What South Africans do on the Internet

Effective Measure’s September 2016 statistics show that the most popular online activities among South Africans are search, email, and social networking.

Effective Measure is the official traffic measurement partner of the IAB South Africa and provides accurate traffic and demographics statistics for South Africa’s top websites.

In September 2016, Effective Measure performed 315,781 demographics surveys on South African Internet users – asking what they did and purchased online.

Online shopping was a popular activity, and the top products sold online were books, DVDs, music, and tickets for shows and sport events.

The table below shows the most popular online activities and goods.

South African Internet Users
Use the Internet for Percentage
Search (Googling) 79.74%
Send / receive e-mail 63.26%
Social networking (e.g. Facebook etc.) 52.51%
Instant messaging / chat services (e.g. WhatsApp etc) 45.90%
Banking 36.72%
Check the weather 33.93%
Download apps / applications 31.89%
Read newspaper/magazine online 29.46%
Read/access current news/articles online 28.04%
Access listing sites e.g. jobs, property, cars 27.12%
Music downloads (excluding radio) 27.12%
Use/access maps/directions (GPS) 25.84%
Access classified advertising websites (e.g. Gumtree) 22.10%
Travel bookings / arrangements (e.g. air tickets etc) 19.59%
Play games 17.68%
Watch/Stream Videos online (e.g. YouTube) 17.60%
Entertainment bookings (e.g. movies, live shows) 17.31%
Make calls on the Internet using Skype, Viber etc. 16.42%
Purchase goods/services on the internet (e.g. clothing) 15.60%
Other Internet activities not mentioned previously 11.73%
Listen Radio online via a website or App 10.20%
Watch/Stream TV programmes online 10.08%
Subscribe to receive content or services 9.40%
Access auction websites (e.g. Bid or Buy, eBay) 8.78%
Download a podcast 5.70%
Dating 3.80%
Share trading 3.64%
Gambling 1.74%
Items Purchased via Internet Percentage
Books 21.28%
DVDs, Videos, Music (CD, K7, MP3’s) 19.12%
Tickets for shows or sport events 17.89%
Travel tickets (e.g. bus, train, flights, boat) 15.86%
Software 15.25%
Hotel reservations 13.43%
Ringtones, games or Icons for Mobile phones 10.78%
Holiday package 10.09%
Clothes and accessories 10.07%
Toys and games 9.07%
Flowers / gifts 7.57%
Health and beauty products 7.35%
Computers 6.54%
Cars, motorbikes, bicycles 6.30%
Food 6.01%
Sport shoes, sport clothes 5.77%
PC or console video games 5.31%
Mass market electronics: TV, Radios, Mobile, HiFi 5.11%
Search for real estate / property 5.01%
Domain names, hosting services 2.87%
Art objects 2.30%
Alcoholic beverages (beer, wine, spirits etc) 1.83%

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What South Africans do on the Internet