Localizing your SaaS’ (or any digital product) prices removes payment friction and increases sales in that area. But wait, what does price localization entails? Here are the 3 levels of price localization:
- Cosmetic localization. Which means displaying prices in local currencies, yet billing in USD. It allows customers to better understand the prices shown, because, guess what? Everyone doesn’t understand USD.
- Charging in local currencies. Which removes even more friction as it takes the burden of the FX fees away from your customers and onto yours. Spoiler alert: It’s not a burden when you know how to handle FX fees properly; It’s actually a source of extra profits.
- Deep localization. Also known as purchasing power parity pricing. It consists in taking into account the level of wealth inherent to a country and adapting prices to that market. Did you know Spotify prices ranged from $1.18 in India to $18.39 in Denmark?
But handling the world’s 180 official currencies is neither easy, nor efficient. In this article, we’ve applied for the 80/20 principle and looked for the top currencies to charge in, in order to unlock massive market shares. Here is our top 20.
Methodology to select the best currencies
In order to establish which currencies are most valuable for you to charge, we need to take a few things into account. You’ll need to fine tune those depending on your product and target: Selling SAP to Fortune 500 companies is different from launching Spotify in a foreign, B2C, audience.
More articles about this coming, but in the meantime if you have questions, we’d love to help.
That’s the total number of people actively using a currency.
Example: Euro is a great currency to charge in, since it’s used in 19 wealthy countries by 320M+ people. On the other hand, the Bahamian dollar is used by only 300k people, already used to paying in USD.
Some countries despite their small size are extremely wealthy. Depending on the product you’re selling, it makes a lot of sense to start charging local currencies to remove frictions, and benefit from word-of-mouth between local actors. Charging local prices is also your chance to adapt to local purchasing powers by rounding your prices up.
Example: Sweden, Denmark, and Norway are 3 countries that are outside the Eurozone but with very high (>30k$) GDP per inhabitant.
By charging a subscription to a customer, you’re entering a long-term relationship with them. Which means that if you started charging in that currency on day 1, you need to keep your hold of the bargain and keep charging in that currency. If the local currency is unstable, you’ll lose money over time, which is the opposite of what we’re trying to do.
Example: Venezuela. Venezuela has a history of socioeconomic and political crisis since the 80’s which cause crippling inflation. The equivalent of your $29 USD subscription last year, will be worth cents one year later. That’s something we want to avoid.
We’ve removed countries where the political situation is difficult to prevent headaches. If you wish to always be up-to-date on the countries that leave that list (and unfortunately, also those that join it), subscribe to our newsletter, or opt for specialized price management tools like Pricery.io.
Example: Russian war in Ukraine made the Russian rubble very unstable. US sanctions in Iran make business in Iran impossible.
Some countries have an official currency and secondary currencies in use. If the secondary currency is more stable than the official one, we’ll favor it.
Example: The South African Rand (ZAR) is a relatively strong currency also and is used in South Africa, but also Namibia, Lesotho, and Eswatini. All these countries have their own currency, but they are much less stable than ZAR. Charging in ZAR in those areas is simpler than handling 4 currencies and removes friction in all 4 markets.
The top 20 currencies
|USD United States dollar||🇹🇱 🇪🇨 +7||
|EUR Euro||🇦🇩 🇦🇹 +19||
|GBP British pound||🇬🇧||
|AUD Australian dollar||🇦🇺 🇰🇮 +1||
|CAD Canadian dollar||🇨🇦||
|NZD New Zealand dollar||🇨🇰 🇳🇿||
|CHF Swiss franc||🇨🇭||
|ILS Israeli new shekel||🇮🇱 🇵🇸||
|DKK Danish krone||🇩🇰||
|NOK Norwegian krone||🇳🇴||
|SEK Swedish krona||🇸🇪||
|SGD Singapore dollar||🇧🇳 🇸🇬||
|JPY Japanese yen||🇯🇵||
|TWD New Taiwan dollar||🇹🇼||
|BRL Brazilian real||🇧🇷||
|INR Indian rupee||🇧🇹 🇮🇳 +1||
|MXN Mexican peso||🇲🇽||
|PKR Pakistani rupee||🇵🇰||
|ZAR South African rand||🇱🇸 +3||
|PLN Polish złoty||🇵🇱||
Side-note about the currencies’ categories
Rich markets (14 currencies)
These countries have been selected first as they have the most wealthy populations. The average GDP per capita being greater than $20k. They are also stable countries, with a total number of English speakers 560M people (out of 900M total pop). These currencies are absolute must-have for any SaaS or digital product and will unlock massive growth in those regions.
Big markets (4 currencies)
These markets are so massive that the simple optimization of taking their currency could 10x your sales there. Brazil, Mexico, Indian and Pakistan, account for a total 260M English-speakers. Those people tend to have higher level of education and a much higher GDP/capita than the GDP per capita official figure.
Also, if you’re building something these market wants, a local competitor will sooner or later appear and serve it. Charging in local currencies (and ideally translating your site) prevent those copycats from rising and take your market shares.
Rising markets (2 currencies)
We limited our pick to the Polish Zloty, and the South African Rand (which is actually used in 3 other countries) to keep the count at 20. They both have quite resilient and stable economies, while hosting 15M English speakers each.
If you’re interested in opening new countries, keeping up-to-date with local laws and currencies, prioritizing your international expansion, nail local best practices, or anything related to localizing your SaaS and increasing your growth, let us know. Not only are experts at it: It’s a topic we love deeply and are curious to see your use-case.