As you have probably noticed already, one of our primary focuses is on emerging markets and independent app stores. Why? As mentioned in our article about indie app stores, they have proved to be a great opportunity not only for user acquisition but also for app monetization.

They are growing, improving in all indicators (internet penetration, gaming revenue, etc.), and, most important, they are also interested developers like you. The Iranian app distribution market is quite an interesting case since it has very positive data indicators but also because it’s home to one of the most important independent app stores worldwide: Cafe Bazaar

About Iran

It’s not only about Android, the internet, and mobile data; we should also look into general country details to understand what’s Iran’s place in the global app market. With a population of 80 million people, it’s the most populous country in the Middle East, but what’s most important is that is has a very young population.

We are talking about more than 50% of the population of age under 35. In the economic field, Iran’s GDP is the 4th largest in the Islamic world, with 415 billion USD. What’s more important is the trend: the Iranian economy seems to keep growing on a yearly basis and e-commerce and mobile revenues rise by double digits every year. 

When looking into more specific data, we can see that the trend continues favorable for us developers. The penetration of smartphones was 110% in 20118, mainly with devices from Asian OEMs Samsung and Huawei, which results in a dominance of the mobile market by the Android operating system to a degree that probably can only be compared to Europe where the Android market share is 87.31%, according to

And if you think this is already getting juicy for Android app developers, let’s note that such a market just keeps growing. According to the latest report of Cafe Bazaar surpassed 40 million users last year and, according to their 2017 report, their app distribution platform witnessed a growth rate of 270%. 

It’s all about trends

When making an investment to develop an Android app, there are many aspects to take into consideration. Some valuable information we can take into account to make these decisions are future perspectives and trends. This is the main reason for us to talk about the Iranian market. After the trend witnessed by Café Bazaar, the main Android app store in the country, let’s have a look at the gaming market.

According to Statista, the volume of this market in Iran was 570M USD, but their prediction for 2023 is that it’ll reach more than 643M. At the moment, Iran is the third country in the Middle East in terms of gaming revenue, right after Turkey and Saudi Arabia. 

What does all this data translate into? If we are to look at today’s data about the mobile market in Iran, we can see it’s an interesting opportunity. If we are looking into the predictions and trends, it’s even more interesting! 

Iranian Players

As stated above, the population in this Middle Eastern country is much younger than the average in Western countries. The average of the 28 million players on mobile platforms is around 21 years old. For the rest of the world is 34 years old for men and 44 for women. These players are currently boosting the Android market since, according to, downloads increased by 98% between 2017 and 2018. 

Culture, as in every corner of the World, plays an important part for Iranian players. We’ve even talked about how culture may even have an impact on how people make in-app payments, but this does not mean that there’s no space in Iran for foreign titles like Supercell’s Clash of Clans or, one of the most downloaded apps in the country: WhatsApp.

Due to cultural reasons, all titles distributed in the country must comply with certain rules such as avoiding intense violence, gratuitous sexuality, in-app gambling, or promotion of alcohol. This should not be a constraint when thinking about distributing your app through Catappult since Cafe Bazaar, one of its partners, can manage those issues for the Iranian market. 

As we can see, the data is there, and the trends are in our favor. Iran proves to be an excellent opportunity for app developers to acquire more users and improve their monetization strategies

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