Advisory News

Africa has moved from mobile first to “mobile only market”


With African mobile users unlocking devices over 150 times a day, Nomophobia (the fear of being without mobile devices) is sweeping across Africa according to leading speakers at Mobile West Africa in Lagos – Andrew Fassnidge.

Ok, it’s not really that bad but Africa has rapidly moved from a mobile first to “mobile only market”, with users now spending on average 3 hours per day on their phone and 50% of all YouTube views in West Africa, now on mobile according to Juliet Ehimuan Chiazor, Google, Nigeria.

Video the future
Garth Manthe from Twitter Ad-dynamo shared how the spectrum of sight, sound and motion are now a key focus for Twitter. With over 2 billion tweets sent every two days, traction and interaction are critical in fast moving tweeting trends. Manthe explained that “video now offers one of the best opportunities for interaction receiving 6 times more re-tweets and driving interaction”, it is therefore no surprise, that video growth on twitter has increased so dramatically.

Mobile experiences key
While Africa is mobile first, there are some major differences with user behaviors using both channels. Time is limited and the mobile consumer wants to spend less time on mobile as there is a “very short attention span on mobile so we must make the mobile experience better” explained Juliet Anammah from Jumia Nigeria.

Cash is still king in the eCommerce market with over 70% of  sales still cash on delivery. That said, Nigerian mobile consumers are much more amenable to mobile payments compared to desk top users added Anammah.

Cost of data foremost for mobile users
While the average price of smartphones has fallen from over $50 a few years ago to $26 now, the costs of data is still inhibiting mobile usage. The average time spent “on the Jumia app in Nigeria is 9 minutes, however conversion rates are lower on the app due to the high cost of mobile data” explained Anammah.

To combat this brands in Nigeria are utilising initiatives such as co-branding deals and bundles to reduce the cost of data have had a positive impact on driving engagement and conversions. “we are trying to build partnerships that can bring the data usage on the Jumia app to zero” added Anammah.

This also means that mobile design and UX is essential. Download speeds and the size of images have a huge impact on the success of failure of online products in Africa. Mark Essien from explained how simply “changing the size of some hotel images resulted in a dramatic increase in bookings” as the large download sizes was inhibiting bookings.

With the cost of data and consumption a major focus for African mobile users, Jongla have launched the world’s ‘lightest’ instant messaging service in Nigeria, using less bandwidth and enabling millions of mobile users across Africa to use less data, save money while still enjoying fun instant messaging with friends and family.

Opera’s Richard Monday concluded that “30% of all data is used in the background without users knowing about it for example 73% of Facebook messenger is used when people are not even using the app” and so African users need to be aware of how data is being taken from them and utilise services such as Opera Max and Opera Mini to deliver cost savings or maybe nomophobia will become a reality.



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