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South Africans spend NINE hours online per day

It’s incredible to think that despite one third of Mzansi’s workforce being jobless, that South Africans spend nine hours online per day. According to a recent Electronics Hub study, which The South African reported, we spend 56.8% of our day on screens. That’s the highest in the world out of 4.3-billion smartphone users globally.

This rabid appetite for data consumption is driven by rapid smartphone adoption. 31.7% of that screen time is spent on mobile – or 5 hours and 15 minutes daily. And 22.6% of that time is spent only doom scrolling through social media for 3 hours and 41 minutes a day, on average.

SOUTH AFRICANS SPEND NINE HOURS ONLINE DAILY

Thanks to smart devices and affordable data, it’s easier than ever to be connected all the time. Image: File

More fascinating is the rate of smartphone adoption in South Africa. As of 2023, about 22-million South Africans have a smartphone. This accounts for one third of the country’s 62-million population. This surge in mobile usage is not merely a technological shift, but a reflection of deeper societal and historical factors. Plus the increasing affordability of smartphones, coupled with the expansion of mobile broadband networks, is only expected to drive further growth in mobile usage.

South Africa’s legacy of isolated communities, and even high crime rates, has contributed to the current reliance on mobile devices for entertainment and connection. “An absence of reliable electricity further amplifies this dependence, as battery-powered mobile devices keep people connected even during power outages,” says Aleph MD of Sub-Saharan Africa, Stephen A. Newton. 

South Africans spend nine hours online
Advertisers now have direct access to customers through a device they are on more than nine hours per day. Image: File

Aleph specialises in digital marketing for small and medium businesses (SMB) in underserved markets. It helps advertisers engage with consumers on platforms such as Snap, Spotify, TikTok, X, and others. “The rise of streaming services and social media platforms has further cemented an online culture in South Africa,” says Newton.

Younger generations in particular, are heavy consumers of digital content. According to Aleph’s Audience research for South Africa, Ghana and Kenya in Q4 of 2023, 16-to-24-year olds stream music more than any other age groups. With over 112-million mobile connections in South Africa (as of 2023), according to Statista, we see that smart devices are no longer a luxury item. The fact that connections outnumber Mzansi’s population shows how widespread data connectivity has become.

MOBILE-DATA BOOM

South Africans spend nine hours online
A digital detox for South Africans may be in order. But the trend looks to be going the other way. Image: File

The Global System Operators and Manufacturers Association (GSMA) Mobile Economy 2023 report estimates that sub-Saharan Africa monthly mobile data traffic is expected to quadruple to 18 GB per user in 2028 from the current 4.6 GB.

“The potential benefits of this mobile-centric future are immense, from economic growth to improved access to education and healthcare. As South Africa continues its digital journey, the population will continue migrating online for work opportunities and entertainment.” Concludes Newton.

HAVE YOUR SAY

South Africans spend nine hours online
Why not have your say? Image: Duncan P Walker

What do you think of the fact that South Africans spend nine hours online per day? Do you think you spend roughly that amount of time online yourself and is that too much to be healthy? Be sure to share your thoughts with our audience in the comments section below. And don’t forget to follow us @TheSANews on X and The South African on Facebook for the latest updates. Click the links below to read trending stories in the last 24 hours on our website …

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