SA Internet penetration stats

Only 34% of South Africans have access to the Internet, while 63% say they are not able to access it according to a recent poll by Ipsos which investigated various online habits of South Africans.

When asked how and where they access the Internet, 88% state that they use their mobile phone to go online.

Just over a fifth (22%) access the Internet at home, 17% go online at work and 11% use public places such as Internet cafes to go online.

“The fact that mobile phones are predominantly used to get online highlights a big reason for the large percentage not accessing the internet,” said Mari Harris, director of public affairs at Ipsos.

“For the many millions that do not have smart phones or the budget to buy data, going online is simply not an option,” she added.

While using phones to go online is popular across all age groups, the younger age groups are far more likely to do so. 94% of those aged 15 to 17 and 93% of those aged 18 to 24 go online via their mobile devices, compared to 72% of those aged over 50 years old.

Overall, there is a larger proportion of the younger population accessing the Internet than older age groups.

Only 34% of people aged between 35 and 49 years have access to the Internet and this drops to 14% among those over 50 years old.

The incidence of accessing the Internet is also much higher among South Africa’s white population with 70% stating they go online, compared to 43% of the Indian population, 36% coloured, and 29% of the black population.

The infographic below summarises some of the other results of the survey, including the amount of time spent online, and specifically social media.

Ipsos South Africa online habits June 2014 infographic
Ipsos South Africa online habits June 2014 infographic


According to Ipsos, a total of 3,730 personal face-to-face interviews were conducted with randomly selected adult South Africans that were over 15 years old.

The interviews were done in the homes and home languages of respondents. Trained quantitative fieldworkers from all population groups were responsible for the interviewing, which took place from March to April 2014.

All sample surveys are subject to a margin of error, determined by sample size, sampling methodology and response rate.

Ipsos said the error for the sample as a whole at a 95% confidence level is a maximum of 1.67.

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SA Internet penetration stats