A survey by Cape Town-based research company ikapadata conducted in April 2012 with 1,008 participants in townships in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban shows that 46% of surveyed township residents use their cellphones for browsing the internet, 43% for accessing Facebook and 32% for accessing Mxit.
This is in line with the findings from an earlier ikapadata survey in November 2011, which showed that 55% of township residents aged 16–35 have a Facebook account compared to 50% who have a Mxit account.
Comparing the characteristics of Facebook and Mxit users shows that Facebook is more popular across all Living Standards Measure (LSM) groups, but especially among better-off township residents (LSM 8–10, n=194), of which 75% claim to use Facebook on their cellphones.
Of the respondents in the LSM 8–10 groups, 54% say that they use Mxit on their cellphones.
Ikapadata said that they saw similar results when querying the age demographics: while the popularity of both Facebook (56%) and Mxit (47%) is fairly high among township residents aged 16–30 (n=652), 40% of respondents aged 31–35 (n=96) use Facebook on their phones, compared to 18% using MXit.
Respondents older than 35 (n=232) are generally less likely to be accessing social networks with 9% using Facebook on their phones compared to 4% using Mxit.
The results also show that 30% of respondents use their phones for e-mail and 20% use SMS services or take part in prize competitions via SMS.
Apart from Facebook and Mxit no other social networking or instant messaging services were included in the survey, ikapadata said.