According to online classifieds website OLX, it has seen a surge of internet users visit its website via mobile devices. OLX revealed that currently more than 65% of its internet traffic is from mobile devices, and growing fast.
“We have seen a surge in mobile users over recent months, and each month the growth rate increases. If we compare our mobile growth figures of the first half of 2014 to 2015, we are already up by 200%, and with more consumers adopting mobile shopping we anticipate this to continue growing. In terms of items being listed on the OLX website, 55% are currently uploaded by mobile which is far higher than the previous year,” comments OLX Country Manager Stephen Ballot,
‘’Mobile penetration is at more than 100% at the moment and growing year on year, meaning that a lot of people have more than one mobile phone. You can now buy a smartphone for under R400. Desktop computer penetration is only 14% and declining, while the market size of smartphones in South Africa is said to be around 50%,” said Ballot.
According to Ballot, compared to abroad, interestingly North America and Europe have a much larger desktop penetration than South Africa, and the rest of Africa. ‘’South Africa is ahead of Europe in mobile and especially mobile payments. The emerging markets were mobile first long before North America and Europe claimed to be, and South Africa is certainly a leader in this area.’’
Ballot said low-end smart phone Android devices has enabled mobile to grow as dramatically as it has in South Africa. “Currently, five out of six users who have downloaded our App are on Android and we anticipate that this is wheremost of our future growth will come from as an increasing number of the population is able to access the Internet.”
“While data has become cheaper, it is still significant when compared with other developing markets. Hopefully in the years to come as more people access WiFi and smartphones become the norm, operators will be forced to decrease tariffs even further.”
Social media has also driven mobile usage growth in South Africa, with all such platforms designed around and optimised for mobile. OLX has more than 750 000 Facebook fans who engage on the platform, to not only communicate with company, but to engage with other buyers and sellers. “Social media enables us to reach out directly to a targeted audience. More than 60% of smartphone users have a social media account, thus any business that does not recognise the value of social media for their business is missing a huge opportunity.”