Internet data usage has been on the rise for a number of years now and interestingly 2018 was no different. The amount of mobile internet data that was used by Zimbos rose by 77% from 15 361 TB to 27 278 TB. This exponential growth is especially exciting once you consider the fact that what this essentially means is that locals are making more varied use of the internet than they did before.
|Data Consumed In Year||8 093 TB||15 361 TB||27 278 TB|
Once you consider the fact that from 2016 to 2017 there was also an 89% boom then it’s clear internet consumption isn’t slowing down anytime soon. Another indicator that we may be ready to venture outside of WhatsApp and use the internet in its full breadth is the number of data dependent applications and platforms that have been launched over the past few months.
I don’t think applications like Vaya, Hwindi, DEOD, and Kwese iFlix would have made any sense a few years ago as there just weren’t enough people outside of WhatsApp to justify offering these services that rely on data. Of course with DEOD and kwese one can argue that there’s the zero rating and bundles to make viewing much cheaper but Kwese iFlix was quite popular during last year’s World Cup and that was before more enticing bundles were announced for the service. I would go as far as arguing that the only thing holding iflix back is actually the content and not a lack of data on the consumers part.
What’s driving this growth?
Judging from traffic patterns on our site there were two occasions that forced people on to the internet; the Coup-not-coup and the subsequent elections which came last year. During this period everyone wanted to be in the loop and WhatsApp’s was not enough. Twitter has since become much more popular and I’m sure many news publications largely benefited from the public’s curiosity.
The ‘new dispensation’ and associated figures ; the likes of Mthuli Ncube and Mangudya have garnered interest and the public has generally been more interested in keeping in touch with the latest government decrees. Remember how people were streaming the ConCourt Challenge by the opposition shortly after the elections?
What does all this mean?
More eyeballs on the internet means more opportunities in a number of fields. Last year, retail giant, OK, was hiring a head of eCommerce and even SPAR has an eCommerce store which is in indicator that a lot of businesses are trying to figure out eCommerce. Aforementioned businesses like Vaya, Hwndi and VoD services have already also made their first moves and I don’t expect the appetite of consumers to slow down anytime soon, which can only be good news.