Consumer Technology Trends in South Africa
South Africa could be a leading destination for wearable technology, due to the low adoption rates of technology in its households.
According to a survey by Ipsos, which looked at the adoption of wearable technology, smartphones and personal electronics in countries across the globe. The study showed that less than 13% of South African households currently own some form of wearable technology. This is compared to over 40% in the USA, which is currently the global leader in wearable technology adoption.
Continued growth in the South African economy alongside the uptrend in consumer spending could see more access to the technologies in South Africa as companies look for the next big markets to access. Wonga South Africa is helping South African consumers improve their financial knowledge and skills. You can find this and more on their blog.
Smartphone sales continue to rise
Market research firm, GfK, noted that smartphone unit sales continued to rise by 21% in 2017, despite consumer technology seeing some reductions in spending. GfK South Africa’s data shows that smartphone sales in South Africa been increased from around 10 million in 2016 to above 12 million in 2017.
Entry-level smartphones from second-tier brands drove much of the growth, the value of the smartphone market showed an increase of 22%. An 11% drop in basic mobiles indicated that users are moving towards smartphones and a push for new technology helps this.
In a recent development, Africa’s largest mobile operator, MTN, announced that it was trialling 5G technology in partnership with Chinese smartphone maker, Huawei. These moves to increase access to technology and improve on the services currently available should see the wearable technology sector continue to grow. Wealth inequality is still an issue in the country, but improved networks and increased competition could see prices reduce and bring more consumers into these products.
VR and AI next?
South Africa may be catching up to some developed countries with the adoption of new technology, however many of these technologies are still being perfected for western markets, and once the heavy investment in areas such as Virtual Reality and Artificial Intelligence feed through into revenues, the technologies will quickly be adopted across the world.
VR saw $8billion raised last year and new products are in the pipeline such as smart glasses which could see technology push its way further and further into the lives of consumers.
Another area seeing investment in the US is a driverless technology with car companies such as Ford Motor, currently running trials in the USA for robot deliveries of parcels and pizzas.
Affordable cars are an important part of South African consumers’ requirements, and many online marketplaces have popped up in recent years to service that need. Autonomous vehicles could see less reliance on cars if deliveries become more convenient.