Study: Smartphone use in East Africa expected to grow

November 6, 2013

Smartphone use is poised to soar in East Africa and continue with it a dramatic change in how people there access information on the Internet, according to industry study in my possession. While fewer than 10% of mobile phone users in the Africa have smartphones, nearly 50% of consumers intend to buy smartphones by 2015. There is no doubt higher smartphone ownership will drastically change how mobile data is consumed. Data from the developed world regions like Scandinavia, North America, Japan, Western Europe and Australia shows that smartphone users are far more likely to access the Internet or tend to their e-mail using mobile gadgets. Smartphone owners in East Africa are said to be prone to downloading applications to handsets, with Android users reportedly averaging 25 “apps” each and owners of iOS-powered handsets installing about 15 of the lesser popular software programs among the two.

According to the 150 pages study conducted by an international firm, the smartphone users in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania spend about a quarter of their time on the gadgets tending to Facebook posts and pages. The market study also expects the Tablet computer penetration rates in the United States and Western Europe to spread into East Africa in the next two years. One of the things I’ve personally realized is that the substitution effect of Tablets tends to be against laptops, PCs and netbooks, many if not most of Tablet owners I predict will also own a smartphone. This has created an attractive niche group of ‘super consumers’ from the growing middle class in the region who can be reached through an additional high-engagement screen and who also have an additional need for seamless service and content mobility. Affordable and ample data plans from telecom service providers have become important to the adoption of smartphone lifestyles in East Africa, according to the study.

Contador Harrison