One-third (35%) of South Africans prefer to access social media through their mobile browser, according to Opera’s State of the mobile web report Q1 2018.
In addition, one-third of the surveyed Internet users believe a mobile browser offers them more privacy features than a standalone social media app.

As these users constantly browse the web and access it an average of eight times a day, online privacy concerns seem to be on the rise, with 30% South Africans saying private browsing is more important for them than accessing social media.

According to anonymous information on Opera Mini usage patterns during the first quarter of 2018, half-a-million more people have accessed Facebook through their browser in comparison to the year before. This sudden spike may have been influenced by recent privacy concerns associated with the social media platform.

“We are happy to see that 61% of Opera Mini users in South Africa are choosing our browser to access Facebook based on the privacy features we offer,” says Jørgen Arnesen, head of global marketing and distribution at Opera. “They don’t want to forego their life on social media but increasingly rely on a trustworthy third party such as Opera Mini to provide access to the platforms.”

Despite recent news, South Africans remain loyal to Facebook with 71% of the respondents using it as their social media platform of choice. Instagram follows at 32%, while Pinterest, Twitter and LinkedIn trail at 17%, 14% and 13%, respectively.

The report reveals that almost half of mobile internet users in South Africa (45%), access the web on their smartphones more than eight times a day. Online shopping, lifestyle, travel and entertainment tend to be more relevant for women, whereas men watch more videos related to technology and sports.

The report also shows a spike in news consumption with 2-million articles read per week on Opera News, which has become the favorite news app in the country. An analysis of the anonymous user data shows that news seekers in the country are mainly interested in categories such as crime, sports, politics, and entertainment.

According to information from App Annie, Opera News remains the most downloaded news app in the country since its launch earlier this year.

“We are impressed with the performance of Opera News in South Africa. Our users in the country represent 11% of the total users of the app,” says Arnesen.

South African mobile users are interacting more with their favourite football clubs on Opera News. According to data gathered from the app, Manchester United remains the most followed football club in South Africa with more than 4 000 followers. Every second user of Opera News who is interested in football is searching for information about Manchester United. Other popular clubs in the country are Real Madrid, FC Barcelona and Manchester City, the current contestants for a place in the semifinals of UEFA Champions League.