Internet use dominates SA smartphones - research

Android smartphone. (Duncan Alfreds, Fin24)
Android smartphone. (Duncan Alfreds, Fin24)

Cape Town – South Africans are fast adopting mobile internet services as smartphone use climbs among locals, says a new survey.

At least 84% of South Africans access the internet on their phones regularly, according to a survey by Effective Measure and the Interactive Advertising Bureau South Africa (IAB).

That number is up from 81.6% in the survey conducted in August 2014.

“It is wonderful to see mobile usage moving beyond basic communication (email, SMS and instant messaging). The volume of cost effective devices makes it possible for almost everyone to have access to the internet,” said Bronwen Auret, head of Digital Operations at MetropolitanRepublic.

Just 3% of respondents say they do not access the internet at all on their mobile devices, and 20% admit to using their smartphone to send and receive SMSes.

Waking and sleeping

READ: Here are SA's most popular smartphone, tablet brands

For marketers the survey revealed that location has become important as 89% of people make searches based on their location and 83% use their device while watching TV.

“Mobile phones are the first screen in most people’s lives. I trust marketers will be encouraged by this data and be able to drive their strategies and spend into the hands to their consumers,” Auret said.

Many people (70%) use their smartphone as soon as they wake up, 60% use it in bed, and 12% use their phones while driving.

In terms of usage patterns, 90% of people use smartphones to “search on Google” while social media use is at 85% and instant messaging application use is at about 87%.

The survey, conducted with partners Silverstone and MMA, showed that 60% of South Africans download apps for the handsets, while 19% say they are “not comfortable” with technology.

The survey was conducted between November and December 2015 among 2 299 respondents.

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