By Nic Bowen
The Mobile Revolution In South Africa.
It’s hard to ignore the mobile revolution taking place across Africa when you consider the fact that more Africans have access to mobile phones than clean drinking water. In South Africa, the continent’s strongest economy, mobile phone use has gone from 17% of adults in 2000 to 76% in 2010.
Today, an average of 29 million South Africans make use of mobile phones.
This means that more South Africans are currently using cellphones or smartphones than televisions, radios and personal computers.
As of 2014, South Africa is ranked among the world’s top 25 countries in terms of mobile penetration
, and if that growth continues at the current rate South Africa would become one of the top ten mobile providers in the world by 2020.
South Africans are using their mobile phones for more than just talking. Recent studies have indicated that text messaging, recording video or taking photos and accessing the internet rate among the top activities that are currently being carried out on mobile phones. This means that more South Africans now have access to global news and views than ever before.
What This Means For South African Business.
As more and more South Africans are making the transition onto mobile devices, advertising and purchasing are also changing their focus from more traditional mediums. As many as 22% of smartphone users have indicated that they have used their phones to shop online in the last month
, with 48% saying they plan on doing so in the future. These figures are in accordance with the general trend of rising popularity with mobile devices in South Africa.
While the number of online shoppers currently remains relatively low compared to first world countries, these figures are expected to triple in the coming years. As more South Africans are making the leap to mobile, more businesses are adjusting their strategies to be more mobile friendly. This includes increasing their online presence, running exclusively online promotions, and optimising their current website for mobile devices.
As more and more businesses are beginning to realise the potential of mobile accessibility the greater the South African mobile business landscape is becoming. South Africa currently ranks ahead of countries such as Brazil, India and Belgium in terms of mobile usage
, and it is only a matter of time before online business begins to reflect that fact.