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Mobile in SA Report 2017: Vodacom, Samsung have handy lead

Tracking firm Effective Measure has released its Mobile in South Africa Report for 2017, having surveyed 4993 mobile internet users from November 2016 to January 2017.

For starters, the company found that almost 70% of South African users were browsing the web from their phone, representing a 15% increase from 2015.

Who/what reigns supreme?

In the network department, Vodacom sat pretty with 53% of the pie, followed by MTN (30%), Cell C (12%) and then Telkom Mobile (4%). It’s not immediately clear if Telkom Mobile grew significantly, in light of last year’s attractive FreeMe packages. Although a 2016 MoneyWeb report claims that the network’s “post-paid revenue” marketshare was sitting at 4% in 2015.

As for the prepaid/contract breakdown, 63% of users have a contract.

As for the most popular mobile brand? Samsung lost 1% compared to 2015, but maintains a healthy number one status with 40% marketshare. In fact, despite the modest drop, it actually extended its lead over the second-placed “other”, that great mobile brand (dropping 5% to end up at 22%).

The Mobile in SA report found that 18% of SA mobile internet surfers used their phone for more than five hours a day

Other notable brands in the cellular mix include Apple (10%), Huawei (9%), Nokia (6%) and BlackBerry (6%). For some reason, the report has seen it fit to include HTC (0%), even though they haven’t been in the market since 2015.

What about the most popular messaging options? Did you even need to ask? WhatsApp is used by 83% of South Africans, the poll found. This was followed by SMS (51%) and Facebook Messenger (40%). Other players making an appearance include Hangouts (9%), Skype (8%), iMessage (7%) and “other” (6%).

WeChat and BBM led the tail-end of the field, at 4% each, while Snapchat and ChatOn had 2% each. Is advertising spend on Snapchat a waste then? Well, it depends on who you’re targeting obviously. Still, it’s rather amusing to see BBM have double the (apparent) popularity of the mobile darling.

Habits revealed

mobile in sa em 1

What are South Africans doing with their phones, then? And when are they doing it?

“The most common cell phone searches were for job information, directions and maps, and the weather. The least common search was for product reviews,” read an excerpt of the report.

The Effective Measure report also found that 47% of South African smartphone users have purchased airtime via their phone, with apps/in-app purchases (25%) and books (11%) following. Interestingly enough, a third of users have never bought anything on their smartphone.

Where are the polled South Africans using the web on their phones? Well, 44% use it in bed, 35% use it as soon as they wake up and 13% use it in the bathroom.

The advertising/marketing equation

When it came to the advertising side of the report, it found that 26% of polled users can’t remember the last ad they saw on their phone. Meanwhile, 22% saw an SMS ad, 19% saw an ad on a website, 15% saw an in-app ad and 6% saw an in-game ad. Just 6% saw an ad within a video.

What are the conditions for clicking an ad though? Well, 45% would click an ad if it was something they wanted/needed, 33% would click if they knew it was safe, and 21% would click the ad if it got their attention.

Samsung’s role in the report?

Samsung was a partner of the report, although the exact nature of the partnership wasn’t immediately known.

Nevertheless, we asked Effective Measure about the partnership and what kind of assurances they have that the public could trust the results. After all, the Korean company is prominently featured in one of the statistics.

“Effective Measure wrote, implemented, analysed and presented the research,” a representative told Memeburn. “Samsung made a financial contribution to create the report.”

Samsung also wanted a few questions asked, while getting a preview of the report before it went live. We’ve asked Effective Measure which questions Samsung wanted to be asked (we assume it’s related to mobile brands), and will update the article if/when we receive a response.

Update, 30 May 2017: An Effective Measure representative told Memeburn that Samsung only requested a question surrounding device manufacturers.

Author | Hadlee Simons

Hadlee Simons
Terrible puns make Hadlee Simons difficult to work with, but he brings over seven years of tech journalism experience to the table. When he's not at work or watching motorsport, he's in the foetal position on a jiu jitsu mat. More