Here is a quick, high-level look at what is happening online in South Africa.
1. Internet Penetration
In 2009 internet penetration in South Africa was only about 11%. This almost doubled to 21% by 2011 and reached 64% by 2017. According to Statista, by 2022 South Africa will reach about 72% internet penetration. While South Africa may have been a little late to the party, they have quickly caught up over the last decade.
2. Top Search Engines
As is the case with the rest of the world, Google dominates the search engine market in South Africa controlling 96% of the market, while Bing is next in line controlling about 3%.
3. Mobile Usage
In South Africa, most internet users access the internet via their smartphone, which is similar to most areas of the world. According to Forbes, faster internet speeds are a reason for increased penetration. Users can now watch movies and conduct other high bandwidth activities. However, a quarter of all smartphone owners do not have a data plan due to high costs.
Visa reports, as cited in a recent Fin24 article, South African internet users typically spend more than three hours a day online and 25% of them use the internet for making purchases. So far, the fast-food industry leads the pack in terms of these online purchases. As for brands in general, local brands are preferred. Ecommerce, on the other hand, is in the early adoption stages in the South African market and has a long path to maturity for users and sellers.
5. Online Payments
Online payments in South Africa are pretty standard in regards to their methods. 45% of purchasers use credit cards, 21% use debit cards and 20% use bank transfers. PayPal represents 7% of purchases. A card of some sort (credit or debit) is the most preferred method.