Twitter reveals insights into how South Africans use Twitter

Twitter Stats

A recent study commissioned by Twitter and conducted by Nielsen, looked at the Twitter habits of South African users. The study shows that Twitter is growing in popularity and that Twitter is used for much more than personal updates.

Who are they?

The demographics show that Twitter really is a  platform for everyone. The study showed that 53% of users in South Africa fall in the age range of 25-44; nearly one third (29%) are aged 16-24 and the remaining 18% are over 55.

Just over half of the Twitter users in South Africa are women (56%) with men making up the remaining 44%.

How we engage with Twitter

It is no surprise that 87% of people use a mobile phone to access the Internet and of those 3 in 5 use their mobile phone to access Twitter as a preference.  Laptops are the second most popular device used to access Twitter at 68% and tablet users contribute 32% of the access.

As a result of the high percentage of people engaging with Twitter via a mobile device (mobile phone and/or tablet), Twitter is most often accessed ‘on the move’ and ‘in the moment’. For example, while travelling; at school and university; shopping and at live events. Mobile users also tend to be more likely to engage with Twitter at various times of the day but are particularly more active than the average Twitter user during the weekday evenings between 6-9pm and during weekend nights (midnight – 7am).

When looking at the range of Twitter features available and what is used most often, 52% of those surveyed said that they read Tweets on their timeline daily, 40% said they Tweet themselves and 37% look at the trending topics.

South Africans make use of Twitter for different reasons but mainly to keep up to date, connect and discover. 64% of users use Twitter for keeping up to date with breaking news and 39% use it for the latest sports information. In terms of connecting with people, 55% engage with people they know and 53% of users connect with people they don’t know – showing the power of Twitter to create connections. Twitter is also used as a way to discover and 58% of users conducted searches on the platform.

Here are some interesting findings on what South Africans do on Twitter.

What we Tweet about

According to the study in South Africa, women are more likely to Tweet about holidays and celebrities whereas men Tweet about news, sports and politics.

However 63% of people Tweet about jokes or things that make them laugh.  A good example of this is the recent ‘Twitter Town Hall’ #AskMmusi where South Africans started to Tweet jokes and ended up causing #AskMmusi to trend worldwide.

Another South African favorite is music content with 69% of South African Twitter users indicating it as their top interest.  Film (67%), food (66%), TV shows (64%) and travel (60%) complete the top 5 South African interests on Twitter.


In Summary

  • Twitter is an everyday activity – 61% of South African users visit Twitter everyday and more than 2 in 5 engage several times a day
  • Mobile is at the heart of Twitter – 85% of South Africans a mobile device (phone and/or tablet) to access Twitter. 79% of whom, state that mobile devices are the primary way they access Twitter.

It is clear that in South Africa, Twitter is a live, public and conversational platform that instantly connects people with what’s most meaningful to them.


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