Smartphone usage stats: SA versus the world

Google recently unveiled the results of a new global survey on smartphone usage and mobile marketing, which was made available freely online at a website called Our Mobile Planet.

The statistics available from the site are from a survey entitled “Global Mobile Research: The Smartphone User & The Mobile Marketer,” which was conducted earlier this year by Ipsos GmbH, TNS Infratest and the Mobile Marketing Association.

Among the data collected is the smartphone penetration of the various countries surveyed; the number of apps installed, downloaded, and purchased; and how long the average user had been using smartphones.

Smartphone penetration

According to the survey findings, South African smartphone penetration is 15%, while the average smartphone user in South Africa is 18-34 years old, well educated, and working full-time. The majority of smartphone users in SA are first-timers who have had their devices for under a year.

Mobile Planet 2011 - Smartphone penetration and usage in South Africa
Mobile Planet 2011 - Smartphone penetration and usage in South Africa

Compared to the other countries surveyed, South Africa’s smartphone penetration is relatively low. SA comes in fourth from the bottom with only Turkey, Malaysia, and Japan below it.

However, the website warned that the Japanese data excludes feature phones, and it is worth noting that no other African countries were surveyed.

Mobile Planet 2011 - Smartphone penetration and first time users
Mobile Planet 2011 - Smartphone penetration and first time users

Apps

The survey found that on average, South Africans have 15 apps installed, used 7 apps in the last 30 days, and have purchased 6 apps in an app store.

These numbers are lower than most other countries, but still respectable. For instance, urban India, Korea, Russia, Thailand, and urban China all buy less apps on average than South Africans do.

Mobile Planet 2011 - Apps purchased
Mobile Planet 2011 - Apps purchased

South Africa is one of the top-ranking countries when it comes to social networking from a smartphone, coming in fourth after Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand.

Smartphones as primary Internet access

Interestingly, 35% of South Africans said that they prefer to use the Internet on their smartphone because it’s cheaper than on their desktop or other device. This places South Africa third for this statement, only outranked by urban China (37%) and India (46%).

Comparing these statistics to those users that say they have no Internet access at home other than their smartphone is also interesting. The placing of the top 3 countries remains the same, with South Africa in third (23%), China second (25%) and India first (36%)

Mobile Planet 2011 - Smartphone cheapest Internet access option
Mobile Planet 2011 - Smartphone cheapest Internet access option
Mobile Planet 2011 - Smartphone only Internet access at home
Mobile Planet 2011 - Smartphone only Internet access at home

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Smartphone usage stats: SA versus the world