Once again we’ve been awaiting the release of digital statistics and usage South Africa 2022, thanks this year go to We Are Social and Kepios. The digital revolution has been a major force in transforming the world over the past few decades and South Africa is no exception, as digital access and digital infrastructure have become increasingly important for its economic development. In this article we’ll give you an overview digital trends and usage in South Africa 2022, including digital access and digital infrastructure, social media and e-commerce
Overview of digital access and digital infrastructure in South Africa
By the start of 2022, it was estimated that 41.19 million people in South Africa had access to the internet, giving it an online penetration rate of 68.2%. This represented a growth of 1.2% from the previous year, with an additional 494,000 internet users in South Africa between 2021 and 2022.
Despite this impressive growth, it’s important to note that 31.8% of South Africans were still not connected to the internet at the start of 2022 – 19.21 million people who remain offline.
At the beginning of 2022, South African internet users enjoyed median connection speeds that were much faster than the previous year. According to data published by Ookla, the median mobile internet connection speed through cellular networks in South Africa rose by 5.54 Mbps (an impressive 22.2% increase) from January 2021 to January 2022. Similarly, the median fixed internet connection speed in South Africa was found to be 29.73 Mbps, a substantial increase of 12.96 Mbps (77.3%) compared to 2021 levels.
These improved connection speeds have enabled South African citizens to enjoy faster access to digital services and products, thus boosting the country’s digital economy as well as its overall development. This increased access has enabled more individuals to take advantage of the opportunities presented by digitalisation, such as e-commerce, online streaming services and social media platforms. As a result, businesses in South Africa have also been able to tap into new markets and optimise their operations for improved customer experiences at an unprecedented rate.
The mobile connection rate in South Africa has seen a significant upward trend in recent years. At the start of 2022, there were 108.6 million cellular mobile connections – an impressive 179.8% of the total population – compared to 103.8 million at the beginning of 2021. This is a 4.6% increase over the course of 2021.
This digital trend is bolstered further by the increasing availability of dedicated broadband services such as fibre and DSL in South Africa, which suggests that more people are taking up internet access. According to GSMA Intelligence’s figures, at the start of 2022 there were 5.6 million fixed broadband subscriptions – a 4% increase on the previous year – representing 10.2% of the total population.
It is no surprise then that digital usage in South Africa continues to increase, with more and more people turning to the internet for entertainment, commerce and communication. For example, social media penetration currently stands at close to 70%, while streaming services like Netflix have seen a 90% rise in subscriptions over the past year.
Social media usage trends and statistics in South Africa
In 2022, South Africa had approximately 28 million social media users, which was equivalent to 46.4% of the total population. This was an increase from the year before, with 3 million more individuals joining in 2021 than 2020 – a 12% growth rate.
Facebook users in South Africa in 2022
Facebook has seen tremendous growth over the past few years in South Africa, with 24.20 million users as of early 2022. That’s equivalent to 40.1% of the total population and 53.2% of the eligible audience in South Africa – those aged 13 and above – making use of Facebook in some form or another.
As of January 2022, Facebook’s ad reach in South Africa was equivalent to 58.8% of the local internet user base (regardless of age). There is an even split between male and female users at 50.7% and 49.3% respectively.
YouTube users in South Africa 2022
YouTube has become an important source of digital media in South Africa, with 25.30 million users estimated in early 2022. This was equivalent to 41.9% of the country’s entire population, and 61.4% of its internet users at the same time. In terms of gender, the audience was split 50-50 in terms of male and female users.
Instagram users in South Africa 2022
In early 2022, South Africa had an Instagram user base of 6.20 million people. This is equivalent to 10.3% of the total population and 13.6% of the eligible (13+) audience in South Africa. Furthermore, it was calculated that 15.1% of the local internet user base (regardless of age) was also on the platform. Of Instagram’s ad audience in South Africa, 53.3% were female and 46.7% male (according to Meta’s advertising tools).
TikTok users in South Africa 2022
TikTok is one of the most popular social media platforms in South Africa, with 6.44 million users aged 18 and above recorded at the beginning of 2022. This figure means that 16.1% of adults aged 18 and above in South Africa are active on TikTok, as well as 15.6% of the country’s overall internet user base. A breakdown of TikTok users by gender reveals that 53.9% are female and 46.1% are male. This data presents a solid foundation for digital marketers to target specific audiences when creating ads on the platform in 2023.
LinkedIn users in South Africa 2022
LinkedIn is one of the leading social media platforms in South Africa, with approximately 9.50 million registered members as of early 2022. This puts its audience reach at 15.7% of the total population, and 23.7% of all eligible users above the age of 18.
When measuring against internet users regardless of age, LinkedIn’s ad reach was equivalent to 23.1% at the start of 2022. In terms of gender breakdown, 47.1% of LinkedIn’s South African audience was female, while 52.9% was male in early 2022.
Twitter users in South Africa 2022
In early 2022, Twitter had an estimated 2.85 million users in the country.
This means that 4.7% of South African citizens were active on Twitter at the time and 6.3% of eligible audiences (aged 13 and above) were using the platform. An estimated 6.9% of the total internet user base in South Africa was using Twitter.
Due to anomalies in source data, Twitter’s ad audience by gender cannot be provided
E-commerce market size and growth 2022
In 2022, South Africa’s online retail market passed the R50 billion mark due to a surge in demand for home deliveries. This figure was revealed in the “Online Retail in South Africa 2022” study, a collaboration between World Wide Worx and Mastercard. According to this report, online retail saw an impressive 35% growth in 2022, bringing the total of online retail in South Africa to R55 billion.
This surge was further accelerated by the success of Black Friday sales, where banks reported massive increases in card and online spending on what has become one of the biggest shopping days of the year.
With over 25 million YouTube users, 24 million Facebook users, 6 million Instagram and TikTok users apiece, 9.5 million LinkedIn members and 2.85million Twitter followers – it’s no wonder why online retail sales in South Africa exceeded R50 billion this year alone! These figures demonstrate how critical digital access and infrastructure are to economic development for any country today. It will be interesting to follow the continued growth of digital usage in South Africa as we move forward into 2023 and beyond.
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