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WhatsApp scores in Social Media Research

On the back of Facebook recently acquiring WhatsApp, an update of the SA Social Media Landscape 2014 report has revealed that at least 10.6million South African adult cellphone users utilise the instant messaging app on their phones.

Conducted by World Wide Worx and Fuseware, the research looked into the use of social media and IM (instant messaging) on cellphones ion South Africa. Conducted among a sample of adults cellphone users living in towns and cities, the sample frame represented approximately 20 million adults.

According to the findings, Facebook retains the dominant position for social network use on cell phones. According to social media research, 45% of South Africans were using the network on their phones by the end of 2013. Total Facebook users stood at approximately 11 million South Africans by the end of 2013. Respondents expressed expectations with regards to WhatsApp, with many of the respondents expecting the app to rise to 63% penetration; in the end of 2013, the app marginally lost to Facebook. At the same time, Facebook growth expectations were pegged at a nominal 53%, representing a moderate growth.

An old favourite, Mxit remains stable, with an expectation of improvement over the next 12-18 months. Currently 25% of adults utilise this app. Other apps featuring on the survey include BBM and Twitter.

With the recent upsurge in sales of the Blackberry handsets in South Africa, BBM also continues to grow. 21% of adult cellphone users are currently using this app on their handsets. If the upsurge of sales in maintained, BBM is expected to reach 28% of users.

Twitter has reached over 18% of the adult market and is also expected to rise over the coming months.

In the social and IM market, age has proved to be a huge factor, especially among the users of Facebook and Mxit. Mxit shows these factors clearly; through the age groups, Mxit drops dramatically. 43% of Mxit users are among the under-25s; 21% are between the ages of 26-45 and only 8% of the over 45s use the IM service. Facebook has a 58% penetration among the under-25s; 45% among the 26-45 age group and 25% among the over-45s. The over-45s now represent a growing customer base for Facebook and overall penetration has been pegged at a higher level than in previous years.

Many other factors play into the trends of social and IM usage, including educational levels and location. In its essence the social and IM landscape is characterised by an urban-rural divide.

For more on the survey, go to and