The South African App Market: Where Are We Now?

There are extra than half of a million Android apps in the global. The i-Store, which officially garnered greater than 25 billion downloads in March this yr, gives 5.5 million downloads, with an extra than one hundred seventy 000 apps specifically tailor-made for your iOS. If your head is not spinning with the variety on offer, then I’ll hit you with the reality that around 300 000 of these apps had been uploaded inside the ultimate three years. Talk about an enterprise developing overnight.


All this has been pushed utilizing an ever-increasing stage and availability of cell hardware and stable working platforms, and improvement gear. Given the proliferation of mobile gadgets worldwide (extra than 85 percent of the planet is their usage), you may nicely ask, has South Africa taken gain of this new outlet for her talent and enterprise?

The answer, unfortunately, is blended. South Africa has had a few first-rate benefits while compared with its friends on the continent. Unfortunately, we have a track document of sitting on our laurels. We have managed to drop, or at least fumble, the ball about troubles like youth improvement, the advent of sustainable opportunity energies, and the development of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) infrastructure.

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So one may nicely ask are we going to miss the boat on the App boom too? It’s now not that I’m pronouncing we’re completely vain; it is more a case of failing to capture opportunities. Using right, South Africa must be one of the most powerful players on the continent; however, permit’s look at what we’ve carried out with our opportunities.

At the turn of this century, we had one of the satisfactory telecommunications infrastructures on the continent. Still, now our line speeds and facts prices are falling ways in the back of the rest of Africa. In 2012 our Internet penetration was less than 14 percent, which places us ahead of thirteen African commons.Five% however well behind nations like Kenya (25%), Nigeria (29%), or Morocco (forty-nine %). We are above common, sure, however right here’s my point: when you don’t forget our ability, is right enough all we must be aiming for?

When it comes to training and communications infrastructure, our poor overall performance might be the unmarried largest stumbling block on this user’s improvement. Certainly, it’s miles the first-rate component in our lagging behind the rest of the world regarding taking advantage of the app marketplace. Here we have an earnings-generating industry that all and sundry need to be able to input, everywhere and at any time, and we are choking ourselves with outdated line speeds and exorbitant expenses for bandwidth.

Everyone can see how the e-tolling machine could be awful for commercial enterprises and commuters. With that in thoughts, wouldn’t it virtually surprise every person to pay attention that the Business Software Alliance’s latest study placed us 18th out of 24 nations in our readiness for cloud computing? The document stated our low degrees of Internet penetration and low ranges of facts and communications technology as a hassle. Also, it said that there is a desire to be higher in planning for the expansion of our high-velocity networks (we are presently lagging at the back of India in this department). Above all, we’re going to need to make the Web quicker and greater low priced if we are going if you want to compete for the world over.


With an incredibly restricted infrastructure and prices that are prohibitive for many, the penetration of apps is manifestly far behind what it must be. However, it’s now not all terrible information. While we have a way to make sure that our countrymen and women get into the habit of downloading apps, incorporate phrases we are actually not thus far in the back of the curve. As Richard Cheery of Afrozaar Apps places it, “We really do follow international locations like the US, South Korea and the EU with regards to well-known customer new-media apps. However, I consider our company and enterprise-to-enterprise app paradigm isn’t always that far in the back of.” Indeed in positive industries like banking, South Africa is an international leader considering that we’re regularly used to piloting and testing enterprise software programs and systems.

Banks like FNB also have a sturdy presentation about banking apps and have seen the benefits of offering something more to their clients can bring.

On the whole, even though, we’re nevertheless struggling to develop a subculture of app use for the common South African. We are all familiar with some of the biggies like Facebook. However, there remains an untapped marketplace for apps designed for the nearby market. You’ve were given to inviting why greater of this kind of app isn’t being created. It can not be stated that South Africa is absolutely missing in talent or creativity. Indeed the research institution Gartner rated us as one of the pinnacle 30 software-growing locations lower back in 2008.

The question is, what have we accomplished with our ability? Are we letting another possibility slip, by the way? In 2009 the ITC ranked us first in the sub-categories of ICT security, cyber-, and intellectual-belonging rights’ legal guidelines, and contribution of services to the gross home product. We got here in 1/3 common as an outsourcing destination, which most effectively proves my point that we’ve got the expertise and knowledge in positive regions. Still, we regularly allow down via allowing ourselves to lag in others. This various degree of competence and first-rate seems to suggest that in preference to coming up with a cohesive plan for a way we will improve our ICT and harness the electricity of our builders, we are on the mercy of conflicting forces – every trying to look after its personal pursuits with no hobby in the improvement of our kingdom’s industries as a whole.

A working example, the extra recent ICT figures discovered that we ranked thirtieth out of 46 African international locations. At the same time, it came to our cellular-statistics costs—no prizes for guessing who’s letting the facet down right here. The bottom line is that mobile-information prices want to fall if we aren’t going to miss any other opportunity. The penetration of cell gadgets ways exceeds our Internet penetration, with nearly 80 percent of South Africans owning a cellular tool. As smartphones drop-in charge, more and more people might be using Android or iOS. That represents a big marketplace with the brilliant ability if we can get people used to the usage of apps. The first step to achieving that is closing costs so that they’re no longer beyond the patron’s way.

This final point can be a bit of a stumbling block. After all, do you want to create an internet app or an app designed to be native to the tool on which it’s far run? Ideally, your app needs to be able to address both eventualities. Certainly, you must design any app or website with the regulations of cell devices in thoughts. The varying stages of penetration among cellular and Internet connections make it clean which you are definitely going to need a mobile web page for your enterprise. However, the conflicts and versions between browsers can regularly be a stumbling block, and a native app can regularly be a manner of ensuring that an app works stably and as you need it to.

If you decide to go along with a local app, then the probabilities you need to go together with Android (except you’re supplying a product that you deem extra suited to the iPhone marketplace). My thinking right here comes all the way down to the truth that cost is probably to be certainly one of the most important elements in the adoption of mobile gadgets in this united states. Most regularly occurring backside-of-the-variety smartphones are in all likelihood going to be the use of one model of the Android OS or some other, so it makes feel to make sure your app can be stable on Android.

While it is really worth noting our weaknesses, it is similarly critical to renowned our strengths. For marketers, app development represents an enormous opportunity. It is one which South Africans, and their opposite numbers on the relaxation of the continent, are seizing an increasing number of. As cell strategist and AppCircus co-founder Rudy De Waele currently commented: “Many of the African app builders we met at some point of the AppCircus Africa tour closing year have been college graduates. However, the tremendous majority have learned to code thru the Internet.


They have a super entrepreneurial spirit and force, but lack the enterprise training and mentors needed to take their apps to the next stage.” South Africa has gifted people who can and can be vast gamers within the worldwide app market. February of this year noticed one among our own app builders, Anne Shongwe elected a finalist in the 6th annual Mobile Premier Awards in Barcelona.

We may also have a manner to head on catching up with the rest of the arena in developing apps. Still, it’s far satisfactory to peer that we clearly have folks that are mainly representing South Africa. Hopefully, they’ll not be allowed down for lack of assist and vision.

Jeffery D. Silvers
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