Sometimes, it feels like all the tech-related statistics we see are about developed markets. We know quite a lot about them: from the most popular smartphone in the US (it was the Samsung Galaxy S III last month, by the way) to the fact that Kindle ebooks outsold printed ones on Amazon UK. But what is happening in the social media and smartphone space in emerging markets like South Africa?
Well, the country’s digital landscape isn’t always in line with international trends: for example, Research in Motion’s BlackBerry currently holds around 5.2% of the global smartphone market when it comes to operating systems. In South Africa, it commands a mighty 46% of the smartphone market — second only to Nokia. Android (the biggest smartphone operating system worldwide) is starting to feature too — Google’s OS takes third place, running on 11% of smartphones in the country. But feature phones still dominate overall, as only 1 in 5 South Africans own a smartphone.
It’s a bit of a different story when it comes to social media though: no prizes for guessing which site is the most popular in the country. According to this infographic, more than three quarters of the online population is on Facebook — around 5.3-million people (although some studies suggest the numbers may be even higher). South Africa is also on the list of the ten countries with the highest Facebook mobile penetration world wide, as 84% of its Facebook users log in using a mobile device. The second most popular social network is LinkedIn, with Twitter beating out Google+ for third place. Twitter usage in the country is climbing rapidly, as 12% of cellphone users (and 1.3 million of its online population) are opting to share in 140 characters or less.
While studying towards her Bachelor of Journalism degree at Rhodes University, Lauren gave into her fascination with everything digital. As she was more interested in creeping tech sites and Twitter than she was in picking up one of those printed things called 'newspapers', she decided to specialise in... More