Mobile Phone Users In Kenya Prefer Foreign Apps To Kenyan-Made Apps


Did you know Kenyans prefer foreign goods more than home-made products especially as regards to apps? Well with the growing number of smartphone users in the country, we need to bring this into the limelight.

Survey shows there are more than 4 million people in Kenya who use smartphones –  a number buoyed by the proliferation of affordable smartphones like Nokia’s Asha series and Huawei’s Ideos phones. And these smartphone users have increasingly had access to mobile apps but just a few download locally made apps.

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The rate of downloads for Kenyan-made Apps is oddly low and most of the downloads come heavily from outside Kenya.

According to a study done in December by research firm SOKO insight which examined Kenyans living in urban areas, 85% of respondents have at least 5 apps on their phones.

While 30% of respondents say app availability is among the more important features of their mobile devices, a wide number don’t appreciate local apps.

The study also found that about 43% of users didn’t know any locally-made apps, and said the international apps they use cover their needs. For Kenyan apps developers, this figure should be worrying as this fondness for foreign-made apps wear away the expectation that the country’s rapid growth in mobile users will be a stroke of luck for the local economy.

In as much as all poll respondents rated local apps “average” with reference to content, quality and price, Kenyan made apps need to gain more patronage as well as popularity.

There are lots of Kenyan made apps on the streets of Googleplaystore that one time we ranked the top 10 apps every techie in Kenya needs to know.

So Why The Low Preference For Kenyan-Made Apps?

Kenyan developed apps such as Ma3route, the traffic news dissemination app, the mobile game Ma3racer, Haki, a mobile socially conscious game Safaricom M-Ledger amongst others have reached some success yet comprehensively, Kenyan Apps developers struggle. Haven said that, their struggle maybe linked to the fact that a good number of app developers need to be more creative.

Basically, a large number of apps made in Kenya are copied from others – not so original and of a top quality. As a result not enough content is being created that will match up with the country’s spreading mobile audience.

Also, the developers need to focus on what the audience really needs. Noting that most people show willingness to buy functional tools such as banking, transport, travel and health related platforms which meet their priorities as regards to apps, thus the need to improve their skills and target the needs of the audience.

Most phones users in Kenya either use their devices for calls, messaging and surfing the internet, with Facebook the most famous app for most people and  Instagram, and Whatsapp also climbing the ladder rapidly, the apps developers can draw creativity ideas from it. Maybe that way they will gain massive local significance that will sell them internationally as well.

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