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Apple wins, Nokia bleeds in South African device survey

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BMI-TechKnowledge, an ICT research company revealed the results of a South African study of smartphone and tablet trends at a media briefing held today in Johannesburg, SouthAfrica.

According to the early adopter study, SA has a high demand for tablets (image source: file photo)

The latest stats are based on an online survey conducted with 1500 participants and tracks smartphone and tablet usage in the SA market as well as consumers’ attitudes towards mobile devices.

Ryan Smit, BMI-T Digital consumer unit head says the early adopter study, which focused on digital trends in SA indicates a high demand for tablet devices.

“The aim was to interview the early adopters of smartphones and tablets in order to understand what the future may hold in this space,” says Smit.

The BMI-T representative emphasized that the study focused specifically on early adopters and market shares, and not on the entire South African mobile market.

Consumer Online Survey results

In terms of tablet adoption and demand, 13% of the respondents already had a tablet, while another 40% are likely to get one in the next 12 months, while 58% were likely to get one in the next 24 months.

According to the survey, the most popular device is Apple with 65% of the respondents showing a preference for the brand, followed by HTC with 55%, BlackBerry 44%, Samsung 41%, Nokia 26%, Motorola 10% and LG 5%.

In terms of smartphone service providers, Vodacom is rated highly with 55%, MTN 48%, Cell C 23%, Nashua Mobile 19%, Autopage Cellular15%, Redbull Mobile 11% and Virgin Mobile 11%.

“8ta was not featured in the online research survey list,” says Smit.

Current, previous and future smartphones

Apple, who previously had 6% of the early adopters, currently has 16%, with 30% saying they would like to get an Apple smartphone as their next purchase.

This is in contrast to Nokia, with 40% of the respondents having a Nokia as their previous phone, 26% have a Nokia currently and a mere 9% would buy a Nokia as their next phone.

RIM moved from 6% previously to 24% currently, nearly quadrupling their figure, says Smit. Only 20% of the respondents would get a BlackBerry as their next phone.

Affordable smartphones

“Ultra cheap smartphones and tablets have arrived,” says Smit.

He added that’s mainly due to affordability.

“The BlackBerry Curve BIS service’s value proposition caused them to do well in the market,” says Smit.

“The BlackBerry Curve was the most successful smartphone in recent times. Cheaper smartphones don’t have to forgo much in terms of features,” says Smit.
Smit indicates that some consumers eager to get a tablet tend to buy a cheaper tablet, such as the Huawei’s Media Pad or the CnM TouchPad II.

Clash of the Titans

Apple, Android and RIM are leading in terms of global sales.  Social networking applications remain very popular for the SA market with Facebook remaining in the lead.

Other leading applications include:

-Location based applications – Foursquare

-Communication applications – BMM

-Games – Angry Birds

-Online Shopping – eBay

-Books and Magazines – Kindle

-News Application – News24

Bontle Moeng


  1. Hi great article I am currently due for an upgrade and I am struggling to chose between the iPhone and the Samsung Galaxy range, Blackberry is not my favourite as I am told it has software trouble sometimes and it jams now and again.

    I am not a tablet fan either, I want something very fast,(internet downloads) reliable (software) and can be compatible to most applications and work with other smartphones (bluethooth) connectivity. The handset should also be compatible with most laptops using windows applications.

    And yes I am a Nokia user currently but I do not intend buying it as my next phone.

    Please assist


  2. It’s a tough choice to make but it all depends on your personal preference. Think of your long-term goals. Try to buy your gadgets based on practicality and usage rather than novelty.

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