App Localization Strategy Report: Where and How to Expand for Global Success

 2020-21 were landmark year for the mobile app market and its time to start building your App Localization Strategy.

During the long months of lockdown, screen time increased as people were forced to sit at home. More and more people turned to their mobile devices to look for new activities to pass their time. As a consequence, mobile apps became one of the most dynamic industries globally.

App Localization Strategy: Introduction

The main focus of this App Localization Strategy report is to highlight the mobile app trends in markets with the most significant growth potential.

Large, developed markets are not excluded from the study. Indeed, this report aims to examine the verticals that show growth potential and in which regions.

What’s more, this report analyzes in detail the markets where the number of app users is growing exponentially, thus creating new, long-term opportunities for business expansion.

Another point to be discussed in this report is the need for app localization strategy. Localization can get considered as the primary tool for reaching developing markets and fulfilling their untapped potential.

And so, the last section of the analysis will be devoted not only to specific markets with the maximum growth potential but also to consider other factors such as their linguistic and cultural landscape. Furthermore, this section will feature additional tips and tricks on preparing a successful app localization strategy.

Mobile App Localization Strategy Report 2021

The main objectives of the App Localization Strategy report include:

Which markets saw the most significant growth in terms of mobile apps?

How to create a App localization strategy to realize the untapped potential in different regions?

Which vertical experienced the most significant growth during 2020-21?

Mobile App Localization Strategy Report 2021

2.  App Localization Strategy: Methodology

The following analyses are based on Facebook and Adjust on the app economy: The Mobile App Growth Report, which provides extensive data on mobile app growth in various markets presented through charts. Furthermore, as mentioned above, the report utilizes the so-called ‘Growth Score,’ calculated for each country to compare mobile app growth in different markets and verticals.

Mobile App Localization Strategy Report 2021

What is the Growth Score?

In this study, the Growth Score determines the growth speed with which a regional market or vertical is expanding. However, this score does not rely solely on installation statistics since the aim of the report is to analyze current growth and future investment potential.

In this regard, the Growth Score aims to make less developed regions more conspicuous in the competitive global markets. It also showcases the areas outside the large, established markets that are currently experiencing a significant economic movement.

Mobile App Localization Strategy Report 2021
Mobile App Localization Strategy Report 2021

How is the Global Score calculated?

The Growth Score is calculated by dividing the total number of monthly installations by monthly active users. In other words, this metric can calculate the growth rate of apps based on structures versus their monthly active user base.

Nevertheless, keep in mind that a high Growth Score is correlated to a higher number of app users. This could also be an indication of a high churn rate. In other words, an app’s MAU may decrease due to users lapsing, which can result in a drastic increase in installations as companies find it hard to keep pace.

All the data used for conducting the study has been collected from Adjust & aggregated & anonymized according to the guidelines.

3.  Growth by vertical

This section aims to examine the growth of specific verticals on a global scale. The following graph illustrates the Growth Score of various verticals which helps in building App Localization Strategy

Gaming seems to be the biggest winner of 2020, by being the fastest-growing vertical, followed by Business and Entertainment. Social and Food & Drink apps appear to be at the bottom of the chart, with the lowest growth rates during 2020. What’s more, it seems that streaming platforms and telecommuting have become the next big thing throughout 2020.

App Localization Strategy - Growth score by vertical - 2020
App Localization Strategy - Gaming growth score by country - 2020


Gaming is the top-ranking vertical by Growth Score. This is no coincidence, considering the innovative business models (e.g., hypercasual).

This vertical continues to grow; the growing number of users has attracted massive investments, further boosting the Gaming vertical’s future potential for expansion.

On a global scale, as seen from the chart above, Asia and South America have established themselves as the regions with the highest Growth Scores. Here are some more insights:

  • The booming economies of China and Vietnam have had a direct impact on the Gaming vertical growth. What’s more, these countries have established themselves as the masters of ad monetization. Indeed, higher Growth Scores are indicators for the bright future of apps that follow ad or user acquisition (UA) revenue models.
  • Argentina and the whole region of LATAM showcase some incredible growth scores in this vertical. This trend is a direct consequence of the growing urban populations and increased accessibility.


Ecommerce was the second most successful vertical in 2020. Overall, eCommerce managed to achieve a lot. However, some countries have been more successful than others. Here are the winners:

  • The APAC (Asia-Pacific) region, especially Korea and Vietnam, stole the show in 2020, becoming the fastest-growing market in mobile eCommerce.
  • China’s economy, despite the enormous COVID-19 crisis, continues to bloom. As a result, Chinese consumers haven’t changed their habits considerably, resulting in constantly growing mobile shopping purchases.
  • Egypt and MENA (the Middle East and North Africa) have also made headlines in 2020, so keep an eye on them if you are part of the eCommerce sector and want to expand globally.

Also Read: eCommerce Growth in India: the Need for Localization

App Localization Strategy - E commerce growth 2020
App Localization Strategy - Entertainment growth 2020


The Entertainment vertical was multiplying in 2020. Over 46% of the population has used their smartphones for streaming services during social distancing in the US alone. Additionally, statistics show that 2020 seems to be the year that gave a boost to subscription-based apps. Here are the leaders of this sector:

  • China and India are at the top of the chart. The good news is that experts forecast no signs of their growth slowing down.
  • Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and the MENA region have performed well during 2020, especially in the entertainment category.

4.  Regions with the highest growth

To build best app localization strategy let’s begin with a general overview of the regions with the highest growth. The Growth map above illustrates the growth rate of the countries around the world.

As shown on the map, the average growth rate is 29.8. The countries with the highest growth rates are marked in orange or dark red. The intensity of the color signifies the country’s growth rate. Accordingly, the following inferences can be drawn from the map above:

  • APAC, MENA, and South America experienced the most dramatic growth rates in 2020.
  • In 2020, India became the fastest-growing region of the world. In 2019, the country featured in the middle of the growth table.
  • The SEA (South East Asia) region and especially the Philippines, Thailand, and Indonesia show some incredible stats.

Now, we can move on to a more detailed analysis of some of the leading markets in the world & examine their growth in the last year, along with their future potential.

Growth Score by Country 2020
High growth score app vertical in India 2020


In 2020 India earned the reputation of being the fastest-growing market in the world. Due to the ever-increasing mobile penetration, India offers numerous diverse opportunities. As the chart above illustrates, the fastest growing app verticals are Education and Business. The eCommerce vertical saw relatively low growth rates.

Last but not least, although the entertainment vertical in India is at the seventh position, it is a sector worth following closely. The entertainment industry in India has a promising future of a highly competitive market regarding streaming and Over Top (OTT) media.

High growth score app vertical UK 2020


Believe it or not, the UK is the fastest-growing market for 2020 in EMEA (Europe, the Middle East, and Africa). Gaming has become the most booming sector of 2020. COVID-19 has given a boost to the Education, Lifestyle, and Health apps as well.

Nevertheless, some sectors did not experience massive growth in 2020. For instance, Entertainment and Social apps underperformed. Indeed, these trends can be regarded as a sign of a mature market, such as the UK, reaching saturation. This means that newcomers in those two sectors will find it much harder to establish themselves and gain popularity.

High growth score app verticals USA 2020


The US also had had a fantastic year in 2020. Gaming is again on the top of the chart, which only solidifies the supposition that the gaming industry is flourishing in mature economies. This trend is the fact that consumers are willing to pay more to get a better overall experience while playing a computer game.

However, the dramatic growth of the game industry brings about a considerable challenge – monetization, which might turn out to be a critical factor in gaming companies securing sustainable growth rates in the upcoming years.

5.  Discussion of the results


This section is devoted to a short discussion and summary of the results. As the analysis above has shown, 2020 was a successful year for mobile apps in general. The previous section has demonstrated that in specific sectors, growth can be hindered due to market saturation. In developing markets, however, new expansion opportunities are abundant.

Some of the analysis’s highlights include:

  • All the examined mobile verticals underwent growth, which shows the potential and resilience of the app economy.
  • Gaming apps were the most successful vertical in 2020.
  • The regions of Asia and South America appear to be the most promising areas, showing astonishing growth numbers. This, in turn, means that a well-devised strategy regarding these target locales/ regions with untapped potential is the go-to way for your business to go global.

Also Read: 6 Reasons Why Mobile App Localization Matters For Global Success

6.  Why do you need to localize for these regions

As we have discussed above, South Asia and South America regions seem to be the most promising in terms of growth. These are developing markets with a constantly increasing mobile user base. This, in turn, offers considerable opportunities for expansion for any mobile app entrepreneur.

 However, simply launching your app or your product in these markets would not be enough! To reach customers and convince them to invest in your products, you have to speak their language.

But how?

Offering your products in the local languages and adapting the overall concept of your target audience’s belief system are necessary steps to expand to a new market successfully. Indeed, this is when localization services come in. Working with professionals in the field of localization and translation will boost your chances of attracting international customers.

While English is spoken by over a billion people worldwide, the most widely spoken language in the world can hardly be heard in Asia and South America. Thus, making sure that your mobile app gets localized in the local language of your target locale is a must!

To understand the need for localization and successfully expand to these regions, we will have a closer look at the local languages and culture of both Asia and South America.

Alos Read: How to Localize Your App and Reach New Users


Languages spoken in Asia

Asia has a population of 4.6 billion people, which is nearly half of the world’s population. There are 2.8 billion mobile users in Asia, which is 66% of its population. For the last five years, mobile users in this region have increased by an astonishing 500 million users. Asia is one of the fastest-growing regions globally, hosting nearly half of all mobile subscribers in the world. 

Also Read: Languages of East Asia [Complete Guide]

In the table above, you can find more information on some of the leading economies in Asia. Asia is a very linguistically diverse region, with over 1,000 languages spoken across the continent. Some of the oldest languages globally, such as Hindi and Chinese, originate from this region.

Many of the languages spoken in the countries above are widely spoken outside of their territories too. For instance, Arabic is the official language of the UAE, but it is also the primary language of communication in the Middle East. There are 184.6 million mobile users in the Middle East, and in the last five years, the number has increased by 3.3 million.


Mobile App Localization Strategy Report 2021

Mobile App Localization Strategy Report 2021


Expected to increase its mobile penetration to 96% by 2040. Currently, 52% of the country’s population has access to the internet. Hindi is among the fastest-growing languages globally, and its popularity is unlikely to decrease in the upcoming years.

However, while Hindi might be the most widely spoken language in the country, there are 21 other official languages. The most popular ones are Bengali, Urdu, Marathi, Telugu, and Tamil.

It is important to note that some of these official languages, such as Urdu and Bengali, are among the fastest-growing languages globally



has proven its economy’s resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, China has undergone a nearly 41-fold increase in its GDP with an average growth rate of 13.2% a year in the last 30 years.

Mobile App Localization Strategy Report 2021

Indonesia and South Korea

are the little surprises of this diverse continent. In recent years, South Korea has made it to the top of the entertainment industry, while the Indonesian language is currently among the fastest-growing languages in the world!

South America Map

South America

South America’s population is over 422 million with 72% internet penetration, which is among the highest on a global scale.

Countries like Brazil, Argentina, and Mexico have become among the fastest developing economies, thus making the continent an attractive place for investment.

Spanish is the primary spoken language in this continent. There are over 543 Spanish speakers across the globe, with 210 million or nearly half of them situated in South America. In addition, there are 258 million Portuguese speakers in the world, and over 200 million inhabit South America.

The region is expected to grow its internet user base exponentially in the next decade. In Argentina, around 70% of the population owns a smartphone, and statistics suggest that there will be a 5% increase by 2025.

Internet penetration in Chile is also rapidly increasing. In 2010, there were 18.8 million mobile users in the country, and today, the figure has risen to more than 25 million.

Overall, South America has become one of the fastest developing regions globally, especially regarding its mobile users’ base. This, in turn, creates new opportunities for mobile app entrepreneurs. 

However, some of the leading economies of this region exhibit shallow English proficiency scores. For instance, the economic leader of this region, Brazil, has achieved a low proficiency score according to the EF English Proficiency Index. Colombia and Mexico also remain at the bottom of the ranking.

As a result, localizing your app is necessary to reach all the potential customers living in South American countries.

South America’s population

7.  How to use localization successfully

You can now gauge how significant localization is to reap all the benefits from these developing markets. Generally, localization is a complex process since many experts (translators, marketing specialists, web developers, designers, etc.) work together to deliver the final project.

Localization is a long and intricate process. However, you can make it much more efficient by following these simple rules:

1. Be clear on your needs and expectations.

To get what you need, you have to tell the LSP (language service company) precisely what you expect.

2. Be open for discussion.

Having a clear idea of what you want does not equate to making the right decision. Always let localization experts speak – they can give you some valuable advice.

3. Prepare guides and glossaries if necessary.

If you have particular expectations regarding style and tone, prepare style guides and dictionaries, which will come in handy when the localization process begins.

4. Let experts do their job

When looking for an LSP, choose one you can trust. Once you have discussed all the details, please step back and let the localization team weave its magic. Just make sure you are available for clarifications!

5. Set a deadline for your project.

Make sure you have a clear idea when you want to launch your project. Of course, be flexible because sometimes localization might take longer than expected. Nevertheless, set clear deadlines, and try to follow them. 

Communication is a critical factor in any project involving more than one person. Following the rules mentioned above will help you create a pleasant and motivating work atmosphere for both sides. 

There is a lot more to localization than just communication. Especially when it comes to mobile app localization, there are various technical aspects that one should consider to make the process as smooth as possible:

1. Plan ahead.

The initial phase might seem like the most challenging step, but you will always have to start with the intention to expand. Make sure that you always have a plan for the future development of your business.

2. Internationalize.

They are mainly related to the code of your app. Arrange all elements (e.g., text, images, videos, etc.) in separate files or folders so that they can be easily found and localized. Providing additional comments on different parts of the code could be extremely helpful as well.

3. Start small and expand.

You don’t need to localize all the content of your mobile app. Start with the essential aspects, and as your app’s popularity grows in the target market, you can focus on localizing the rest of the available content.

4. Leave space.

Text expansion can be a real challenge! For instance, English texts can expand up to 25% when translated into Spanish. Thus, leave ample space when designing your app.

Mobile App Localization Strategy Report 2021

5. Choose your design wisely.

It is best to opt for neutral colors and a simple design since it will make localization easier. In addition, some fonts are not compatible with all scripts, which can hinder the localization process.

6. Choose only one text encoding standard. 

There are many standards for text encoding, but make sure to choose only one instead of mixing a few different styles.

7. Test the localized product.

Testing is an essential part of the whole working process, so when setting a deadline, make sure there is enough time set aside for testing. This can ensure the best possible experience for your future customers.

8. Translate your social media, app descriptions, and do ASO.

Make sure you translate and localize your marketing, app-store descriptions, and images, and do App Store Optimisation (ASO) in the local language.

Last but not least, you have to think if you really want to go global. Always make sure you keep track of where your user base is situated and the regions in particular that are experiencing growth. This will help you devise a more sustainable investment strategy to target new locales.

If you want to invest in eCommerce or Finance mobile apps, keep in mind that these apps have an extremely long lifecycle and thus, require constant updates. Games, on the other hand, are much more short-lived. Analysis shows that gaming apps release more updates after their launch, and as time passes, they are updated less frequently.

However, don’t be intimidated by mature markets such as the US and EMEA since they still offer plenty of growth potential. It is Asia and South America that are showing some incredible stats. Indeed, these are the markets that will experience exponential growth in the years to come, so keep an eye on them!

Our App Localization Process

If you’re expanding globally and thinking about localizing you app, we would love to work with you. We have the experience, expertise and technology to make your app succeed worldwide.

Here are the details about our process:

Our App Localization Process
Mobile App Localization Strategy Report 2021

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