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South Africans are spending an increasingly more amount of time on digital platform than any other medium. According to a 2017 report by We Are Social, South Africans spend on average eight hours a day on the internet using a desktop computer or tablet. The report also showed that daily internet use on average for mobile phone was three hours, a little over two hours was spent on social media using any medium and television viewing time per day was two hours. Ask Afrika conducted the Target Group Index (TGI) Survey which showed that people aged 25-34 (16.3%) and 34-44 (15.6%) are more likely to shop online than those in other age groups.  The survey also showed that even though women are more likely to purchase groceries or clothes online, men have a higher tendency to shop online than women do. Online banking is also an extremely popular service, though it is growing more rapidly in the mobile market. First National Bank alone has more than 4 million registered customers who use cell phone banking.

South Africa’s online audience is growing at a rapid rate. 62% of respondents said they read less print newspapers and 59% said they read less print magazines. However, South Africa’s online advertising spend is still significantly lower compared to other markets. In South Africa, online display media forms 2.6% of total ad spend (in 2012), compared to 15% in the US and 20% in the UK. According to a PwC report, it is estimated that the South African Internet advertising market will generate revenues of R8.2 billion in 2020, up from R3.8 billion in 2015. According to the same report, online display advertising is driven on by the ever-increasing number of internet, and in particular Facebook, users in South Africa. Despite the fact that mobile advertising will cut into display advertising’s share, display advertising will still remain the second-largest internet advertising segment throughout the forecast period, with the segment set to reach R1 billion in 2017. Read the full PwC report

Cultural forces

One of the most important factors in the growth of the web is the creation of a unique South African community. South African web users are social creatures as seen in the South African social media statistics. Furthermore, many are also turning to local alternatives and locally relevant websites to start conversations and interact in uniquely South African ways. One month before the start of the 2010 World Cup, the word “vuvuzela” became a trending topic on Twitter because of an impromptu vuvuzela-blowing event organised online. This trend was started locally and remained high on the trending list throughout the month-long event. Another example is the memes surrounding the cancellation of the 2017 Cape Town Cycle Tour. The event was cancelled mainly due to high wind speeds and social media exploded with related memes after videos posted showed cyclists battling with the wind.

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