Newly released research by a top mobile commerce accelerator reveals that South African mobile users aren’t looking for another social network to add to their selection of mobile apps, but want more meaningful services in areas such as education.

Upstream revealed this in its 2016 Developing Markets Mobile Commerce report compiled using data from an online survey conducted among 5 215 adults in Brazil, Nigeria, South Africa, Egypt and Indonesia in January this year.

In its report, Upstream explained that digital brands looking to engage South African consumers need to focus on providing digital services in the education 25%, finance 22% and health 20% sectors.

“This highlights the revolutionising potential of mobile devices in growth markets, with mobile becoming a key access point for services and amenities that are typically offered in very different ways in developing economies,” the accelerator said.

The report also showed that the top five digital services consumers access on their mobiles in South Africa are: Facebook (81%), Instagram (35%), BBC News (28%), Apple Music (15%) and Netflix (9%).

While social and multi media and news dominated respondents preference, the thirst for different digital content, fuelled by more people accessing mobiles, is rising.

“Social media services are currently the most widely consumed in emerging markets. Yet, our survey found that consumers are not looking for the next big social media tool, instead, they want digital services in education, finance and healthcare, where there is currently a market gap. Forward-thinking digital services providers will take note of this – rather than competing with established giants, they can make a significant mark by listening to consumers in emerging markets and giving them services that better suit what they are clamouring for,” Marco Veremis, CEO and Co-founder of Upstream, said in a statement.

Localied digital services are also key in growth markets, as 76% of respondent overall said they want a strong local feel to their mobile content and services.

“This response is more nuanced in South Africa, where for news (61%) and lifestyle (55%) content, respondents prefer an equal mix of local and international sources, but for financial services 59% of respondents said they preferred mostly or entirely local content,” Upstream said.