Digital Statistics and Usage South Africa 2023

Digital Statistics and Usage South Africa 2023

In this blog post, we’ll take a look at the digital statistics and usage South Africa 2023, including growth points for internet usage and connectivity, social media usage and e-commerce.  As digital technology continues to advance, it is essential for businesses and individuals alike to stay up-to-date on digital trends in South Africa.  Thanks again go to We Are Social and Meltwater.  We will also explore what these numbers tell us about digital adoption and use in the country. So let’s dive into the latest digital stats from South Africa!

Overview of digital access and digital infrastructure in South Africa 2023

At the start of 2023 the internet had been adopted by an impressive 72.3% of South Africa’s population. This figure represented a total number of 43.48 million internet users, and showed an increase of 357,000 (+0.8%) on the previous year’s figures. Despite this impressive digital growth, digital statistics also revealed that 16.66 million people in South Africa still did not use the internet, meaning 27.7% of the population remained offline at the start of 2023.
(It is important to note, however, that complexities associated with collecting and analyzing user data mean actual adoption may be higher than these reported figures suggest)

The digital landscape in South Africa at the start of 2023 was a dynamic one. According to data published by Ookla, the median mobile internet connection speed stood at 36.70 Mbps while the median fixed internet connection speed was 40.12 Mbps. This marked an impressive increase over a twelve month period, with mobile connections increasing by 6.18 Mbps (+20.2%) and fixed connections seeing an increase of 1039Mbps (+34.9%).

The digital penetration rate in South Africa was also growing rapidly, with 112.7 million cellular mobile connections at the start of 2023 according to data from GSMA Intelligence. This is equivalent to 187.4% of the total population, again suggesting that many people make use of multiple digital devices for personal or work purposes. In addition to this, the number of connections increased by 4 million (+3.7%) between 2022 and 2023.

Overall, digital statistics for South Africa in 2023 show a rapidly growing digital landscape. The impressive adoption rate of 72.3% and increasing mobile and fixed internet connection speeds demonstrate the potential digital market opportunities available to businesses operating within this region. As digital penetration continues to increase with 4 million new connections between 2022 and 2023, it’s clear that there is an ever-growing demand for digital services both from individuals and businesses alike. With these figures likely to continue rising over the next few years, now is certainly the ideal time to invest in digital marketing strategies tailored specifically for the South African audience.

Social media usage trends and statistics in South Africa 2023

Social media usage continues to increase in South Africa, with an estimated 25.80 million users as of January 2023. This figure is equivalent to 42.9% of the total population and 22.75 million users aged 18 and above, which is 57.0% of the total population in that age bracket. According to digital marketing and ad planning tools from major social media platforms, 59.3% of South Africa’s total internet user base use at least one social media platform each month. In terms of gender breakdown, 51.1% of South African social media users are female while 48.9% are male.

However, it’s important to note that these numbers do not necessarily represent unique individuals as some may have multiple accounts on various platforms or access several through a single device or account. Nevertheless, the data proves that digital technology remains popular and widely used among all demographics in South Africa – including both the young and the elderly.

Furthermore, digital trends indicate that digital technologies such as social media platforms continue to gain traction in South Africa – expanding beyond just entertainment and communications into commerce activities as well. Social networks such as Facebook have become powerful digital marketing tools as people increasingly use them for product discovery and research before making purchase decisions online. As a result, businesses have flocked to leverage digital technologies for their own digital marketing strategies to build engagement with their target customers and grow their e-commerce sales more effectively in South Africa’s highly competitive digital market landscape today.

Facebook users in South Africa in 2023

Facebook users in South Africa are estimated at 22.15 million as of early 2023, according to digital advertising analytics provider Meta. This number is significant, representing a digital penetration rate of 36.8% among the population and 50.9% among internet users of all ages.

When broken down by gender, 50.8% of Facebook’s digital audience in South Africa is female while 49.2% is male. This makes digital platforms such as Facebook important spaces for marketing and digital engagement efforts targeting both genders equally – especially when considering that 48.9% of South Africans aged 13 and over are active on the platform.

YouTube users in South Africa in 2023

Google’s advertising resources suggest that YouTube had an estimated 25.80 million users in South Africa in early 2023; reaching 42% of the population as a whole (59% when including only internet users). Data published in Google’s own ad planning tools show that YouTube’s potential ad reach in South Africa increased by 500,000 (+2.0%) between the start of 2022 and early 2023.

Concerning gender breakdown on this platform, 50% were female while 50% were male viewers – which makes empowering digital presence essential for businesses aiming to succeed digitally by creating content tailored towards both genders without bias or exclusion from either side.

Instagram users in South Africa 2023

Numbers published in Meta’s advertising tools indicate that Instagram had 5.65 million users in South Africa in early 2023. It’s also worth noting that Instagram’s ad reach in South Africa at the start of 2023 was equivalent to 13.0% of the local internet user base (regardless of age).

In early 2023, 54.0% of Instagram’s ad audience in South Africa was female, while 46.0% was male.

TikTok users in South Africa in 2023

TikTok usage in South Africa is on the rise.  According to statistics published by ByteDance, the social media site had 11.83 million users aged 18 and above in South Africa in early 2023. This equates to a reach of 29.6% of all adults aged 18 and above in the country, and 27.2% of the total internet user base regardless of age.

Of TikTok’s ad audience in South Africa, 56.1% were female while 43.9 percent were male at the start of 2023. Moreover, data from ByteDance’s own ad planning tools indicated that potential TikTok ad reach in South Africa increased by 5.4 million (+83.6%) between the start of 2022 and early 2023.

LinkedIn users in South Africa in 2023

Data published in LinkedIn’s planning tools show that LinkedIn’s potential ad reach in South Africa increased by 1.5 million (+15.8 percent) between 2022 and 2023.

LinkedIn is becoming increasingly popular in South Africa, with 11 million people having registered on the platform by early 2023. This equates to 18.3% of the country’s population, and 27.5% of those aged 18 years and above. Furthermore, LinkedIn’s ad reach is equivalent to 25.3% of South African internet users. In terms of gender, 48.1% of LinkedIn’s ad audience in South Africa is female and 51.9% is male in 2023.

In the period between 2022 and 2023, LinkedIn’s potential ad reach increased by 1.5 million (+15.8%).

Twitter users in South Africa in 2023

Twitter is one of the most popular social media networks in South Africa and digital statistics suggest that it continues to grow its user base. According to the latest figures, there were 3.65 million Twitter users in South Africa in early 2023 – approximately 6.1% of the total population. This number represents an increase of 800,000 users (28.1%) compared to the beginning of 2022.

However, these figures from Twitter’s ad planning tools appear to fluctuate rapidly even over short periods of time, which can affect the reliability and representation of this data.

E-commerce market size and growth South Africa 2023

By 2023, it is estimated that the e-commerce market size will reach R1 trillion (US$72 billion) as more businesses adopt digital technologies to stay competitive. In addition, internet connectivity, social media usage and other digital activities are expected to increase significantly due to increased access to data services at competitive prices. These trends point towards a bright future for digital transformation in South Africa over the next few years.

The digital transformation of South Africa is expected to accelerate further in 2023 with the arrival of Amazon. The US-based ecommerce giant has big plans for the country and is already making investments in technology, logistics, digital payments and customer service infrastructure. This will open up new opportunities for businesses to reach more customers online and offer better services through digital channels.


All these trends point towards a bright future for digital transformation in South Africa. As marketers continue to leverage digital technologies effectively into their strategies, they will gain further insights into how best to engage with consumers at different points along their journey – ultimately leading them toward greater success as they drive sales conversions from casual visits or leads funnel stages.

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