Trends 18: Digital Lessons from Africa

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Felim McGrath / November 30, 2017

More than in any other world region, mobiles have played a central role in the development of internet behaviors in Africa. This is borne out in the habits of its digital consumers; many online behaviors in Africa are distinctly different from those seen in other parts of the world.

In Africa, we can truly talk about mobile-only strategies that can be impactful as in countries like Kenya, Morocco and Nigeria, around 40% of digital consumers are mobile-only (not accessing or owning any other connected device). The reliance on mobile has a profound impact across the digital activities of African internet users.

One key difference between these digital consumers and their counterparts around the world is that African internet users often display a different attitude to their social media portfolio – using fewer platforms, for longer and in a more active/engaged way.

Of particular importance is these consumers’ multi-networking behaviors; globally, internet users maintain about 8 social media accounts on average, but in somewhere like Morocco this figure is only about 6. These consumers are focusing their social media activities on some core apps (Facebook and WhatsApp in this instance) while often neglecting other big names in the world of social. Africa could provide a picture of future social media habits, as consumers establish a set portfolio of social apps, leaving little room for new entrants into the social media industry.

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