Social Media breaks barriers in South Africa

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
our data.

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
months ago.

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
entertainment networks.

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
be pervasive.

For more information, visit


Social media goes mainstream in South Africa

Recently World Wide Worx, one of our partner companies, released the definitive study on the social media landscape in South Africa. Instead of simply republishing the press release with the research findings, I also include a short email interview with the co-author, Mike Wronski.

The questions we answer in the report deal with the specific demographics and user base sizes of the major social networks in use in South Africa. We have also in depth analysis of some top social media campaigns conducted in
South Africa.

1. What conclusions can you draw from your research on the impact of social media on the intimacy or bonding that takes place online, and offline?

It is fairly obvious from the analysis of words being used that people use social media to discuss matters that are important and intimate to them. With some of the top words in all conversations including “people, today, think, see, need”, it shows that people are not afraid to voice their opinions and talk about their daily interactions.

2. What are the differences or similarities between male and female users of social media in South Africa?

We do not have specific data on this metric.

3. What is the profile (including LSM) of the average/typical users of social media given your recent study?

We analysed available online data for the report. No surveying was done in our social media stats, so there is no clear indication of LSM. However, the overarching stats for Facebook, the most balanced social media platform, are as follows:

  • 2 million males – 2.2 million females
  • 1.15 million university graduates
  • 68,000 still in university
  • Users most concentrated in the 23-36 year old age bracket
  • Johannesburg has 1.9m users
  • Cape Town 900k, a surprisingly low number given its large population size

Social media goes mainstream in South Africa

26 October 2011:- South Africans have embraced social media as a core pillar of Internet activity in this country, along with e-mail, news and banking. MXit and Facebook lead the way in user numbers, while Twitter has seen the most dramatic growth in social networking in the past year, and BlackBerry Messenger is the fastest growing network in the second half of 2011.

These are among the key findings of a new study released today by Fuseware and World Wide Worx, entitled South African Social Media Landscape 2011.

?The question of how many South Africans use each of the major social networks comes up so often, it became a priority for us to pin down the numbers,? says Michal Wronski, Managing Director of information analysts Fuseware and co-author of the report. ?The data was collected through a combination of Fuseware?s analysis of social network
databases, information provided directly by social networks, and World Wide Worx?s consumer market research.?

An analysis of Fuseware?s extensive database of Twitter usage, in conjunction with World Wide Worx?s consumer market research, shows that there were 1,1-million Twitter users in South Africa in mid-2011. This is a 20-fold increase in a little more than a year.

?One of the drivers of growth of Twitter is the media obsession with the network,? says report co-author Arthur Goldstuck, managing director of World Wide Worx. ?Most radio and TV personalities with large audiences are engaged in intensive campaigns to drive their listeners and viewers to both Twitter and Facebook. The former, coming off a very
low base, is therefore seeing the greatest growth.?

As in the global environment, not all Twitter users are active users, with only 40% tweeting, but probably as many simply watching, following and using it as a breaking news service.

MXit remains the most popular social network in South Africa, with approximately 10-million active users. Its demographic mix runs counter to the popular media image of MXit as a teen-dominated environment. No less than 76% of the male user base of MXit and 73% of female users are aged 18 or over.

A surprising finding emerged from analysis of Facebook data. Of approximately 4.2-million Facebook users in South Africa by August 2011, only 3.2 million had visited the site in the year-to-date.

?This is partly a factor of many users moving on once the novelty of the site had worn off, as well as a result of the fickle nature of the youth market,? says Wronski. ?Once BBM picked up significant traction in private schools, for example, many teenagers who had previously flocked to Facebook, opted for BBM?s greater immediacy.?

While LinkedIn, aimed at professional users, also reached the 1,1-million mark, it came off a far higher base ? but still saw 83% growth of South African users from 2010 to 2011. Of these, 112 000 or 10% are business owners.

Consumer research analysed in the report revealed that future intention of usage of most social networks is strongly related to age. The younger the user, the greater the intention of usage.

?This is only one of many micro-trends shaping social networking,? says Goldstuck. ?MXit, Facebook and BBM statistics illustrate, for example, that as social networks become more mainstream, their penetration within
all age ranges deepens. This, in turn, will result in the continualflattening of the age curve as social networks mature.?


Media Contacts:

  • Fuseware: Michal Wronski (in Cape Town) on Tel: 021 930 9171
  • World Wide Worx: Arthur Goldstuck (in Johannesburg) on Tel: 011 782 7003