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Leveraging smartphones to leapfrog barriers to traditional consumer research in emerging markets

Advances in technology go hand in hand with globalization and indeed empower it. This is happening at such a rate that sometimes a market will skip a phase in development entirely. This is the phenomenon known as leapfrogging.

Examples of leapfrogging include electrical distribution in Africa that uses renewable energy without reliance on traditional grids; the training of 90,000 teachers to deliver e-learning at over 18,000 primary schools in Kenya[1]; and the use of ethanol from renewable sugar cane to replace gasoline in Brazil.

The smartphone phenomenon

Perhaps the most dramatic example of leapfrogging is the mobile phone. This has empowered communication in countries where traditional telephone networks hardly exist. For example[2], 325 million people in South East Asia access the internet via mobile phones, representing 90% of total usage.

The explosion in smartphone coverage and availability has empowered a generation of young consumers who live their lives on their phones.

To use Vietnam as an example[3], 43% of the population uses a mobile device to shop; rural consumers use instant messaging apps 6-7 times a day, with 40% of their phone time spent interacting via chat apps.

Leapfrogging traditional research

Reaching such consumers in emerging markets is of vital importance to global brands, but they can be hard to reach by traditional research means. The answer lies in the device in their hands: the smartphone.

Traditional consumer research has always had to balance a trade off between scale and detail. By using smartphone technology, The People Data Company has resolved that issue.

Understanding hard to reach markets

For consumer marketers, there is massive value in the streams of core data that comes from mobile devices. And when analysed across a defined segment and contextualized with surveys and panellist-generated content, the resulting data streams become the most detailed source of consumer insight data in history.

Providing rich consumer data at scale

The People Data Company enables clients to know what people in the fastest growing markets on Earth are doing on their phones. Giving clients the unique insight they need to make critical decisions when viewing the impact of their marketing across geographies, time periods, and in comparison with any of their competitors.

Please contact us at to arrange a demonstration.

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