There are 11.8-million Facebook users in South Africa according to the latest results from World Wide Worx and Fuseware’s SA Social Media Landscape 2015 report.
Though the two companies revealed this statistic in their headline findings during September 2014, they highlighted a number of additional figures in a press release issued on Monday, 3 November.
Among the user figures was the gender split.
“Of those Facebook users whose gender is identifiable, 5,6-million males and 5,6-million females use the platform,” the companies said.
Facebook is the first high-tech service or platform in South Africa which has seen an exactly equal take-up by males and females, according to the report.
Website statistics company Effective Measure, which said it performed 173,935 demographic surveys during August 2014, found that 51% of Internet users in South Africa are female.
Arthur Goldstuck, MD of World Wide Worx, said that of the 11.8-million South African users (which is 22% of the population), 8.8-million access Facebook on their mobile phones.
Mike Wronski, managing director of analytics company Fuseware, pointed out that the Facebook user base is beginning to resemble the South Africa urban population: “The highest growth in the user base is seen in three key economic hubs, namely Johannesburg (55%), Pretoria (49%) and Cape Town (44%). Interestingly, Nelspruit continues to show high growth, at 40%.”
The single biggest platform for Facebook – from a phone operating system point of view – is Android, growing from 1.26-million in 2013 to 3.2-million in 2014.
BlackBerry has fallen from the top position to second, dropping only marginally in user numbers from 2.6-million to 2.4-million.
“Windows Phone is beginning to emerge from below the radar, rising from 124,000 to 260,000, Goldstuck and Wronski said. ”iOS remains in third place, at a relatively stable 580,000 users.”
Goldstuck went on to argue that the split between feature phones and smartphones is more important than the operating system numbers.
“5-million Facebook users still use feature phones,” he said. “While smartphones only just dominate — at 5.6-million – it is clear that a large Facebook user base is still on a basic device.”
The most commonly used handset for Facebook is the Nokia Asha, with 1.78-million users. In distant second and third place are the BlackBerry Curve 8520 at 660,000 and the Samsung Galaxy S4 at 400,000.
“This last statistic is also significant, bearing in mind the S4 is a premium device – underlining its social appeal in South Africa,” said Goldstuck.
Wronski added that South Africa bucks the global trend of younger users reportedly falling dramatically as a proportion of the user base.
“There is much debate about teenagers abandoning the platform, but it’s not yet a factor in South Africa,” he said. “The 13–18 age group remains the single biggest on Facebook, with 2,5-million users.”