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SA females trail the males

20 June 2012, 19:53

Understanding of gender-based dynamics of the South African smartphone market, given the country's (still) new democracy and associated drive to ensure empowerment of the women folk, is of significance to me as a digital marketing strategist and infopreneur. 

Bear in mind that Census 2011 estimated that there are 50.5 million South Africans, and 52% of them are female (or 26,26 million).   

Let me share with you my analysis and key findings relating to the gender-based smartphone market. Data used were extracted from OurMobilePlanet report of 2011.

South Africa's smartphone penetration for males and females is 17% and 14% respectively. I am tempted to wax lyrical about Mzansi's gender imbalance history and how it may explain this skew, but I shall leave that to the politicians and stick to my knitting.

Blackberry, the current star of South African smartphone market, owes its dominance to females where it has 53% share of the market, with the second largest mobile operating system being Windows at a lowly 11%. Compare Blackberry's share in the male smartphone market at 37%, with Nokia at 19% andAndroid 11%. 

Females entered the smartphone market later, as shown by 79% of them being first time owners, while only 53% of males owned this device for the first time during the same period.

Of the 24 general activities that smartphones are being used for by both genders, five show a distinct gender bias, as measured by a difference of 5% or above - tether to a computer (41% male: 30% female), product search (65% male: 58% female), purchased a product (26% male: 17% female), watched videos on vide sharing sites (43% male: 36% female), and reviewed websites/blogs/message boards (47% male: 38% female).

It is an accepted fact that social media generally appeal more to females, and this is confirmed by the finding that 72% of them visit these sites daily on their smartphones, compared to 68% of males. However, males have 18 apps on smartphones as opposed to 12 on females’ devices. In addition, more than 50% of males and less than 40% of females are looking to use more apps in the future. 

What does this all mean?  Males tend to embrace mobile technologies more readily than females, and will more likely use their mobile devices to purchase products.  

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