BRICS Internet penetration: SA lagging behind

South Africa shows stronger Internet penetration amongst its adult population, but still lags far behind the other BRICS nations, according to data released by Analytix Business Intelligence (ABI).

When looking at Internet penetration amongst the BRICS countries, South Africa falls well-behind its counterparts with an Internet penetration of 13.9% amongst its population.

The only BRICS country which is below South Africa is India, which has an Internet penetration of 10.2%.

BRICS countries account for about one-third (33%) of the global internet population – with China, alone, accounting for one-fifth (22%) of the global total.

Global mobile sales Q1 2011/12 (millions of units)

Countryr Internet users Penetration Source
Russia 61,472,011 44.3% 2011, ITU
Brazil 81,798,000 42.2% 2011, IAB
China 513,100,000 38.3 % 2012, CNNIC
South Africa 6,800,000 13.9 % 2011, WWW
India 121,000,000 10.2% 2011, IWS

From: Internet World Stats

A big contributing factor to Internet penetration is South Africa has to do with cost and accessibility.

“It is predicted that Internet user numbers are set to double in emerging countries within the next few years. However, in South Africa this can only be realised if the costs of Internet and especially mobile Internet come down, and operators expand their networks to reach those currently excluded from the Internet,” said Analytix.

South Africa has some of the slowest internet speeds, falling well below international standards at an average of 1,6Mbps.

When it comes down to Internet access speeds, again South Africa lags behind its BRICS counterparts, performing only above India.

BRICS average Internet speed comparison

South Africa in focus

Analytix further paints a more positive map of Internet penetration amongst South African adults, aged 16 and up.

According to the data, about 5.8 million South African adults accessed the Internet in the past seven days, representing a 17% penetration in that demographic.

17% of AMPS repsondents accessed the Internet “in the past 7 days”

This figure is up significantly from the 2.2 million South African adults logging on “in the past 7 days” in 2007 – showing a 164% increase.

“The increase in Internet use has been strongly driven by younger South Africans between the ages of 16-29 years and those who live in ‘middle class’ households,” Analytix said.

Of the demographic, a large portion (60%) are represented by adults aged 20 to 39; while users aged 16 – 29 account for 55% of internet users.

Analytix’s data also shows that the amount of females using the Internet has increased from 42% to 46% of the demographic.

The market research company cites the following sample sizes: 21,068 (2007); 21,083 (2008); 25,170 (2009); 25,160 (2010); and 25,160 (2011).

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BRICS Internet penetration: SA lagging behind