Gender equality in SA Facebook usage: report

By Drum Digital
03 November 2014

There is significant gender equality in South Africans' use of Facebook, a report on social media has found.

The SA Social Media Landscape 2015 report, released on Monday, found of those users whose gender was identifiable, 5.6 million males and 5.6m females used Facebook.

The report was compiled by technology market research organisation World Wide Worx and analytics company Fuseware.

The findings, released in September, showed Facebook remained the most popular social network in the country, followed by YouTube and Twitter.

World Wide Worx managing director Arthur Goldstuck said the level of equality underlined the extent to which social media had become mainstream.

"This is a clear sign of both the maturity of the platform and its mainstream use as an everyday tool rather than as a high-tech choice," he said in a statement.

Goldstuck said of the South African users, 8.8m accessed Facebook on their mobile phones.

"This means that targeting Facebook users is not a matter only of marketing on the Facebook website -- its mobile properties are probably more important."

The biggest phone operating system used in South Africa for Facebook was Android, which grew from 1.26m users in 2013 to 3.2m in 2014.

BlackBerry fell from the top position to second with a drop from 2.6m to 2.4m.

Apple's iOS remained in third place with a relatively stable number of 580,000 users, while the Windows Phone emerged from below the radar with 124,000 to 260,000.

"More important than the operating system numbers, however, is the split between feature phones and smartphones," Goldstuck said.

Feature phones are low-end and have more limited features than high-tech smartphones.

"Five million Facebook users still use feature phones. While smartphones only just dominate, at 5.6m, it is clear that a large Facebook user-base is still on a basic device."

The most commonly used handset for Facebook was the Nokia Asha, with 1.78m users. In second place was the Blackberry Curve 8520 at 660,000 and the Samsung Galaxy S4 at 400,000.

"This statistic is also significant, bearing in mind the S4 is a premium device, underlining its social appeal in South Africa," Goldstuck said.

Fuseware managing director Mike Wronski said the Facebook user-base was beginning to resemble South Africa's urban population.

"The highest growth in the user-base is seen in three key economic hubs, namely Johannesburg (55 percent), Pretoria (49 percent) and Cape Town (44 percent)," he said.

"Interestingly, Nelspruit continues to show high growth, at 40 percent."

Wronski said South Africa bucked the global trend of younger users reportedly falling dramatically as a proportion of the user base.

"There is much debate about teenagers abandoning the platform, but it's not yet a factor in South Africa," he said.

"The 13-18 age groups remain the single biggest on Facebook with 2.5m users."

-SAPA

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