Social networking in South Africa has
crossed the age barrier, the urban/rural divide and even the
relationship gap, according to research findings announced today.
The /South African Social Media Landscape 2012/ study, produced by
technology market researchers World Wide Worx and information analysts
Fuseware, shows that the fastest growing age group among Facebook users
in South Africa is the over-60s. From August 2011 to August 2012, the
number of over-60s on Facebook grew by 44%, compared to less than 30%
for those aged 30-60, less than 20% for those aged 19-30, and less than
10% for teenagers.
This is a reflection of Facebook going mainstream in South Africa,
says World Wide Worx managing director Arthur Goldstuck. The younger
segments are still far from saturation, but we re not seeing the same
heady pace of growth among the youth as before.
At the end of August, 5.33-million South Africans were using Facebook on
the Web, 2,43-million were on Twitter and 9,35-million on Mxit. Because
Facebook does not measure mobile-only usage among those who have
registered via their cellphones, however, the full extent of its
penetration is significantly understated: primary research among
consumers by World Wide Worx shows that 6.8-million people access
Facebook on their phones.
Twitter use, also measured in this primary research, indicates that its
registered base had grown to 2,2-million by the end of June: 100 000 new
users a month since August last year. Fuseware data, collected directly
from Twitter through an API (application program interface), shows that
the number reached 2,4-million at the end of August, exactly matching
the growth rate measured by World Wide Worx, and validating the earlier
The integrity of data, and its interpretation, is vital for business
decision-makers and marketers who are investing in social media, says
Fuseware managing director Mike Wronski. Different methodologies allow
us to gain deeper insights, as well as providing cross-validation for
Other key findings announced today include:
* Both Facebook and Twitter have grown at a similar rate, at around
100 000 new users a month, for the past year.
* LinkedIn has grown substantially, but at a slightly lower rate, to
reach 1,93-million South Africans.
* Pinterest is the fledgling among the major social networks, with
only 150 000 users in South Africa.
* WhatsApp has become the leading instant messaging tool among South
Africans aged 16 and over, living in cities and towns, with a user
base of 4,6-million.
* The youngest mobile instant messaging tool to emerge on the
measurement radar in South Africa, 2Go, has close to a million adult
* The most common Check In sites for Facebook in South Africa are
airports and shopping malls.
* The biggest tweeting day of the week is a Monday, with an average of
9,6-million tweets sent by South Africans on the first working day
of the week. Friday is next, with 9.6-million, while Saturday is the
slowest Twitter day, with 8,4-million tweets.
* Both Facebook and Twitter have crossed the urban/rural divide. The
proportion of urban adults using Facebook is a little less than
double rural users – but rural users are now at the level where
urban users were 18 months ago. Twitter’s urban penetration is a
little more than double its rural penetration, but the rural
proportion has also caught up to where the urban proportion was 18
One of the most fascinating findings reported today is that the number
of single users has grown faster than any other relationship group, by
almost 25%, to reach 957 000. The number of married and engaged users
has each grown by 16%, while the category of those in a relationship
has increased by 9%.
Clearly, Facebook is filling a relationship gap in the lives of many
South Africans, says Goldstuck. But social networks are also so much
more we see them playing the roles of communication, information and
Wronski adds: Social media fatigue has set in for the more over-active
users, who follow too much, communicate too much, and vent too much. But
most users are arriving in this world for the first time, and new users
are going to keep coming. It s mainstream today but, tomorrow, it will
For more information, visit http://www.worldwideworx.com.
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