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GWI Release South African Market Snapshot For 2021

GWI (formerly known as GlobalWebIndex) recently released its latest set of infographics revealing who the South African market is from demographics to how they make purchases and everything in between.

GWI conducts monthly surveys in over 46 markets to people between the ages of 16-64 who have access to the internet, what this does is allow GWI to compare global statistics to add context, which makes for some interesting analyses.

The results start to have a look at demographics. The average South African internet user is 66% more likely to be aged 16-34, mashing together two key generations: Gen Z and Millennials. It is apparent that digitally connected South Africans are more ambitious than the global average, with 63% of South Africans saying they are ambitious compared to a mere 32% global average.

The top interest for both South African and global connected audiences is music, followed by food and drink, and cooking. The future outlook of the South African audience is not so positive, with only 28% thinking that the economy of the country where they live will get better in the next 6 months. The top driver when it comes to influencing future travel is value for money for both global and South African consumers. South Africans are 9% more interested than global consumers in special offers or deals when it comes to where they travel for a vacation.

The following section covers how South Africans use technology and electronics. Gen Z and Millennials spend the most time online, with Gen Z on their mobiles and Millennials on a PC or laptop. The top handset brand is Samsung with 63% of South African consumers saying they would buy a Samsung when they next upgrade or buy a new phone, this is followed by Apple at 45%. South Africa is slightly behind the world when it comes to smart home ownership, with a 12% gap between South African and global consumers when it comes to owning a smart speaker for example - a trend that continues with similar results for other smart products.

Knowing which media your audience is consuming is highly important when you want to know which channels to use when implementing your marketing plan. South Africans spend the most time on social media with an average time of 3 hours and 31 minutes, with the rest of the world spending just over 1 hour less on social media. Netflix seems to be more popular with South African internet users than the rest of the world with 69% of South African consumers having used it in the last month compared to only 42% for the global average last month.

Since social media is so avidly used in South Africa, GWI decided to take a closer look at how this market uses it. The top two reasons for South African consumers to be on social is to stay up-to-date with news and to find funny or entertaining content. 30% of these consumers have liked/followed a brand on social, 20% have clicked on a sponsored post on social and only 17% have shared a brand’s post on a social network. The top three social platforms in South Africa are Whatsapp, Facebook and YouTube. Interestingly, Whatsapp is less popular for the rest of the world, with 71% of consumers saying they have an account compared to South Africa’s 95%. We are starting to see a trend of consumers leaning towards Telegram and Signal. We will trend this change in the next release.

The final section of this study covers how South Africans make purchases. TV is still king in Africa, for brand/product discovery, the top way in which these consumers discover brands is via ads seen on TV with 52%, compared to a global average of 33%. The top driver for online purchases is free delivery with 74%. South African consumers prefer to shop in-store as opposed to the rest of the world who prefer to shop online. The top online purchases for both South Africa and the world involve electronics with 26% for South Africa and 32% for the global average.

These market snapshots are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the type of data and insights gathered from the unified surveys sent out globally. There are over 40 000 data points available to discover key insights from subset audiences globally. For an in-depth explanation of how the data is collected

ABOUT GWI We thrive on disrupting the industry at the highest level. We're leading the charge with our data solutions, but we've maintained the agility, energy and spirit of a startup. Since bursting onto the scene, we’ve introduced several innovations to the world of market research, from our easy-to-use, lightning-fast platform to our globally consistent, but locally relevant, data. While we’re extremely proud of what we’ve achieved – and our growing list of remarkable clients, of course – this is only the beginning. We have even bigger plans for the future.

By Jesseca Zahn