Special Features


Millennial Appetite for Mobile Apps Fueling Growth of UAE Tech Startups

Today we live in a world where we can complete our most routine, yet often time consuming tasks, be it doing the laundry, booking transportation, scheduling a delivery, or merely ordering food, with the touch of a button. And in a market where there is a distinct appreciation for convenience, this is proving to be a lucrative business for the UAE’s young digital entrepreneurs. This insatiable appetite for mobile apps among the country’s tech savvy millennials is fueling the growth of UAE technology start-ups, says Fahad Al Bannai, CEO of the region’s mobility retail giant, axiom telecom – and this is just the beginning.



“What we are witnessing now is a lifestyle evolution, one in which errands are transforming into services, all with the help of mobile apps,” said Al Bannai. “And in the UAE, where app developers are widely available, and entrepreneurship is encouraged, this technology is creating fertile ground for the country’s digital innovators. Many are already reaping the benefits, and many more will follow.”



According to local app developer, Flagship Projects, the UAE has captured 60% of the Middle East’s smartphone mobile apps business. The cost of app development largely depends on each app’s individual technical and design requirements, however an article on OS X Daily about iPhone Development Costs reported that the development cost range for “small apps” ranges between USD 3,000 – USD 8,000, and that “more complex or recognized brand apps” can cost between USD 50,000 – USD 150,000. Nevertheless, other resources quote even higher prices.



Numerous UAE-based tech-startups have already shown early signs of success. According to technology market intelligence provider, CB Insights, the country’s most well-funded tech startups include the car-booking service company, Careem, valued at a remarkable USD 350 million in 2016, delivery service provider, Fetchr!, valued at USD 11 million in 2015, and online restaurant reservations platform, ReserveOut, at USD 4 million in 2016.



Still, dozens of other innovative UAE-based startup apps are making a strong presence in the market, from on-demand laundry service provider, Washmen, and grocery delivery app, InstaShop, to numerous online food delivery platforms, such as Talabat, Eat Easily, and Food on Click.



A recent report from Accenture indicated that digital entrepreneurs and tech startups have the potential to contribute significantly to the UAE’s economy. Figures from the consultancy show that digital transformation, or optimizing the use of digital skills and technologies, can add nearly USD 14 billion (AED 51.4 billion) to the country’s GDP.



“For today’s busy and career-driven millennials, these apps serve as valuable time-saving tools, enabling users to multi-task and complete errands seamlessly and with minimal effort. I am confident we will continue to see significant developments in how these apps are developed and their functional capabilities. One thing is for certain, however -- the race is on to build tomorrow’s most coveted mobile app,” Al Bannai concluded.




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