Mobile App Statistics in South Africa

We have compiled detailed compilation using search reports from various groups such as GlobalWebIndex, GSMA Intelligence, Statista, App Annie and SimilarWeb. Current digital trends and movements have been recorded to present the key findings here:


Approximately 80% of South Africans now use a mobile phone of some kind, according to the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA). They specifically looked at telecommunications, broadcasting and social services to determine this value, and have concluded that, in the last two years, the country’s mobile phone usage has nearly doubled.

According to Statista in 2019, over 35% of South African citizens use a smartphone which has access to the internet and mobile application features.

The total number of subscriptions to 4G/LTE usage in South Africa was over 12,6 million in 2018, and it’s ever-growing. The province with the highest number of LTE devices was Gauteng, which stood at a remarkable 4,3 million. They were followed by Kwazulu-Natal, who stood at 1,9 million subscriptions, and the Western Cape with approximately 1,6 million subscriptions.

Mobile data subscriptions increased by approximately 12% from 2015 to 2018, according to ICASA, who concluded that by the end of 2018 there were over 66 million subscriptions.

Including social media marketing into your business strategy could be the best thing you ever do for it. South Africans spend an average of 3 hours and 17 minutes on the internet every day and use a mobile device to do so. This is more than the global average, which has been reported to be an average of 2 hours and 48 minutes.

A study conducted by We Are Social in 2018 yielded the following findings:

Nearly 90% of South Africans have an active connection to mobile broadband.

Over 40% of South African citizens who have an active internet connection watch videos on their mobile phones.

Nearly 40% of South African citizens who have an active internet connection play video games using their mobile phones.

Over 40% of South African citizens who have an active internet connection use mobile GPS and mapping services.

A study conducted by Statista in 2019 yielded the following findings:

Approximately 22 million of South Africa’s citizens have an active social media presence employing their mobile phone. This is nearly half of the country’s estimated population of 58 million people.

It has been deliberated that in 2023, nearly 33% of the South African population will have an active presence on Facebook.

89% of the South African Facebook users today access their account using their mobile phones.

According to NetGen, the following are the top social channels in South Africa:

• Facebook is used by 54% of the population, with approximately 31 million users.

• Instagram is used by 9% of the population, with approximately 5 million users.

• Facebook is used by 4% of the population, with approximately 2,2 million users.

South Africa has been recorded to have a higher social media presence that any of its neighbours, standing at a remarkable 40% social media usage among the population.

This stands just under the global average of 45%, but a 40% active user presence still means that about 23 million citizens are active on platforms like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and similar platforms.

According to recent research, South Africa has also been recorded as one of the most rapidly growing audiences in the world. It ranked 17th for its relative growth, showing an added 5 million active social media users in the last year.

We have also been recorded to have an average of 8 different social media accounts.

Why South Africans Join Social Media

According to We Are Social, the following are the most popular reasons for people to join social media trends:

• 40% – to gain more information about events and news around them

• 39% – maintaining relationships with their friends

• 38% – for entertainment

• 33% – to build networks

• 32% – to document their daily experiences in the form of photos and videos

• 31% – online shopping


Mobile e-commerce has pretty much replaced traditional payment methods such as credit- or debit cards, retailers and wallets in general.

Cell phones are instead used to pay for goods and services, and this practice has become increasingly popular in South Africa due to the rising numbers in mobile phone users in general. Immense opportunity gets opened up to online retailers this way.

In 2018, online shopping transactions were among 25% of South African shoppers due to faster internet connectivity, secure online transactions and more convenience in the form of shipping and delivery.

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