|Total Online Population (000's) in 2012:||8,500|
|Percentage of Population Online in 2012:||17.4%|
There were 8,500,000 internet users in South Africa (representing 17.4% of the population) at mid-year 2012, according to Internet World Stats. (Internet World Stats, December 2012)
Only a third of South Africa's population used the internet in 2012, according to a December 2012 report from the South African Network Society Project (SANSS) at the University of Witwatersrand, conducted by Research ICT Africa (RIA). Despite that low number, penetration was still more than double eMarketer's estimate for the Middle East and Africa overall in 2012, at 15.7% of the total population.
The makeup of internet users in South Africa skews extremely young. The study found that nearly three-quarters of the total internet population were between the ages of 15 and 34. Unsurprisingly, internet users were also more likely to be wealthy; almost three out of five internet users came from the middle- to high-income range. Still a notable two out of five internet users were low income or lived below the poverty line, suggesting that the internet is beginning to reach a wider swath of the country.
In a similar vein, SANSS also reported that 46% of the internet population was female-a sign that the gender gap is beginning to close.
Demographic profile of internet users in South Africa, 2012 (% of total):
- 15-24: 40%
- 25-34: 33%
- 35-44: 14%
- 44+: 13%
- African: 66%
- English: 18%
- Afrikaans: 15%
- Below poverty line: 19%
- Low income: 23%
- Middle income: 29%
- ZAR 5,000+: 29%
Barriers to internet use remain high in the country; many report that the internet is too expensive or that they have no way to access it. But internet use has already more than doubled in the last four years, according to the report, and SANSS predicted that by 2016 two out of three people in the country could be online. (eMarketer, February 2013)
4 million people in South Africa had internet access in 2010, according to Nielsen. (Nielsenwire, September 2011)
Searches and Search Engines
Soccer fans visiting South Africa for the 2010 FIFA World Cup can look to Google Maps to check out the country's tourist attractions. Google has announced that FIFA and South African Tourism are using Google Maps to provide Street View, 3D views, Earth Views and other details about host cities, stadiums and area tourist attractions. (tnooz - talking travel tech, June 2010)
Online Travel Market
"One day only" deals will be available bi-weekly. Starting May 10 and running until the end of August 2011, a set of themed experiences will be available every second Tuesday on Cape Town Tourism's website www.capetown.travel/winter, featuring some of Cape Town's top attractions - offers that will be triggered by a minimum number of people purchasing the deal.
Cape Town Tourism CEO Mariette du Toit-Helmbold has indicated their partnership with CityMob is in line with Cape Town Tourism's focus to leverage the immediacy and reach of social media. Social Media is at the core of their marketing strategy to both visitors and locals.
The special winter offers will be shared with Cape Town Tourism's 200,000 Facebook fans and Twitter followers, as well as CityMob's community of more than 120,000 Facebook followers across four city-specific pages and one national page.
CityMob is a national, community-driven group buying and crowdsourcing collective that shares with its members unique offers on special experiences in and around their city. (ForImmediateRelease.Net - Travel News Distribution powered by eTurboNews, May 2011)
South Africa Tourism (SAT), currently ranked 7 in terms of number of Facebook ‘likes', Twitter and WAYN followers of National DMOs, is set to become one of the most socially engaged brands in the worldwide travel landscape. Teaming up with dedicated travel and lifestyle social network WAYN.com, SAT seeks to grow its fan base across the globe, while aligning sales and marketing strategies with the intentions broadcasting of its following.
Research conducted by WAYN.com found Australia leading the way by a wide margin with their fan base closing in on the 1 million mark. New Zealand and Spain bagged 2nd and 3rd spots with 282,945 and 265,125 fans respectively.
South Africa, which currently has 78,502 followers on Facebook, Twitter and WAYN combined, is looking to steal the limelight from 3rd spot Spain as its following is on track to grow by up to 200,000 fans by April 2011. The South Africa profile on WAYN.com itself has garnered 40,112 friends in less than three months, outperforming the equivalent Facebook page, which as of November 14 2010 had recorded 33,589 ‘likes'.
SAT has previously run other campaigns on the WAYN.com platform, most notably the ‘Face of South Africa,' a competition to find a face for SAT's promotions in 2009, which proved to be a phenomenal success with over 20,000 applicants in just 3 weeks of the competition opening. WAYN.com is now set to help SAT engage further with their legion of fans by creating an interface to match intentions (as broadcast by individual members within the WAYN community) to corresponding offers from SAT.
Jerome Touze, Co-CEO and Co-Founder of WAYN.com stated that more and more DMOs are focused on cultivating their audience in the social media sphere and WAYN.com provides a platform in addition to Facebook, Twitter et al to engage with and influence millions of travel consumers, providing a tremendous boost to a brand's visibility in the digital media space.
He added that with increased promotion and competitions on its WAYN.com profile, SAT's fan base should grow by as much as 200,000 by April 2011, which on current figures would mean that South Africa would depose Spain to occupy 3rd spot with a total of 278,502 fans. (TravelDailyNews, November 2010)
South African Tourism has signed a creative partnership deal with TripAdvisor, taking advantage of the world's largest and most popular travel community's content to promote South Africa as a diverse and exciting tourist destination for 2010.
The fully integrated campaign, " the Ultimate Experience hub", offers South African Tourism a unique opportunity to engage with the TripAdvisor community, providing travellers with a dynamic blend of SA Tourism and TripAdvisor content giving the user comprehensive travel information to help plan their perfect trip.
As the country prepares itself to be the focus of this year's World Cup, SA Tourism is keen to promote itself as a destination with far more on offer than just football. The TripAdvisor campaign, a six figure deal, has been developed to educate all types of travellers about the range of experiences on offer. The markets targeted by the campaign are the UK, the US, Australia, France, Italy, Germany and the Netherlands on TripAdvisor's English sites.
The Ultimate Experience hub focuses on three key themes; Adventure and Wildlife, Culture and Nature and Entertainment and Leisure. Each tab will feature TripAdvisor's top rated attractions, as reviewed by real travellers, photos, videos and exciting content about South Africa.
The TripAdvisor partnership offers travellers the opportunity to engage with their destination in an interactive manner and to place South Africa at the forefront of conversations that are taking place online. (TravelDailyNews, February 2010)
The online booking of travel in South Africa is still in its infancy, according to travelmole's guest commentator, Mark Bradbury, joint CEO of travel technology provider RWA Ltd. As in other countries, online travel booking has been pioneered and driven by airlines and, in particular, by low cost carriers such as 1time, Kulula and Mango.
The success of Kulula, currently South Africa's biggest online retailer, generating over R2.5 billion annually in online sales is a testimony to the potential of this market which has a population of over 50 million. Internet penetration in South Africa is still very low. A recent survey by Cisco shows that the number of South African internet users has passed the 5 million mark for the first time, finally breaking through the 10% mark in internet penetration for the country. However, less than 500,000 of these have internet access at home. Most people and many high income earners have access only through their work. Looking forwards, predictions are that by 2014 there will be 9 million internet users representing almost a doubling in the number of users over a 5 year period, though still only giving an internet penetration of less than 20% of the population.
Looking at traffic to the web sites RWA Ltd host for South African travel companies, daily traffic profile differs significantly from those they host for UK travel companies. In South Africa, the web site traffic reduces to 50% of the peak traffic by around 5pm UK (6pm SA) whereas in the UK it is not unusual for the peak traffic to a travel website to occur around 8pm to 10pm.
While the difference in these usage profiles may not have a material effect on the volume of bookings taken, it is an indicator of how the South African nation is currently adopting technology i.e. internet adoption is currently being driven by companies (large and an emerging SME) rather than by the rollout of broadband or other to households. (travelmole, June 2011)
Travel industry online developments
Cape Town Tourism's Facebook fan page, I love Cape Town, has surpassed a quarter of a million fans.
The Cape Town fan page allows residents and visitors to share their favorite Mother City experiences, photos, and videos, while Cape Town Tourism shares advice about where to go and what to do, as well as great deals on Cape Town activities, having recently partnered with collective-buying site UbuntuDeal.
According to social media and digital analytics company Social Bakers, I love Cape Town is gaining momentum in the digital brand space with a growth rate of just over 2,000 Facebook fans per month.
Dublin has 8,856 followers; and Auckland, New Zealand, has 85,213 Facebook followers. Cities such as London and Buenos Aires have in the region of 300,000 followers, while Berlin, Australia, and New York have well over one million fans on Facebook. (ForImmediateRelease.net - Travel News Distribution powered by eTurboNews, April 2012)
Mobile / Smartphone
As in other developing internet markets, access is primarily on mobile phones in South Africa, according to a December 2012 report from the South African Network Society Project (SANSS) at the University of Witwatersrand, conducted by Research ICT Africa (RIA).
The report puts ownership of internet-capable mobile phones at 15.7 million vs. 6.4 million consumers who owned a computer. Not all owners of internet-capable mobile phones have internet access on the devices, but propensity to access via mobile is much higher among these users.
Internet cafes are also an important access point for internet users, with one-third reporting that they went online at these locations. (eMarketer, February 2013)
Africa is in the midst of a technological revolution, and nothing illustrates that fact than the proliferation of mobile phones, according to Nielsen. More Africans have access to mobile phones than to clean drinking water. In South Africa, the continent's strongest economy, mobile phone use has gone from 17% of adults in 2000 to 76% in 2010. Today, more South Africans (29 million) use mobile phones than radio (28 million), TV (27 million) or personal computers (6 million). Only 5 million South Africans use landline phones and 4 million only use the internet.
As in other countries, mobile phones are being used in a range of ways aside from talking. South Africa ranks fifth in the world for mobile data usage, ahead of the US, which ranks seventh. More than 20% of those surveyed said they download ringtones and a similar number said they download music. Wallpapers, screensavers and pictures are also popular downloadables.
The mobile phone as an internet device is also on the rise - 11% of South Africans use their mobiles to go online, and consumers aged 25-34 are the heaviest users.
Facebook was the most popular social media platform in 2010 in South Africa, used by 85% of mobile subscribers, according to Nielsen. Half of all users of Facebook in South Africa access the site via their mobiles. MXIT, a mobile instant messaging platform, is also popular in the country, with 61% saying they access the site.
SMS text messaging is practically ubiquitous among South African mobile customers, and is used by almost 4.2 times more people than e-mail. More than two-thirds (69%) of consumers prefer sending texts to calling, in large part because it is less expensive, and 10% believe texting to be a faster way of communicating.
The majority (60%) of South African mobile users said they are aware of mobile banking services offered by banks, but only 21% say they use such services. A much larger number of those aware of the services said they would never use them.
When one considers that just three years ago, there were no smartphones being used on the continent, the pace of change is stunning. South Africa is the biggest market, but other countries on the continent are likely to catch up fast. (Nielsenwire, September 2011)
Last Updated on Saturday, 29 June 2013 20:12