South African consumers still use BlackBerry devices, visit bank branches, and send loads of text messages. But in the same breath more of them are adopting the mobile internet, apps, and instant messaging systems. One thing is also clear: less money is being spent on voice calls now, and mobile data is what consumers allocate their funds to.
Those are just some of the statistics from this year’s Mobility report, with research conducted by World Wide Worx.
FNB’s Dione Sankar presented the bank’s statistics for the uptake of its mobile banking application on smartphones – an app sees 28 000 devices a month linking up to use it. The bank admits that the initial availability of the app on Apple’s iPhone has seen it enjoy huge success, and as a result most of FNB’s app users have iPhones. But Android usage is increasing and its expected that by next year Android phones could overtake iOS handsets for usage of the FNB app.
Even with apps for most major smartphones, cellphone banking (using USSD technology) is still the preferred method of mobile banking for most consumers. The biggest use – by a long shot – for cellphone banking is purchasing airtime.
Despite all the technology available, consumers still reported that they use ATMs most, and still visit bank branches. The latter in the case of paying accounts and bills, even with similar facilities being available on mobile platforms.
Moving away from banking, the statistics painted a different picture in terms of market share for handsets. Here, Nokia reigns supreme controlling 44% of the local market. BlackBerry features in second place with 23% – and growing – while Samsung has a healthy 19% share of the local market. It might be seemingly prevalent, but Apple’s iPhone only has a 2% share. There’s good news for other handset manufacturers, though: most respondents to the survey said that they do not plan on keeping their handsets for longer than two years, which should present opportunities for smaller brands to make inroads with innovative devices.
When it comes to spending money, though, Apple users spend more on their data and voice calls than users of all other brands. On average, though, prepaid users spend R155 a month while contract users drop an average of R364 per month on staying connected.
As for tablets, 25% of those in the survey said they would like to acquire a tablet computer in the next six months – which would add to the 5% of South Africa’s population that already uses tablets. Of those, more than half are Samsung devices.
With voice calls seeing decreased use, the focus shifts to data where people between 18 and 24 years old spend 23% of their bill on staying connected to the internet. SMS might still be popular – with 28% of the mobile population using it exclusively – but applications like Twitter, Facebook, and Whatsapp are seeing heavy use for those who want to message friends and stay in touch. The latter is used by 53% of those surveyed, while Facebook Messenger is also heavily used by 45% of people.
And when the mobile connected population is compared to those using fixed lines, it proves that the mobile market is bigger. Goldstuck’s stats show that most people who have a fixed line internet connection are also likely to have mobile internet access, but it’s not the same for those primary connectivity is a mobile data solution. 6.4-million people use both means of remaining connected to the internet – yet a whopping 5.8-million people rely solely on a mobile internet connection using their phones.