Updated: Oct 30, 2019
The total South African population is 57 million, of which approximately 31 million have internet (54%) and 18 million who are active social media users (32%). The number of people using the internet and the number of people active on social media both show strong growth when compared year on year. For example, between Jan 2017 and Jan 2018, internet users grew by 7% and active social media users by a whopping 20%, or 3 million additional people!
South Africa as a mobile-first internet economy
South Africa is a mobile-first country which consistently demonstrates that the majority of traffic comes from mobile phones (estimated at 95% of total traffic). Approximately 60% of these are smart phones. It's also handy to note that there are an average of 2,29 connections per unique mobile user, showing that people have multiple SIM cards (presumably from multiple networks) to take advantage of their various data and call specials. This amounts to a total of 87.07 million connections.
Frequency of internet usage
In terms of frequency, 65% of internet users access the web once a day. 19% of internet users are watching videos online every day, meaning video remains a huge opportunity for brands and marketers.
Most popular social media platforms
Whatsapp is the most popular social media network in South Africa, even beating out Facebook. That being said however, Facebook penetration did grow by a whopping 20% between Jan 2017 and Jan 2018, totalling to 18 million monthly active Facebook users in South Africa. We also saw that just less than 30% (28.6%) of pages were using paid media, reflecting the worldwide shift of social media networks to a "pay-to-play" environment. Instagram boasted 3,9 million Instagram users in early 2018, with a slight female skew (53%).