South Africans want digital education, finance and healthcare

Ghana: NCA revokes Expresso telecom's licence
Ghana: NCA revokes Expresso telecom's licence.
Upstream has found that South African mobile users are not looking for the next Facebook, they want digital brands to offer better educational, financial and health services on their phones.
Upstream has found that South African mobile users are not looking for the next Facebook, they want digital brands to offer better educational, financial and health services on their phones.

A study conducted recently has revealed that South African consumers are less interested in social media applications. Upstream reports 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.

The 2016 Developing Markets Mobile Commerce report found that Facebook is by far the most accessed digital service on mobile phones in South Africa. As customer acquisition within mature markets becomes more challenging, developing markets and a slice of a $70 billion digital services ecosystem are an increasingly enticing prospect to brands such as Amazon Prime, Spotify, Netflix and Apple Music which are looking to expand their global reach.

The thirst for digital content in emerging markets is rising, fuelled by increasing mobile connectivity, with mobile connections estimated to surpass the 9 billion mark by 2020 in Sub-Saharan Africa alone.[1] The above statistics are highlighted in the findings of the 2016 Developing Markets Mobile Commerce report, commissioned by Upstream, and based on a YouGov survey of 5,215 adults in South Africa, Brazil, Egypt, Indonesia and Nigeria, which also reveals:

  •  The top 5 digital services consumers access on mobile devices in South Africa are: Facebook (81%), Instagram (35%), BBC News (28%), Apple Music (15%) and Netflix (9%)
  • Mobile has a multi-faceted functionality in growth markets, given that only 3% use their mobile handsets solely for voice and texting
  • 88% of South Africans use their phone for something other than texting or calling once a day, rising to 93% weekly
  • Web-enabled featured phones are the main device used for access the interest, used by 10% of South Africans
  • Consumers in South Africa are equally likely to use a mobile web browser as an app (41%) to access the internet on their phones

Localization of digital services is also key in growth markets, as 76% of users overall 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.

Marco Veremis, CEO and Co-founder of Upstream, commented: “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.”

Staff Writer