South Africa’s internet economy currently contributes 2% to GDP and is forecast to reach 2.5% by 2016, according to data out on Tuesday (29 May 2012).
The Internet Economic impact study, conducted by research company, World Wide Worx, for Google SA, found that the total spent by SA consumers, SMEs, and government on products and services via internet in 2011, as well as on internet infrastructure, amounted to R59 billion.
MD of World Wide Worx, Arthur Goldstuck said: “what is interesting here is that the largest contributor to this total is not, as most people would assume, the investment by service providers in infrastructure. While the mobile networks and fibre providers have certainly spent their fair share on infrastructure, a total of R13.5 billion, this pales beside the R29.2 billion spent on internet presence and access.”
Goldstuck also noted that e-commerce was growing at a rate of about 30% annually. And with a number of major consumer brands yet to device a comprehensive online strategy, the scope for further growth was evident.
Goldstuck pointed out that a number of sectors, notably the airline industry, had embraced the online space. Online ticketing sales in 2011 reached nearly R9 billion.
Government spending in online infrastructure remained comparatively low, at approximately R1 billion. “It must be said however, that general ICT spending runs into several billion rand,” Goldstuck said.
The survey showed that around 410,000 SMEs in SA have a website, representing 63% of active formal SMEs.
“Approximately 150,000 SMEs in SA would go out of business, were it not for their web presence. Since SMEs account for some 7.8 million jobs, this means that as many as 1.56 million jobs would be in jeopardy were it not for the internet,” Goldstuck said.