Yahoo trumps Google in Iran

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Yahoo Mail is the most popular email services in Iran
A screen grab from Yahoo mail login page. According to a study by Chimigi, an online research company, Yahoo Mail is the most popular email service in Iran.

A majority of Iranians prefer Yahoo as their primary email service provider, a study has revealed.

Chimigi, Iran’s first online research panel, has released a selection of highlights from its syndicated study on the latest web trends in Iran. The study is part of an online series designed to ‘create greater transparency for both foreign and local companies on the attitudes and behaviours of Iranians consumers and professionals’. The sample included 800 respondents who currently live in Iran and was fielded between December 24th and 30th 2012.

Yahoo came on top with nearly two-thirds (63%) of respondents stating that they use Yahoo as their primary email service provider. Gmail follows at 32%, leaving Hotmail with only a negligible 2% of the market.

In terms of email usage per day, 69% of Iranians report spending two hours per day or less, 18% between 2-4 hours, and 13% heavy users are on for 5 hours or more.

“Iran remains one of Yahoo’s leading markets,” said Amir-Esmaeil Bozorgzadeh, the Managing Partner of Conovi, the parent company behind the online research panel. “Although the general idea is that the more tech-savvy users prefer Gmail, and the trend we’re seeing is certainly moving in Google’s direction,” he added.

The study also covered web trends like usage of Internet security applications, e-commerce platforms and payment gateways, and preferences in the structure and design of websites. The anti-virus market in particular is led by ESET’s NOD32 (48%), followed afar by Kaspersky (18%), and Microsoft’s Security Essentials (9%). With what is being coined as an e-commerce renaissance in Iran, over two-thirds of respondents indicated a strong demand for web products and services to be localized to their native language, Farsi.

“There is an increasing need for foreign portals to fully localize their user experience in markets like Iran,” added Bozorgzadeh. “The brands that appreciate this fact with sufficient gravity, and actually act on it, will set themselves apart,” he concluded.

The demographics of the audience consisted of a highly educated audience, 68% of which possess a bachelors degree or higher (18% hold a masters degree). 23% are 18-24 years of age, 50% between 25-34, and 23% between 35-54. The majority of respondents are male (79%), 51% are reportedly single, and 46% are married. 51% lived in households with 3-4 people, while 36% lived with 1-2 people.

Iran has in excess of 42 million user base, with one of the highest percentage of population online in the Middle East. Iranian government has been increasingly tightening the country’s Internet services after it was discovered that regime opponents in Iran were relying heavily on Internet to communicate with the outside world. The activist group Reporters Without Borders had designated Iran as one of the countries under the label “Enemies of the Internet“.

In November last year, the United States, among scores of other sanctions on Iran for its alleged nuclear weapons programme, had slapped sanctions on Iran for its Internet censorship.

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