Digital stickers, commonly known as an emoji, is one of the fastest growing app today. Its various cartoon and quirky like expressions has made it easier for users to convey what they are feeling in a short amount of time. This makes it possible for users to communicate faster and effectively. These digital stickers became popular thanks to the Asian market, specifically Korea. Korea has some of the most successful emoji apps in the world: Line and Kakao Talk.
Kakao Talk is a messaging app that is making use of these digital stickers. The app “got a single digit proportion of its $200 million in 2013 revenue from digital stickers.” This app would have been even more successful if paying for stickers on android was easier; kakao talk’s success comes from the Apple store where majority of its sticker sales generated.
LINE “has 420 million registered users worldwide, who send 1.8 billion stickers each day picked from a vault of 10,000 that LINE produces in house.” LINE’s sales has been increasing since its launch with $70 million stickers in 2013. Apart from its success, LINE is backed by Korea’s giant search engine Naver, even some of its emojis were also made into books and TV shows.
Noticing the successes of these digital stickers, companies in the United States are starting to create their own emojis. These companies decided to get on the bandwagon when they noticed a lot of westerners’ interest in the app, especially LINE. Facebook and Instagram are some of the companies that are beginning to get in the sticker market.
The sales of digital stickers has been rising in the West; however, they are not as successful compared to the East. During the rise of text messaging in the early 2000s, westerners already developed their own emoticons, such as ☹ ☺. From these emoticons, there’s an emphasis on the mouth area, which means westerners can convey emotions from their mouth. Easterners, however, convey emotions with their eyes; for example ^^ ><. There is more emphasis on the eyes, which was how emojis were created. According to “The Neurocritic”, people in the west tend to convey emotions using their whole face, while people from the east focus more on their eyes. These different groups were observed using pictures of different emotions: “happy, sad, surprised, fearful, disgusted, angry, or neutral”. Through this test, it was discovered that Easterners failed because they “focused much greater attention on the eyes and made significantly more errors than westerners did.”
Emoji apps in the west can become successful if they are also catered for easterners since they can only convey emotions with their eyes; majority of the people in the west are used to apps that were developed in the east and they are most likely to stick to those apps. Social media platforms are now starting to use emoticons that convey emotions from the eyes, this way they will be able to satisfy the demand from both regional needs.
By Elizabeth Afolabi
Olson, Parmy. “99-cent Fire-breathing Cats for Sale.” Forbes 16 June 2014: 42-44. Print.
“The Neurocritic.” : Eastern vs. Western Emoticons. Blogspot, http://neurocritic.blogspot.com/2009/08/eastern-vs-western-emoticons.html?m=1 13 Aug. 2009. Web. 29 Mar. 2016.