Digital Marketing Researches & Reports

Global Mobile Consumer Survey – South Africa, 2017 | Deloitte

Consumer Behavior | South Africa

For many consumers across South Africa, the mobile devices is not just a communication device but also the primary channel for them to get online and to access various life-enhancing services. The latest study launched by Deloitte on the South African mobile market revealed that the year 2017 was a significant turning point in the mobile industry in South Africa as the smartphone becomes the most popular communication device for consumers.

Find out more insights into how consumers in South Africa are using their mobile devices and also their consumption trends, usage and purchasing behaviour and patterns:

Mobile Operators in South Africa in 2017

  • 83% of mobile consumers in South Africa had access to a 3G or a 4G/LTE network. Most of the 3G consumers (41%) were rural, while 63% of 4G consumers are urban.
  • When choosing the mobile operator, 18% of respondents said they use it because their family/friends use the same operator and 18% said it because of the reliability, coverage and speeds of the network for internet.
  • The price/offers (39%), reliability (31%) and quality of customer service are the top three reasons make mobile consumers in South Africa change their operating system.
  • 33% indicated that their mobile internet package allows them to access the internet as much as they like, while 39% said they would access the internet more frequently if it was cheaper.

Smartphone Usage in South Africa in 2017

  • South African mobile phone users prefer to communicate via instant messaging (82%), social networks (74%) and emails (67%) than through text messaging (63%) and voice calls (62%).
  • Playing games is the most popular content-related activity across all age groups in South Africa while using maps for navigation is most popular among consumers aged 35-45 years.
  • WhatsApp is the most used social media platform among all age groups, followed by Facebook.
  • 61% of smartphone consumers in South Africa admitted that they use their smartphones too much. Most of them are users who aged 25-34 years.
  • The smartphone is more likely to be a second screen for South African users, with 69% of them said that they use it while watching TV/a film.
South African Mobile Consumer Survey: mCommerce & Smartphone Use

A Figure Shows the Most Used Mobile App in South Africa (By Age Group) – 2017

Mobile Commerce in South Africa

  • 37% of South African mobile users use their phones to browse shopping websites/apps, 30% use it to research a product/service, and 24% use it to read reviews about product/service.
  • In terms of the use of mobile payment solutions for in-store purchases, 63% of respondents claimed that they use SMS payment, 27% use Samsung and 25% use Android pay solutions.
  • 84% of money transfers are made using online banking apps.

Device Ownership in South Africa

  • The smartphone is the most owned device in South Africa with a 93% penetration rate, followed by laptop computers (66%), tablets (57%), and desktops (47%).
  • Concerning the connected device ownership, 30% of respondents own a games console, 23% own smart TV and 22% own wireless speaker.
South African Mobile Consumer Survey: mCommerce & Smartphone Use

A Figure Shows the Devices Penetration in South Africa in 2017


Data is based on 1,000 mobile consumers in South Africa.


Deloitte is one of the "Big Four" accounting organizations and the largest professional services network in the world by revenue and number of professionals. It's a multinational professional services network. Deloitte refers to one or more of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (DTTL), its global network of member firms, and their related entities. DTTL also referred to as “Deloitte Global” and each of its member firms are legally separate and independent entities. Deloitte's firms around the world help clients become leaders wherever they choose to compete.

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