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South Africa mobile consumer trends


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South Africa isn't just Africa’s biggest economy, it’s also home to some seriously impressive mobile internet statistics.

Our report looks at everything mobile internet-related - from social media to education, banking to e-commerce. It's hard not to be impressed by how quickly mobile has built new opportunities for locals, and also businesses looking to enter South African market.

Published in: Technology, Business
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South Africa mobile consumer trends

  2. We know about mobile technology in Nigeria, and mobile money in Kenya, but what about South Africa?
  3. Did you know that South Africa ranks 5th in the world for mobile data usage? 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 Mobile phones dominate in South Africa Source: Nielsen (2011) 5 5 The US is just 7th.
  4. South Africa is the continent’s strongest economy, and it’s well connected African Terrestrial Fibre Optic Cable Map Source: Google Africa,
  5. Key South Africa mobile statistics POPULATION g ^ N *Adults aged 16+ POPULATION  UNDER  25  YRS 53  Million 49% INTERNET  PENETRATION* INTERNET  USER  GROWTH  (2010-­‐12) 41% 140% MOBILE  PHONE  PENETRATION 135% Source: Index Mundi (2013), World Bank (2012), ITU, Wikipedia, IDG Connect MOBILE  vs  FIXED  BROADBAND 8:1
  6. High mobile subscription rates South Africa has a higher rate of mobile subscriptions than both Nigeria and Kenya. It also has a higher subscription rate than the rest of Africa, the US and the world on average. Mobile subscriptions (per 100 persons) Source: World Bank (2013)
  7. Mobile connections vastly outnumber fixed broadband subscriptions Source: CNBC Africa (2013)
  8. Mobile internet - a priority for businesses "I think the biggest change is that globally the majority of internet usage will be done via a mobile device and for most people the mobile web will be their primary - if not their only - way of experiencing the internet.” ! Peter Rojas, co-founder of Gdgt, Engadget and Gizmodo Source: Business Insider (2011) 8
  9. Mobile is South Africa’s gateway to the internet 5 57 7 *Referred to as “landline”. Source: 80% of internet users are using only their mobile phone to access the internet, with 14% using both mobile phone and fixed broadband*, A minority 0.3% are using fixed broadband* only.
  10. Mobile broadband is on the rise 136% increase in mobile broadband usage from Aug 2012 - Aug 2013 ! Source:, Digital Media and Marketing Association (2013)
  11. And it’s still growing... Mobile operator MTN South Africa intends to double the number of 3G base stations in 2013, to extend wireless broadband access to underserved parts within the country ! Source:,
  12. Why are people using mobile broadband? The biggest reason why consumers choose mobile to access the internet... is cost. Reasons limiting internet use: 38% Internet is too expensive 66 Percent Source: Network Society ZA (2013) 25% Internet is very slow 21% No interesting content 19% Lack of local language content 8% Too few people to communicate with
  13. More South Africans own a mobile phone than any other electronic device What consumer electronic device do you currently own in your household? Source: Nielsen (2011)
  14. South Africans like spending on electronics South Africans spend a larger proportion of their wage on electronics than many other countries. In the past 12 months, how much have you spent on purchasing consumer electronics? Source: Accenture (2012)
  15. What are they buying next? Which of the following consumer electronics do you plan on purchasing in the next 12 months? 5 67 8 Which of the following consumer electronics do you plan on purchasing in the next 12 months? Source: Accenture (2012)
  16. Smartphone vs. feature phone Basic feature phones continue to dominate in South Africa — from legacy handsets passed on through families to affordable new models such as the Nokia C1-01. ! The smartphone market grew 45% from 2010 - 2011. Smartphone 29% Tablet 0.4% ! Source: BuzzCity (2012), Quartz (2013) Feature phone 70.6%
  17. VS The average South African will purchase a feature phone on Pay-As-You-Go with cash *average. Mobile Phones in South Africa Source: Euromonitor International (2012) Whereas those who purchase a smartphone will pay via a 24 month* contract
  18. Nokia dominates for handsets 100% 75% Others Motorola Apple HTC RIM / Blackberry Sony Ericsson LG Electronics Samsung Electronics Nokia South Africa 50% 25% 0% 2007 Mobile handset retail shares % Source: Euromonitor (2012) 2008 2009 2010 2011
  19. Handset OS & carrier: Nokia and Cell C rule Symbian&OS& 8.40%& Blackberry&OS& 7.37%& Windows Mobile OS 0.9% Android& 5.40%& Samsung&OS& 3.24%& Vodacom$ 22.20%$ Telkom$ 1.58%$ Cell$C$ 47.07%$ Nokia&S40& 41.92%& MTN$ 29.15%$ Others& 30.76%& MTKWindows&Mobile&OS& / Nucleus OS 0.90%& 0.53% MTK&/&Nucleus&OS& 0.53%& iOS iOS& 0.41%& 0.41% Sony&Ericsson&OS& 0.35%& MAUI& 0.34%& LG&OS& 0.21%& Windows&CE& 0.08%& Motorola&OS& 0.03%& Linux&Smartphone&OS& 0.03%& Windows&Mobile&(PPC)& 0.02%& Handset OS Symbian&OS& 8.40%& Blackberry&OS& 7.37%& Android& 5.40%& Samsung&OS& 3.24%& Vodacom$ 22.20%$ Telkom$ 1.58%$ Cell$C$ 47.07%$ Nokia&S40& 41.92%& Source: Euromonitor (2012) MTN$ 29.15%$ Others& 30.76%& Handset carrier Windows&Mobile&OS& 0.90%& MTK&/&Nucleus&OS& 0.53%& iOS& 0.41%& Sony&Ericsson&OS& 0.35%& MAUI& 0.34%& LG&OS& 0.21%& Windows&CE& 0.08%& Motorola&OS& 0.03%& Linux&Smartphone&OS& 0.03%& Windows&Mobile&(PPC)& 0.02%&
  20. What are they using their phones for?
  21. Facebook has overtaken Mxit 9,600,000% 7,400,000% 5,500,000% 4,700,000% 2,700,000% 1,100,000% 930,000% Facebook% Mxit% Twi:er% YouTube% LinkedIn% Total members of each social media network in South Africa Source: World Wide Worx, (2013), (2013) 2Go% 680,000% 460,000% Pinterest% Instagram% Google+%
  22. Over 5 million South Africans spend 21 minutes a day on Facebook v That’s a collective 200 years every day [ o Most of them are connecting through Pretoria, the capital city Source: Edward Chamberlain-Bell
  23. South Africa has the most active Twitter population in Africa t South Africans posted more than 5 million* tweets during Q4 2011. Next nearest was Kenya with 2.47 million tweets, less than half of South Africa, and Nigeria was the third most-active country with 1.65 million tweets. *Survey analysing 11.5m geo-located tweets across Africa. Source: PC Mag (2012)
  24. 82% of South Africans use instant messaging ! Source: Accenture (2012), SimonQ錫濛譙
  25. Social messaging voted #1 use for smartphone 100%# 90%# 80%# 70%# 60%# 50%# 40%# 30%# 20%# 10%# 0%# Social#messaging#apps# Voice#calls# More#than#10#?mes#a#day# SMS# 2B3#?mes#a#day# How often do you use your smartphone for the following activities? Source: On Device Research (2013) Email# Once#a#day# Daily#
  26. ...and WhatsApp is most popular! 68%$ 47%$ 34%$ 24%$ 18%$ 18%$ 13%$ 9%$ 6%$ WhatsApp$ Facebook$ BBM$/$ Messenger$ BlackBerry$ Chat$ TwiDer$ Mxit$ WeChat$ Which of the following do you use at least once a week on your smartphone? Source: On Device Research (2013) Skype$ Yahoo$ Messenger$ Viber$
  27. Did you know... Education and eLearning is the 2nd largest use of mobile in Africa? Source: TNS Connected World report 27
  28.  Dr.  Math Dr Math, launched in 2007 and with 32,000 users in South Africa It provides a mobile tutoring service hosted via a free application, MXit, the social messaging app and is available for less than the price of an SMS Source: TNS Global (2013)
  29. The University of Pretoria in South Africa uses mobile technology to support its paper-based distance-learning programs for postgraduate students in rural areas Source: TNS Global (2013)
  30. Nokia Mobile Mathematics What is it? “Nokia Mobile Mathematics is an engaging solution to study mathematics using personal mobile phones” It’s already in use in over 200 schools in South Africa, piloted in other African countries and available globally for anyone to use. Source: Nokia (2013)
  31. Following Africa’s lead in mobile banking: mobiles have also enabled South Africa... overcome its infrastructure barriers.
  32. 21% of South Africans don’t have a bank account but 90% do own a mobile phone... Mobile banking has taken off by overcoming Africa’s lack of infrastructure - so few local bank branches often means long distances to travel and even longer queues once there. Mobile banking eliminates this barrier. Source: Business Week (2013), TNS (Dec 2012)
  33. Mobile banking offers South Africans the security that a bank cannot provide South Africans do not view using a bank as a secure way to manage their money. Mobile banking and e-payments are not only Government backed, but they allow South Africans to pay bills or transfer money securely. After M-PESA’s overwhelming success in Kenya, it launched in South Africa three years ago, with Vodacom. They are currently investing in new technology to allow more local retailers to act as M-PESA agents. Source: The Economist (Sept 2013), Business Week (2013)
  34. Mobile  money  and  banking “South Africa’s First National Bank (FNB) customers can now invest and trade in shares on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) using the bank's app on any smartphone or tablet device.” ! - The Economist (2013)
  35. “Mobile shopping is becoming increasingly commonplace in Africa. It’s an exciting time for the consumer, retailer, and manufacturer as mobile shopping solutions will become more accessible, intelligent and compelling to use.” ! - James Lamberti, VP Global Research & Marketing at InMobi Source: Business Insider (2011)
  36. E-commerce is taking off $326m 2010 Internet retailing in South Africa, USD $ Source: Euromonitor (2013) the value of e-commerce, or internet retailing, in South Africa in 2012 PayPal offered merchant services to South African companies for the first time. Other payment gateways such as Pay4it, MonsterPay and Evripay provide e-commerce solutions for small and medium sized businesses
  37. The increase of e-commerce payment gateways that offer convenient and secure payment solutions has driven growth of e-commerce in South Africa. However, there is a distinct lack of mobilefocused internet retailers in the market. Source: Yenkassa
  38. 62% of South Africans purchase on mobile devices What products consumers are buying on their mobiles, (% buying) 62%$ 45%$ 11%$ 10%$ 7%$ 7%$ 3%$ Any$purchase$ Digital$Goods$ Consumer$ using$mobile$ Electronics$ device$ Source: InMobi (2011), World Wide Worx (2012) Travel$ Apparel$ Entertainment$ Tickets$ Other$
  39. Mobile makes it easier for small businesses Researchers in South Africa working for SAP, a software giant, are trying to connect very small businesses, which make up a large part of Africa's economy. ! One service lets craftsmen create a virtual job docket with a few texts or ! touches on a smartphone, even without mobile-network coverage. The information is uploaded to a computer system later. ! Another allows rural stores to order goods, saving time-consuming trips to city markets. ! Source: The Economist (2011)
  40. The average South African mobile user… Carrying a Nokia or Samsung feature phone Use mobile phone > any other device Moving from prepaid to contract Has low spending power High levels of network loyalty
  41. Want to reach South African consumers? On Device Research uses the mobile internet to gain access to consumer opinion any time or location. ! Mobile research brings fresh, instant responses that accurately capture the feelings, thoughts and opinions of people anywhere.
  42. Interested in mobile research? Visit for more information ! or contact Siim Teller +44 207 278 2267 ! ! Follow us: " $ ! #