As much as Internet access and usage is growing in this country, we are undoubtedly still a growing market with many, many years of development still ahead of us. An example of this is the fact that only 8% of the South African population has access to the Internet, yet in 2001 there were only 2.8million South Africans who had access, while only 354 000 had been online for more than five years.
Mark Chirnside, Chief Executive Officer of Ukash says that the best way to increase Internet usage in South Africa is for the government to make it available to school learners and universities. An interesting survey carried out by Nielson Netrating established that 68% of scholars do not have Internet access at school. It is perceived that by providing Internet access at entry level, the online market will become an integral part of our society and will therefore experience unprecedented growth.
According to World Wide Worx director, Arthur Goldstruck, “we can expect to see and increasing rate of online buyers and this trend should maintain through to 2010, when it will slow down for a few years as the experience curve flattens again.” He explains this relates directly to Internet newcomers and their ability to trust e-commerce.
South African web users are predominantly from higher-income groups who are based in the key urban areas of the country, for example Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban. This group is typically well educated as 82% have completed further education and work in an office where 66% of internet access takes place. Gender split is also almost equal with 51% of site visits being conducted by males and the remaining 49% by women.
Increasing Internet usage will surely result in a domino effect with more consumers understanding the online market and the way it operates. This will in turn result in a greater range of brands being able to advertise to a bigger market, online.
“The online market is predominantly untapped in South Africa and hopefully once users have received more education and an additional percentage of the population are exposed to the internet we will see a steady growth curve in online buyers,” concludes Chirnside.
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