expanding internationally
Sortlist Insights

Country Profiles – What to Expect When You’re Expanding

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The number one rule for every business is to define your target audience before anything else. This is already challenging enough, but having an international venture targeting different markets in different countries, makes this endeavor ten times more complicated. 

Understanding the different needs and the influence different cultures have on consumer behavior is crucial for successfully entering the market of a new country, and after having expanded into six markets, we at Sortlist know what we are talking about. 

We decided to take a closer look at our core market countries, and the UAE. We created distinguished profiles to better describe and understand the individual preferences and needs of each of those countries. That way, we are also able to identify areas where there may be even more hidden potential for improved targeting.

In order to do so, we collaborated with HypeAuditor to understand:

  • IG consumption and influencer landscape per country
  • Pornhub yearly insights
  • Number of crypto users,
  • Start up ratio per inhabitants,
  • Time spent online
  • and much more…

to come up with 5 to 6 main characteristics per country and come up with their profile to help you have a better overview of what each country’s aura is.

Sortlist is often compared to a matchmaking platform, so we decided to take this comparison to a next level! We want you to match with the right audience, so consider this the perfect online dating profile per country.

United Arab Emirates: The Influencer Paradise

Business & Social Media 

With over 70%, the UAE has by far the highest employment rate out of all the countries we looked at. What may be surprising is that the UAE has the second highest start-up ratio (1 per 15,000 people) on our list. This could explain the high employment rate.

Living up to its name, the people of the UAE seem to feel at home in the digital world. With 205 cryptocurrency users per 10,000 inhabitants, it again comes in second among our selected countries. 

With over 66% of the population owning an Instagram account, the UAE is home to the most macro and mega influencers, internet personalities with a following of over 500k. This results in a ratio per capita of 1 macro or mega influencer per 13,000 inhabitants. Nevertheless the most searched job on Google is in accounting and not social media, as one would expect.

Finally, with an average of over 7h and 24 min spent online a day, the UAE earns its coveted title as the influencer paradise. 

Lifestyle 

The UAE can’t be the Influencer Paradise without offering some amazing destinations to visit and places to go out to. 

Home to one of the most luxurious cities in the world, Dubai, the UAE is the third most popular travel destination within the MENA region.  It is no surprise that one of its most used hashtags on social media is “travel”.

With over 1,100 hotels in the UAE as a whole, and 11,800 operational restaurant and cafés in Dubai alone, the UAE is a true influencer and tourist heaven. 

Also located in Dubai is the Cavalli Nightclub, the second-best nightclub in the world according to the International Nightlife Association. 

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Belgium: The Tech Nerds

Business & Social Media

Are you looking for Europe’s tech nerds? Don’t look further than Belgium. With plenty of driven entrepreneurs, the country has 0.5 start-ups per 10,000 inhabitants and the most searched job is in IT.  

Although only 36.9% of the population has an Instagram account, Belgians aren’t afraid to speak up and interact online. Belgium has the highest engagement rate on Instagram, with 4.8% of Belgians interacting with the biggest influencers around the world.

Lifestyle

Belgian women are the most interested in porn with 35% of the Belgian Pornhub audience being female and the most searched term being “Lesbian”, unlike the other counties, where it didn’t even make it into the top 3.

Belgians are not just open in regard to sex, but also to innovation. They are among the top innovation leaders of the EU with a 9% growth in 2021 alone, alongside Scandinavia.  Indeed, to maintain its lead among the European countries, the European Commission based in Brussels, created the Horizon Europe funding program, one of the world’s largest research and innovation programs, with a budget of over €95.5 billion for 2021-2027.

Furthermore, the Belgian male national football team is currently ranked number 1 in the world (January 2022), according to FIFA.

Germany: The Eternal Bridesmaid

Business & Social Media

Even though Germany is ranking high in a lot of our categories, it never manages to actually come in first; we, therefore, baptized it “The Eternal Bridesmaid”.

Germany is the country with the second-lowest unemployment rate (4.3%), the second-highest average net salary, and the second-highest total number of start-ups (2259 or 1 per 37.000 inhabitants). The most sought out jobs are in Marketing, with over 2900 monthly searches.

According to HypeAuditor, the most trending topic on Instagram among Germans is music. Lifestyle, which is the number one topic for all the other countries, only comes in the third position. 

Germans are the ones who engage the most with nano influencers and spend the least amount of time online, with only 5 hours and 26 minutes per day (you finally did it Germany, you’re number one!)

Lifestyle

We all know the stereotype of Germans and their sausages. Well, it turns out to be true. 

Germany has the highest sausage consumption per capita in the EU with 19 kg of sausage per person every year. To burn off the calories again, the Germans can hit one of the 9538 gyms spread across the country.  Germany has the second-highest total number of gyms on our list, meaning they, unfortunately, miss the number 1 spot once again.

German women are also the most prude with only a quarter of them using Pornhub. On the other hand, Germany is the only country having “Femdom” among its most searched categories. 

France: The Fashionistas

Business & Social Media 

In 2021, France was the leading country in the fashion industry, scoring 2,300 points on IFDAQ’s index. The IFDAQ is an automated quotation system that rates and predicts the fashion industry. Over 1,100 French projects in the sectros “Clothing & Accessories” and “Luxury & Jewelry” were posted on Sortlist in 2021. In comparison, the Britons only posted 61 projects.

But France is not only home to some of the biggest and most legendary fashion houses like Chanel or Dior, but also the number one nation for perfume exports, making up 27.2% of the total amount of perfumes exported globally. 

In regard to employment, the most searched job in France, just like its neighbor Germany, is Marketing. 

Lifestyle

Living up to its name, France is the only country to have “Fashion” in their top 5 most trending topics on Instagram, according to Hype Auditor. 

Moreover, France is home of the most visited art museum in the world: the Louvre. Visits dropped by over 70% due to the pandemic, but it still managed to attract 2,700,000 million visitors in 2020.

And we can’t forget about the famous pain au chocolat. France is the country with the highest concentration of independent bakeries in the world, with over 32,000 of them spread across the country. The French really do know how to dress well and enjoy a croissant.

Spain: The Party Animals

Business & Social Media 

Unfortunately Spain has a big problem with unemployment, especially among young people. Sadly, it is therefore the country with the highest unemployment rate on our list. However, with 1391 start-ups, the ratio of 0.29 per 10,000 inhabitants is bigger than in Germany (0.26), even though the population is much smaller.

Furthermore, Spanish marketers care the most about social movements, as our study has shown: 34% of Spanish brands have started a campaign regarding social matters. The Spanish also seem to be very interested in sports, as it’s the most searched field when looking for a job in Spain. 

Spain is also the country with the highest number of fake accounts following influencers who have more than half a million followers. According to HypeAuditor, 18.7% of the Spanish accounts following macro-influencers (500k – 1 mill.) and 19.9% of accounts following mega influencers (1 mill onwards) on Instagram are fake.

Lifestyle

22 of the top 100 nightclubs in the world are located in Spain – including the number 1, “Hï Ibiza” – making it the biggest contributor to the list. The average alcohol consumption per capita is 12.67 liters, ranking the Spanish citizens number 7 in the world and the second-highest out of our selected countries – only the Germans drink even more. The title “Party Animals” is, therefore, more than fitting.

We also saw that the Spanish are big fans of sports, and they are very specific when looking for sports content. “Sports with a ball” is among the most trending topics on Instagram. No wonder the most successful team of the UEFA Champions League is Real Madrid, winning the trophy 13 times from 1955 to 2021

The Netherlands: The Pet (and Porn) Lovers

Business & Social Media 

Looking for a well-paid job? Then maybe you should think about moving to the Netherlands, our nation with the highest average net salary of €2,611, and the lowest unemployment rate at  4.1%. 

The competition is highest in marketing, as it is again the most searched job. With 1 start-up per 17.500 inhabitants, the Netherlands comes in third on our list. Furthermore, according to Forbes, it is the 4th best country in the world for business, making it the second-best on our list. 

HypeAuditor mentions that the Netherlands is the nation with the most fake accounts following influencers below 500,000 followers. But the Dutch are also big entertainment lovers, being the only country having “shows” as one of their most trending topics coming up on their Instagram searches. 

Lifestyle

The Netherlands is not just the country with the most gyms per 10,000 inhabitants (about 1.2) but also the country with the highest number of pets: 27 million.  Yep, that’s right – there are 10,000,000 more pets in the Netherlands than people, meaning the average Dutch person owns 1.5 animals.

Not only do the Dutch like to spend their free time working out, petting animals, and watching shows, they also enjoy watching porn: 10 minutes and 38 seconds is the average time spent per visit on Pornhub – the longest out of all our analyzed countries. 

United Kingdom: The Drunken Founders 

Business & Social Media 

The UK is not only the nation with the most start-ups (6042, ca. 1.5 per 15,000 inhabitants), but also the best country for business according to Forbes. 

It has the most crypto users on our list with almost 5% of the population being crypto owners, and the most searched job is in sports. 

The UK has the highest total number of Instagram accounts (28,200,000) as well as the highest total number of influencers (251,610). When we look at the ratio, it is the country with the least Instagram accounts though, with only 23% of inhabitants owning a profile.

Lifestyle

Live music with a drink – that seems to sum up the average British lifestyle. With more than 47,000 pubs and 33,000 festivals, they sure know how to enjoy some epicurean leisure time. 

It is also worth mentioning that when Britons aren’t partying or working, they enjoy some entertainment on Netflix. There are over 18 million Netflix accounts in the UK, making it the country with the third most Netflix accounts in the world, after the US and Brazil.

Conclusion

What can you take away from that big amount of numbers and all kinds of facts? First of all, you need to conduct thorough research before trying to enter a new market. It is not just about the number of businesses and investors that a country has to offer. Cultural aspects have to be taken into consideration, too. 

Second, it is worth thinking outside the box. Different cultures offer different opportunities that you may never have thought were possible. So you may want to have a look at countries you normally would not be taking into consideration when expanding, and you’ll probably discover a hidden gem. 

country profiles 1
country profiles 2

Sources

Number of inhabitants

For social media (influencers, followers, engagement rate and most trending topics): HypeAuditor

Number of Instagram Accounts

Start ups

Average Salary

Unemployment rate

Crypto users

Forbes – Best countries for business

Most searched jobs

Pornhub (Report of 2019)

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