Facebook winning on smartphones in SA

Social media applications dominate the South African smartphone scene, local research has found.

According to data in a South African Social Media Landscape study by World Wide Worx and Fuseware, chat application WhatsApp is the most dominant application on smartphones, taking the number one position on both Android and iOS platforms.

With its parent company Facebook at the Windows Phone top slot, the social media giant has entrenched its position in the minds of smartphone users.

“It can be argued that Facebook currently owns mobile – but not necessarily its revenue,” said Arthur Goldstuck, managing director of World Wide Worx.

Social media apps fade in popularity on the paid application category, according to market tracker App Annie.

Dominant market

While WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and Facebook take the top three free application slots in SA, Plague, Pimp Your Screen and Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock top the paid charts.

In terms of highest grossing apps, Clash of the Clans, Game of War and Candy Crush Saga top the charts.

“Games completely dominate the top ten lists for highest grossing apps on iOS and Android, filling the entire top ten on each, as well as the top eight in the Windows Store,” Goldstuck said.

The research reinforces an international paper by the GSM Association (GSMA) that found SA to be the most dominant market for app downloading in Sub-Saharan Africa.

“The rise in smartphone adoption and mobile broadband usage over the next five years will stimulate use of mobile apps, particularly among the increasingly tech-savvy youth segment,” the organisation said in its Mobile Economy Report for Sub-Saharan Africa 2015 report.

Facebook is making the shift to tap mobile revenue. The company reported revenue of $4bn in the second quarter this year, up from $2.9bn in the same period in 2014. WhatsApp had revenue of $15m.


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Facebook winning on smartphones in SA