mobile data wallet virtuous circle

Grow digital sales in emerging markets

Emerging markets represent a tremendous opportunity in the digital and e-commerce space. In this post, we will explore the possibility of introducing mobile data and airtime wallets to grow digital sales in emerging markets such as South East Asia, India, Africa and Latin America.


Digital Finance and Emerging Markets

According to a report by McKinsey emerging markets could increase their economies by $3.7tn in ten years if they adopt the potential of digital finance Examples being mobile wallets, online payments, pre-paid cards and digital savings accounts. This could add 6% to emerging markets GDP by 2025, equivalent to the entire African economy.

The same study found that almost 80% of adults in emerging markets had mobile phones in 2014 but only 55 % had a financial account. By 2020, it is expected that 90% of adults in emerging markets will have mobile phones and they will then have easy access to digital wallets that can be used for a variety of financial transactions: receiving payments, wages making purchases, and paying household bills.

In fact, there is a growing demand for FinTech products for a large under banked population with lightweight or browser based apps designed for emerging markets.


E-Commerce and Emerging Markets

E-commerce is booming in emerging markets with studies in 2017 showing an expected increase in online transactions worldwide, the main drivers being increased Internet access and ownership of smartphones. The majority of consumers in emerging markets are predominantly making online purchases with smartphones rather than by fixed devices on the Internet. In Asia Pacific, Latin America and Africa, mobile handsets are the first-web-enabled device the majority of the populations has access to.


The importance of Mobile Airtime and Data in Emerging Markets

In emerging markets, Mobile is central to all digital activities from content access, communication, and e-commerce. However, in emerging markets, most users have prepaid plans and depending on the market the cost of airtime and data traffic can be relatively expensive for the user. For example, in Brazil 75% are prepaid, in Mexico 85% are prepaid and India over 93% of mobile lines are prepaid. The central role of mobile in all digital activities, combined with the strong prepaid penetration make mobile data and airtime extremely valuable for the end user. In Africa, South and Central Asia and Latin America, Mobile Airtime and Data credits are so valuable they can be considered close to an actual currency.


Grow digital sales in Emerging Markets with Mobile Data and Airtime wallets

A very effective way to grow digital sales in emerging markets is to reward users that make purchases with mobile airtime and data credits. This system is sometimes referred to as a Mobile Airtime and Data Wallet. The concept is simple: the more the user buys, the more the user is rewarded with credit to be spent to top up prepaid airtime or data bundles. 


The advantages of Mobile Airtime and Data Rewards in Emerging Markets

Merchants rewarding users in emerging markets with mobile airtime and data will see their sales grow due to:

  • Strong gratification of the end user (The reward is meaningful)
  • Increased loyalty of customers
  • Increased mobile usage enabled through the data packages offered as rewards (This creates a virtuous circle leading to further digital sales opportunities)
  • Brand recognition
  • Association of merchants’ brands and products with the brand of the Mobile Operator.

mobile data wallet virtuous circle

Mobile data and airtime wallets are a very effective way to grow digital sales in emerging markets.

Koomalooma for developing your Mobile Airtime and Data Wallet

Koomalooma is an end to end solution that can be easily adopted by Merchants wishing to offer a mobile airtime and data wallet rewards system. By integrating the koomalooma API or installing the koomalooma plugin (for commercial e-commerce platforms) the merchant automatically issues points for each transaction to the user. The user can access the koomalooma catalog and spend the accumulated points to redeem mobile airtime and data packages. Koomalooma manages the entire process and is integrated into over 400 operators across the world, including the major emerging markets.

To know more about how koomalooma can support your company in adopting a mobile airtime and data wallet for emerging markets please visit or get in touch with us at


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