In many instances, South African users are leading the world in terms of convergence from a consumer perspective.
A recent survey conducted by KPMG, both locally and internationally, into converged IT consumption has revealed a striking similarity in domestic trends despite common misconceptions that South Africa lags the developed world in converged technology consumption.
The survey covered technology convergence from a consumer perspective and reveals that:
* 82% of South African users surveyed use instant messaging such as Mxit, while the combined international sample sits at a mere 32%;
* 93% of South African users surveyed use SMS communication while the combined sample is recorded at 80%.
“This demonstrates that in South Africa, our phone users are almost entirely dependent on their mobiles as the primary communication device” says KPMG’s Frank Rizzo, managing partner for IT Advisory.
Concluded in November 2008, the global benchmarking study was based on 4 190 respondents across various demographic factors ranging from income, race, and geographical location.
The global study accessed consumers in 19 countries ranging from the developing and developed world located in India, Brazil, SA, Hong Kong, Russia, Korea, the US and the UK, among others.
Some price bundling findings show that:
* 62% of respondents in the local and combined survey see the convenience of single billing as an attraction to service providers;
* Low introductory pricing by 68% (local) and 66% (global) respondents is seen as a key attraction;
* The desired reduction of duplication of content and services was reflected by 64% of respondents in both surveys; and
* 86% of users in South Africa indicated that they had not switched service provider compared to 82% in the global benchmark.
On the trend balance in relation to switching to new service providers: “This balance is not necessarily due to consumer loyalty. It might have to do a lot more with the contract periods, and in the South African context, the lack of understanding and suspicion of consumers around number portability. It is not surprising given the size and stability of our pre-paid telephony market as well,” says Rizzo.
“Rapid movements in convergence and technology consumption mean that benchmarking the findings of the survey is increasingly difficult. It’s even more difficult to measure consumer behaviour for a long period of time. This is true globally and locally."
Rizzo points out that there are a number of strategic implications arising out of this study.
"For the service provider, there needs to be clear cost, privacy and security commitments to encourage consumers. For consumers, there needs to be constant pressure to ensure that these demands are met. Current IT governance and consumer legislation require vigilance on both sides of the equation."