In 2017, it is estimated, there will be over 16 million active smartphone users in South Africa. This number is expected to grow exponentially over the next five years to reach more than 21 million active users. The rapid rise in mobile phone usage in South Africa can primarily be attributed to the popularity of social media, which in turn has also sparked an increase in mobile phone usage to buy and sell online.
The upturn in active mobile phone users in South Africa has also affected internet usage and consumer habits drastically. Now, more people are using their mobile phones to access the internet than those using traditional access points, and more and more South Africans are enjoying the convenience of shopping online and transacting on their mobile phones, using both web and mobile apps.
Business owners and digital marketers have come to understand the influence and importance of mobile phones in the South African marketplace – that mobile is the future of online trading – and have had to adapt their digital and marketing strategies significantly.Now, more than ever, they are faced with questions like “Does our audience use mobile to access the internet and to transact?” “What percentage of our audience uses mobile?” and “Is our content optimised for mobile and is it user friendly to sell and buy?”
According to the Effective Measure South Africa Mobile Report 2017, in 2016 nearly 70% of South Africans browsed the internet through their mobile phones. Surveying nearly 5000 South African mobile phone users, Effective Measure has found that, currently, 42% of South Africans use their mobile phones between 30 minutes and two hours every day, and 18% use their mobile phones for more than 5 hours per day. 78% of South Africans have accessed the internet through their mobile phone just the day before. 40% of South Africans use their smartphones to access the internet and 21% use it to access applications.
In South Africa the most common searches on a mobile phone include searches for jobs, maps, directions and weather. The least popular searches include those for product reviews, medical, vehicle and property information. 48% of South Africans don’t use their mobile phones to make online purchases, whereas 43% do, creating an opportunity for online classifieds, like Junk Mail, to develop products enabling users to conveniently buy and sell online.
Shopping online is not a new concept locally. Purchases made using mobile phones in South Africa include:
Mobile shopping purchases % of South Africans
- Airtime 47%
- No mobile purchases 33%
- Apps & In-app purchases 25%
- Books 11%
- Travel Tickets 10%
- Event Tickets 10%
- Mobile phones and accessories 8%
- Clothes, fashion and beauty 7%
- Technology and accessories 6%
- Homewares, appliances and outdoor items 6%
- Media 6%
- Other 6%
Another very interesting statistic according to the Effective Measure report is that 44% of South Africans use the internet on their mobile phones while they are in bed, 35% reach for their phones first thing in the morning, and 36% use the internet on their phones while watching television. From these stats it is quite clear that mobile plays a major role in consumer and internet user habits and will for the foreseeable future.
Mobile has revolutionised how we buy and sell online
Not only in South Africa, but worldwide, companies are recognising just how essential it has become to be first and foremost mobile-minded in their business activities and marketing efforts. They are responding to the rising trend in mobile usage by changing the way they offer their products and services to customers. Easy-to-use and convenient mobile trading platforms have become crucial in order to keep up with and cater to the needs of a mobile-savvy generation.
Companies, such as Junk Mail Classifieds, have fully embraced the mobile movement to such an extent that all their product and service offerings are accessible on a wide variety of mobile platforms, including responsive websites and buy and sell apps for Android and iOS. Classifieds customers are able to conveniently buy and sell through free classified ads, among others, household items, computers, cars and property, as well as search and apply for jobs through the variety of user-friendly mobile platforms online classifieds, Junk Mail, offers.
Mobile phones have undeniably revolutionised the modern way we buy and sell online. As customers become more connected, their needs are changing. They want what is instant, convenient and simple to use, and mobile phones and mobile internet are offering them this. The statistics and numbers speak for themselves. Companies who are keeping up with and meeting their customers’ needs by providing fast and efficient mobile trading platforms to buy and sell online, will be the go-to businesses in the future and the ones we’ll not only see survive the competitive market, but put their stamp on the marketplace.
By Felix Erken – MD of the Junk Mail Media Group