When you think of Iran’s market, you should consider the neighboring countries as well. Why? Simply because there are 110M people in the region speaking Persian with a similar culture.
The official language in Iran is Persian, as it was (Middle Persian) the official religious and literary language of the Sasanian Empire, nearly 1,800 years ago. Iran has always been a great empire throughout the history so it’s obvious that it has a unique influence over the neighboring countries especially those which are speaking Persian or Farsi. There are approximately 110 million people speaking Persian in the region including Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan. It’s worth to mention that in these countries the Persian language is being used as the official language. If we want to dig even further we can also name Pakistan. The national anthem of Pakistan is in Persian except one word. The official language in Pakistan is Urdu which has many similarities with the Persian language and their alphabet is nearly identical to the Persian language.
There is a saying that goes like this: “language is the key to understand another culture.” With respect to this statement and the fact that all the countries that are speaking in Persian are in the same region, you can guess how perfect the situation is for Iran. These countries have nearly an identical culture, with the same official language or at least a language that has Persian roots. Even there are some famous poets shared amongst these countries which show the same cultural roots.
In terms of religion, most of these countries are Muslim. Keep in mind that religion plays an important role in culture and legislation. So what you observe in each of these countries might be pretty similar to one another. When you have a product that is designed for a certain country such as Iran with its cultural complexity, your team wouldn’t have much trouble to expand in these countries. Right now many e-commerce platforms in Iran which have reached a certain maturity are thinking about expanding to Afghanistan for starters. If we want to give an example we can name Cafe Bazaar which is the dominant android market in Iran with 30M users. There were many news and rumors regarding Cafe Bazaar entering Afghanistan market in the upcoming months. Businesses such as Cafe Bazaar which is a marketplace platform might have an easy market to enter since they have the same language in Afghanistan and Cafe Bazaar could offer them tons of Persian language apps which are developed by Iranians. Even DigiKala and Bamilo the biggest online shopping platforms of Iran are thinking to enter Afghanistan since they can offer them their taste of products and goods because of the similarities between the countries.
So when you think of getting into Iran’s market don’t think about only Iran, if your product suits Iran’s needs it would probably suit the neighboring Persian speaking countries as well. You just need to have the vision and the long-term perspective of the market.