Social apps take over SA smartphones

JOHANNESBURG, 14 October 2016:- For the second consecutive year, social media apps have dominated free downloads on all three major app stores in South Africa, namely Google Play for Android, the Apple App Store for iOS, and the Windows Store.

This is one of the key findings of of the South African Social Media Landscape study by technology research organisation World Wide Worx and media analytics company Fuseware. The headline findings released in September showed steady growth for most social networks, but the full report, released today, reveals just how deeply entrenched their mobile apps have become in South Africa.

The study is based on access to consumer data from seven major social networks, three app stores, and a corporate survey conducted among more than a hundred of South Africa’s leading brands.

WhatsApp in particular is dominant, topping the list of both iOS and Android downloads. Only in the Windows Store does it drop, down to third position, with its parent company Facebook enjoying number one position. Facebook is second in free iOS downloads and third in Android.

Facebook properties dominate the next two positions on iOS as well, with Facebook Messenger and Instagram rounding out the top four. The Google Play store has the same top four, in a slightly different order, with Facebook Messenger at two and Instagram also in fourth place.

Windows Phone has a slightly different mix, thanks to marketing emphasis by Microsoft, which has its own Podcast app in second, its cloud storage app OneDrive in fourth place, and the Microsoft-owned Skype in fifth. However, Facebook messenger lies sixth, giving Facebook three of the top six spots for free Windows Store downloads.

“It can be argued that Facebook currently owns mobile – but not necessarily its revenue,” says Arthur Goldstuck, MD of World Wide Worx. “Games completely dominate the top ten lists for highest grossing apps on iOS and Android, filling the entire top ten on each, as well as the top eight in the Windows Store.”

Fuseware MD Mike Wronski points out that smartphones have not been entirely taken over by entertainment impulses: “The occasional utility app does intrude in the list of most downloaded paid apps. The serious professional and business users of smartphones still want to combine their social and work lives on their handsets.”

The report shows that Facebook has grown by 8 per cent in the past year, from 12-million to 13-million, and Twitter by 12 per cent, from 6,6-million to 7,4-million users. Video sharing platform YouTube increased its user base marginally more, with a 15 per cent rise from 7,2-million to 8,28-million users. The biggest growth has come from photo sharing network Instagram, which rose 133 per cent, from 1,1-million to 2,68-million.


For more information contact:

World Wide Worx:
Arthur Goldstuck
Mobile: 083 326 4345
Telephone: 011 782 7003

Mike Wronski
Mobile: 074 1041969

SA cellphone users suddenly smart

A research study released today shows that the cellular habits of South African phone users have evolved dramatically in the past year as smartphones, mobile applications and the mobile Internet entered the mainstream.

The Mobility 2011 research project, conducted by World Wide Worx and backed by First National Bank, reveals that 39% of urban South Africans and 27% of rural users are now browsing the Internet on their phones. The study excludes “deep rural” users, and represents around 20-million South Africans aged 16 and above. This means that at least 6-million South Africans now have Internet access on their phones.

“Approximately 30% of FNB’s 2.6 million Cellphone Banking customer base is in the middle income segment. During the festive period for example, the FNB.Mobi site, which is generally accessed by the tech savvy via the internet on their Cell Phones, attracted high volumes of visitors. Cellphone Banking is becoming the preferred alternative as people across the board are driven by the ‘anywhere, anytime’ concept of banking.” says Ravesh Ramlakan, CEO FNB Cellphone Banking Solutions.

The big winner in terms of sites and services is Mxit, which enjoys the attention of 24% of cellphone users aged 16 and above (29% of urban, 19% of rural users). However, Facebook is catching up fast, reaching 22% of users, and in fact passing Mxit in the urban over-16 market, with 30% reach, versus 13% among rural users.

Twitter will also become a key mobile tool, almost catching up to MXit in the coming year, from a low 6% of cellular users at the end of 2010. The proportion of urban Twitter mobile users is exactly double that of rural users: 8%, against 4%.

“Twitter is the big surprise of the study”, says Arthur Goldstuck, managing director of World Wide Worx. “But it is being pushed so hard by media personalities, its time had to come”.

The most dramatic shift of all, however, is the arrival of e-mail in the rural user-base and its growth among urban users. There has been a substantial shift among the latter, with urban use rising from 10% in 2009 to 27% at the end of 2010. While the percentage growth among rural users is lower, the fact that it was almost non-existent a year before means the 12% penetration reported for 2010 indicates mobile e-mail becoming a mainstream tool across the population.

While cameras, diaries and games continue to dominate the list of features used on phones, FM radio and music players have become part of a mobile “Big Five”. However, there is a significant difference in the features preferred by urban and rural phone users. Three quarters of urban respondents (75%) use their phone cameras, but little more than half of rural respondents (55%). Music players on the phone get the vote of 53% of urban users, versus 36% of rural users. Surprisingly, the gap is reversed when it comes to games on the phone: 54% of urban users enjoy these, compared to 65% of rural users.

The Mobility 2011 project comprises two reports, namely the Mobile Consumer in SA 2011 and the Mobile Internet in SA 2011. It is based on face-to-face interviews with a nationally representative sample of South Africans, conducted towards the end of 2010.