Top South African App Downloads Are Global Players, But Locals Are Racing To Catch Up

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Written by Dana Sanchez

WhatsApp is the No. 1 most downloaded app in South Africa, and the country leads sub-Saharan Africa when it comes to downloading apps, TimesLive reports.

As mobile broadband penetration increases, consumers are using mobile apps more, according to a the GSM Association (GSMA) Mobile Economy Report for Sub-Saharan Africa 2015, released this week in Cape Town.

After WhatsApp, the top downloaded mobile apps in South Africa are Facebook Messenger, Facebook and Instagram, according to market tracker App Annie.

“Social networking and instant messaging apps from global Internet players are very popular among smartphone users in the region,” the GSMA said, according to TimesLive.

Local innovators racing to build relevant apps and GSMA expects e-commerce in sub-Saharan Africa to expand fast.

“There is growing interest from local consumers in home-grown apps,” GSMA said. “Several popular local apps have originated from South Africa and Nigeria, and are now gaining traction in other countries in the region.”

Content and services that are relevant, accessible, and available to users in their own
language will be crucial in bringing the full benefits of the mobile Internet to users, according to GSMA Mobile Economy Report 2015,

The majority of content is currently in English and is largely focused on data-heavy smartphone apps. Smartphone penetration is still low in the developing world and English is not the primary language for the majority. This limits accessibility and usefulness of content.

In order to reach the widest audience, content needs to be available on as many devices as possible in languages users understand, as well as being relevant to their local needs and interests