Received a press release from Nielsen//Netratings, who run the statistics and compiles readership of the major websites in the local Online Publisher’s Association. Whichever way you look at it, this is good news for the South African online industry as a whole, and is no doubt spurred on by the arrival of so many broadband options and the cutting of broadband costs. It’s about time. We have been lagging behind other countries, but now it appears we are starting to see the same online audience growth curves that other broadband countries have been experiencing recently.

According to Nielsen//NetRatings, South African Unique Browsers (readers) are up 120% over last two years; page impressions are up 129%. Nielsen//NetRatings is a global leader in Internet media and market research. The growth is also no doubt spurred on by new members joining the OPA and therefore coming onto the new stats system, but it is still an indication of organic growth, and online growth in general.

The growing number of Unique Browsers and page impressions
• May 2007 saw 3.9 million active South African Unique Browsers – 121% more than in May 2005 (1.8 million)
• During the same period page impressions grew by 129% from 91 million in May 05 to 207 million in May 07

Alex Burmaster, Internet Analyst, Nielsen//NetRatings says, “In terms of the number of people using the Internet, the most developed markets in the northern hemisphere have seen a plateauing of growth over the last year or so. In contrast, South Africa has seen phenomenal expansion – growing by around 50% in each of the last two years. This type of growth is, of course, something we have seen across all markets as the Internet has taken hold and moves away from being a niche activity to a very mainstream form of media and an integral part of life.”

Who makes up the South African Internet Population?
• The Internet population is split 54% male (2.15 million people), 45% female (1.79 million people)
• At 1.42 million people, 25-34 year olds are the most dominant age group – accounting for 36% of the online
population – closely followed by 35-49 year olds (1.37 million: 35%)
• English is the most dominant language – being the language spoken primarily at home by around 2.10
million online South Africans (52% of the Internet population). Afrikaans follows at 1.11 million (28% of the
Internet population)

“The South African Internet population is much more concentrated around 25-49 year olds than other English speaking Internet nations. In South Africa this group makes up around seventy percent of the Internet population compared to less than fifty percent in the UK, around forty-five percent in Australia and forty percent in the US.

The majority of the Internet population speaks English and the vast majority of online content is English. Whilst the South African Internet is experiencing huge growth in this area, the opportunity for hyper-audience growth in the future lies in targeting African language speakers.”

14 Responses to “South Africa’s Exploding Internet”
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  4. […] Arthur Goldstuck’s new research is to some extent at odds with the recent statement Nielsen//Netratings issued that internet growth in South Africa is “exploding”, based on the growth of the top 30 OPA sites in the country. The Nielsen figures are independent, audited statistics that show that the major sites in this country are experiencing increased usership, but they are a sample (albeit a very large one) of what is going on in South Africa’s internet. […]

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  6. @ gMK — i’m actually now the chairman of the org… and m&g online has been a member from the start…

    re: the OPA fees… i know its been a contentious issue for some — but the reality is that there has to be fees to cover the costs of running the org and the stats system… and if you consider how being a member this helps solicit online advertising for the sites who pay to be on the OPA system, it’s actually a worthy investment and the fees pale into insignificance… its really an org for publishers whose main business model is online advertising…

    Give me a call at the m&g online offices if u want to talk more re: this… will be happy to chat further…

  7. Matt – i had no idea you were part of the OPA – any comment on my first comment ?

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  10. I am quite surprised to see the older segments making use of the net…50+…that is great news

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  12. Hey, thanks for the stats! been trying to find some solid SA internet stats for a while now!

  13. Also interesting to see that the Afrikaans section is almost 1 third. And these are also probably the people who will buy most of your stuff (Sokkie treffers etc)

  14. One wonders if the OPA didn’t charge such exorbitant fees to be a member if we would get a true reflection of the South African internet usage, as opposed to just the major publishers…but such is life.

    It is however good to see growth, it makes investing in sites considerably easier to sell.

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