Deloitte SA Blog


Smartphone adoption continues to grow across South Africa

With the growing impact of smartphones on South Africans, Deloitte recently conducted a Global Mobile Consumer Survey across the world, with South Africa forming part of this global survey. During the survey process, South African mobile consumers were asked about what important considerations they have when selecting a mobile device.

It is now estimated that there are over 10 million active smartphones in South Africa. Many of these smartphone users are opting for mobile handset brands based on numerous socio-economic factors. For example, the aspiration factors and cost sensitivities are driving the purchase decision for certain mobile handset brands among the youth. We will continue to see brand and social recognition driving uptake of handset brands. Leading this will be closed community initiatives like IM chat services.

From the surveyed customers, the top five features which customers consider most important when choosing a mobile, especially smartphone, device, include:

Table 1: Top five attribute for choosing a smartphone

Rank Attribute Considerations
1 Brand Brand is the number one reason for selection of a smartphone by the surveyed customers. Brand of device is often aligned with status, with the customer perceiving that a given mobile device maylift their status amongst their peers.
2 Design The aesthetic design of the second most important attribute for South Africans when purchasing a mobile device. .
3 Reliability Smartphones still represent a high cost investment for customers even on a subsidized postpaid contract. Reliability is held in high esteem by customers purchasing smartphones.
4 Camera With smartphones cameras becoming increasingly sophisticated, many customers are now considering their mobile as their primary photography device. In the purchase decision the quality of the camera ranks fourth on surveyed South African consumer considerations.
5 Applications Lastly, the ability to download and engage with applications is an important consideration for subscribers.

As over the top players become more entrenched in providing, for example, IM chat services across multiple mobile device brands, closed community services will start to lose their effectiveness.  The reality of mobile device ownership is that subscribers will inevitably migrate to a different brand after their second or third device from their current brand category.

Please click on the download link below to access the thought leadership piece.

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If you have any questions or require additional information, feel free to contact Mark Casey at or connect with Mark on Linkedin here alternatively contact Jon Hoehler on or connect with Jon on Linkedin here.

Category: Technology, Media & Telecoms (TMT)

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