7 stats that will change the way you look at the South African mobile space

Mobile phones

Mobile phones

Mobile doesn’t just matter in South Africa. It pretty much defines the country’s technological landscape. We are, after all, talking about a country with more SIM cards than people (mobile penetration is at around 128%).

It’s how the majority of people in the country access the internet and social networks. If you plan on using that knowledge to market your products and services to people in the country, you need to know a bit more than that though.

On that front, a collaboration between the Mobile Marketing Association of South Africa (MMASA) and mobile solutions provider Silverstone Solutions looks like it could provide some useful information.

Using the South African Audience Research Foundation’s AMPS (All Media and Products Survey) 2013 data, the two have released a mobile review and series of research reports. The first of these reports breaks down the South African mobile audience. Here are

1. 97% of SA Adult Audience reached through mobile in households

With an audience of 37.2m adults (aged 15+) in South Africa, marketers can reach 36m (97%) through a cellphone in their household. In fact there are an average of 2.4 phones per household and 32.2m individual cellphone owners.

2. 14.6m cellphone owners (39% of all adults) only use voice, SMS or USSD, but no data

So you can reach them with text and voice marketing, and engage them with interactive SMS, USSD and IVR applications.

3. 39% use ONLY Voice, SMS and USSD on phones in SA

That means you can’t reach them through Ad Networks, Google or Facebook. The other 17.7m (48% of adults) use voice, SMS, USSD and mobile data, which means they browse the mobile internet and use apps.

They are generally more affluent and can be reached through display advertising including rich media ads whilst browsing the net or using apps, MMS messaging, email and push notifications through apps.

4. 48% use data on their phones, but beware of falling in the smartphone app trap

According to the AMPS survey, there are 13.2-million smartphone owners out there – but since the concept of a smartphone is so nebulous, we prefer to focus on the mobile data user segment as opposed to smartphone owners.

5. Five percent own a tablet (1.8m) and grew almost 300% between 2012 and 2013

A significant 5% of adults or 1.8m consumers own a tablet – they consume loads more data and media than the average consumer, and represent a very interesting
and rapidly growing advertising audience segment.

6. Mobile is still way bigger than fixed line internet

The “Fixed Internet” accessed via desktop or laptop computer, is used by 6.5m consumers or 17% of the adult population

7. South Africans with smartphones spend more time on them than other screens

Alongside the AMPS data, Silverstone and the MMA pulled data from Millward Brown, which shows that South Africans pretty much follow global trends when it comes to the amount of time they spend on different screens.

When South Africans have access to Televisions, Laptops, Tablets and Smartphones, the breakdown starts to look like this:

  1. 29% : 127 minutes of daily screen time one smartphones
  2. 27% : 115 minutes on Television
  3. 29% : 126 minutes on Laptop
  4. 15% : 63 minutes on Tablet



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