How important is your smartphone?

At its Think Mobile event in Cape Town this week, Google announced new research findings about smartphone users in South Africa which can be accessed on the Mobile Planet website.

Google revealed that the site gives anyone access to the full set of data from the “Global Mobile Research: The Smartphone User & The Mobile Marketer”, conducted earlier this year with Ipsos, in collaboration with the Mobile Marketing Association.

The findings indicate that South Africans are ‘going smart’ – fast: 15% of South Africans have smartphones, but almost half of new smartphone users have only been using a smartphone for the past 12 months.

South Africans considered their smartphones to be as important as their purses and keys, with 83% of mobile subscribers not wanting to leave home without their smartphones, the survey found.

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

Google also said that South Africans are using their smartphones to make smarter buying decisions: 62% of smartphone users have used their phones to do a product search; 54% use their smartphones during the shopping process; and 26% of smartphone subscribers have changed their minds as a result of gathering information on their smartphones while shopping in-store.

In a similar vein, after looking up a business or service on their smartphones, 61% of people visited the business website, and 55% of people phoned the business.

The survey also revealed that smartphones are competing with TV: 50% of South African smartphone users watch a video on their smartphones every month; 49% use their smartphones while watching TV; and 35% would rather give up TV than their smartphones.

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How important is your smartphone?