you're faced with this situation or you simply want to expand the scope of your business, it can be prudent to look outside your country's borders. The Internet makes targeting foreign consumers easier than ever. All you need to do is use professional translation services to tailor your message, product and marketing to any population on the planet. 

However, certain populations are likely to get you more profit than others. You want to advertise your services or products to developing populations that are likely to grow enormously. This allows for your small investment to grow in effectiveness over time as the populations does. 

Follow the projections for population and language all over the world to see where your investment can make the biggest impact in the next five to 35 years. 

"Africa is home to many of the fastest-growing countries, including Nigeria."

Fastest-growing populations in the world 
Analyzing the data on the fastest-growing populations in the world can let you be ahead of the competition, finding groups of consumers that are about to balloon and are growing quickly. You can look at this data in several ways. For example, you can see growth in one African country and target that population for sales through localization or you can look at the wider trend of growth throughout sub-Saharan Africa and target multiple regions through language. 

As of 2014, Lebanon has the fastest rate of growth at about 9 percent, according to CIA Worldbook. Zimbabwe, South Sudan, Jordan and Qatar are close behind with present growth rates around 4 percent. However, you'll get the best results by following long-term growth projections rather than reactionary year-over-year growth numbers. 

The 2014 World Population Sheet from the Population Reference Bureau, a Washington, D.C.-based advocacy group, provides growth projections for every country through the mid-2030s and mid-2050s, which include percentages and population predictions. Here are a few of the most notable findings from the report: 

  • India is expected to grow by 1.5 percent, growing from about 1.3 billion people in 2014 to 1.5 billion in the 2030s and 1.66 billion in 2050. 
  • Nigeria has a projected 2.5 percent population increase, growing from 177.5 million in 2014 to 261.7 million in the 2030s and 396.5 million in 2050. That rivals the U.S.'s population, which has a 2050 projection of 395.3 million. 
  • Pakistan also has enormous growth projections. With a 2 percent rate of natural growth, Pakistan looks to expand from 194 million people in 2014 to 254 million in the 2030s and 348 million by the mid-2050s. 
  • Tanzania, Uganda and Ethiopia are all also poised for massive growth, according to the report, as are many other African nations. Southeast Asia and the Middle East are also expected to have significant population growth over the next few decades. 
Nigeria may replace the US as the third most populous country behind China and India by 2050. Nigeria may replace the U.S. as the third most populous country behind China and India by 2050.

The massive growth across Africa has been projected for several years now, but there's still plenty of room to capitalize. In 2013, the Washington Post explained that there is a perfect storm of factors making Africa such a booming region for growth. 

"Almost all of the countries growing more than 2 percent per year are in Africa," the Post explained. "There are a few reasons for that. Birth rates there tend to be very high. People are living much longer as health standards improve. And the continent is becoming more stable and more peaceful, meaning that there are fewer wars, famines and natural disasters. All of these trends are happening at once and are poised to completely transform Africa." 

The population boom in Africa may also lead to a boom in the number of French speakers in the world, according to Forbes magazine. While French has recently fallen as the preferred official language in the Western and international world in favor of English, the sub-Saharan African population may change that. Many of these populations speak French. Forbes reported that by 2050, as many as 750 million people will be French-speakers. 

"Lead by sub-Saharan Africans, the number of French speakers may grow to 750 million by 2050."

Booming cities around the globe 
While analyzing the populations of countries can help you glean information on where business growth may lie, similar data on cities can also offer opportunities. Many of the world's largest cities have populations greater than many nations. Forbes published a list of some of the fastest-growing megacities around the globe and their staggering growth in the past few years. Check out the top three: 

  1. Karachi, Pakistan – This city grew by about 80 percent between 2000 and 2010, and now has more than 20 million residents. It's the most populous city in a quickly growing country. 
  2. Shenzhen, China – This city of more than 12 million people had fewer than 6 million in 2000. It's growing quickly and likely will continue this growth. 
  3. Lagos, Nigeria – This large coastal city follows the same trend as Karachi, being the most populous city in a booming country. It grew by 48 percent between 2000 and 2010 and now has about 12 million residents, Forbes noted.