South African gamers are on the rise – report

  • South Africans are now the world’s most online people.
  • Mobile gaming is growing, and most South African mobile gamers are around the age of 40.
  • This is according to a new study by telecom support firm Subtonomy, that details how South Africans use the internet.

South Africans are the world’s most online people, according to a recent report from ProxyRack. The average South African spends nine hours and 38 minutes online per day, usually from a smartphone.

This is because, unlike other African nations, South Africa manages a population with robust smartphone penetration, with the latest numbers around 70 percent. This metric will only grow as the country’s government continues to launch initiatives to digitise its populations, and sellers are only too happy to introduce more and more affordable smartphones in the market.

Access to internet is also at an all time high. A new report from Swedish telecoms support firm Subtonomy shows that in early 2023 there existed 112.7 million active mobile connections in South Africa, equating to an internet penetration rate of 187 percent. This high number is because of multi-SIM usage, as customers are using different numbers for work and home life.

The era of the disconnected has long passed us by it seems. South Africans are a connected people and this will only become more prevalent in the future.

But how do South Africans use this time? Subtonomy says that social media is the leading time sink, with 97 percent of surveyed individuals claiming they use at least once platform, be it Facebook, Instagram, or X. This metric becomes almost 100 percent for the 35 to 39 age group.

Streaming comes in second, followed by using online platforms to pay bills or work from home. Then, around 56 percent of South Africans who took part in the Subtonomy study said they game online via their phones.

While it has been understood that mobile is the leading platform for gamers, not just in South Africa, what’s interesting is that the study highlights that mobile gaming was specifically popular among South African individuals in their 40s.

Apparently 66 percent of the 40s age group is gaming on mobile, compared to 51 percent of under 25s. Subtonomy believes that this could be because of a few factors, including that older gamers “have more disposable income to spend on this service and can afford smartphones.” Or at least, smartphones that run games well.

In total, around 24 million South Africans are playing games on the regular, almost all of these gamers are on mobile despite the pervasiveness of console brands like PlayStation and Xbox. Subtonomy expects playing games on mobile to rise to 72 percent of the 40 to 44 age group.

Another huge use of the internet and smartphone is streaming. Over 88 percent of respondents said that they stream video and movies over mobile or broadband internet. What does this all mean?

“Both video streaming and gaming require high-quality connections, so service providers will need to ensure their networks are running smoothly and reliably to build revenues in these areas,” Subtonomy explains in the study.

Read the full report embedded below:

[Image – Photo by Pandhuya Niking on Unsplash]


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