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How do South Africans use their phones?

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This is according to the IAB SA, in collaboration with Effective Measure, which released the findings of its Mobile Online flash poll 2015, which collected the opinions of 5 760 South Africans to gain further insights into the mobile habits of the South African online population. The poll examines factors such as mobile usage, emotional attachment and mobile purchasing habits.
“The Mobile Online flash poll is an important resource for gaining insights into the online mobile usage behaviour and habits of the South African population,” says Josephine Buys, IAB SA CEO. “The poll presents interesting findings in terms of the value that consumers place on their mobile devices and the role these devices play in their everyday lives.”
She adds that 40% of poll respondents were contract users, while 60% used prepaid mobile services; 16% of these respondents also used top-up services. “Interestingly, of those respondents who spent more than R800 per month 76% were on contract. On the other end of the scale, those who spent less than R200 per month 79% were on pre-paid.”
The poll found that the majority of respondents could be identified as early adopters, who are highly influential within their circle of friends and/or family. This was evident in the fact that 67% of respondents said they would recommend an app or mobi-site to their friends and family, while 51% believe that people come to them for advice on how to use their cellphones properly.
The poll uncovered a wide variety of uses for cellphone Internet amongst respondents. Aside from searching for information, instant messaging services, sending and receiving emails, and using social networking platforms, 51% said they browse for inspiration or to access digital how-to guides.
Findings in terms of when respondents use their mobile devices were equally interesting. Essentially, respondents are using their mobile devices throughout the course of the day, in between their daily tasks, at any given opportunity. 79% of respondents even claimed they use their cellphones while they are watching television.
When looking at why and when respondents use their mobile devices, it comes as no surprise that the value and importance they place on these devices is considerable.  75% of respondents feel they would be disconnected from the world without their cellphone, and 29% say their lives revolve around their cellphones.
Almost 60% of respondents said they spent under 30 minutes per day on calls, while about 25% said they spent 30 to 60 minutes per day on social platforms or browsing. About 15% of respondents admitted to spending 5 hours or more per day using social platforms and browsing the Internet. These findings indicate that the primary purpose of the cellphone – to make and receive phone calls – is quickly changing
The findings in this section provided interesting insights into the growth of online research in paths to purchase, and online purchasing, using mobile devices. 63% of respondents said they research items before purchasing them, while 53% will click on a link to a brand’s website. Of the 32% who said they purchase items using their cellphone, ringtones, games or icons were the most popular items purchased, followed by music or video content. 25% of respondents use mobile coupons when making purchases.
Poll respondents cited being able to search for information immediately as the most popular benefit of using a cellphone (95%), followed by staying in touch through social media (89%) and keeping up to date with news throughout the day (83%).
Interestingly, 73% of respondents said they would click on a mobile advert if it was featured on a website they trusted. Further, the majority of respondents said if the ad was relevant (82%), if it was safe (81%) or if they knew and trusted the brand (76%).
Gustav Goosen, vice-chair and head of research at the IAB SA, says: “The insights we are gaining from running these regular flash polls allow advertisers useful consumer snapshots that can be used to add texture or insights to campaigns and strategies. In this mobile poll, the emotional attachment and usage stats are particularly interesting, reinforcing that premium publishers are attracting an increasingly mobile-first audience. These insights highlight the importance mobile plays in consumers lives, and the need for planners and clients to adapt their strategies to incorporate this.”
Buys adds: “The findings of the Mobile Online flash poll indicate the evolution of mobile technology, and how this continues to evolve into new parts of our lifestyle. The findings are an important indicator in terms of what influences the online mobile behaviour of consumers, which is relevant for brands currently operating within this space and those planning to enter it.”