Mobile commerce on the up – but lagging a bit in South Africa?

While the growth in the mobile sector in South Africa might not match the 44 percent growth expected globally this year, it is nonetheless a “pivotal and big market” in the country.

July 16, 2013

While the growth in the mobile sector in South Africa might not match the 44 percent growth expected globally this year, it is nonetheless a “pivotal and big market” in the country, said Derick Roberts, CEO of wireless specialist company, TruTeq Devices.

“We are generally always behind the USA and other First World economies in the adoption of mobile technology, but all the signs are there that the mobile market is a vital, and fast growing one, in South Africa”.

Roberts said that while there is a “fair amount of research data” available on mobile commerce with regards to advanced overseas markets, there is surprisingly little information available on the emerging market countries.

“But the consensus from market watchers is that there is the potential for rapid growth.”

According to technology research firm, Gartner, mobile commerce will increase by 44% globally, reaching $235 billion this year. These increases are expected to continue – and will rise to a figure of $721 billion, with an estimated 450 million mobile users by 2017. This figure includes transactions such as bill payments, money transfers and consumer payments.

When it comes to the South African market research done by WorldWide Worx Mobile, in its Consumer in SA 2012 report, claimed phone-based purchases of physical products that are delivered to the buyer are currently being made by only around 4% of urban cellular phone users.

The research also indicated that the most common purchases on a mobile handset for South African consumers are for airtime, mobile money transfer to other users, and mobile banking.