The South African App Market: Where Are We Now? 1

The South African App Market: Where Are We Now?

There are greater than half of 1,000,000 android apps within the globe. The i-Store, which formally garnered more than 25 billion downloads in March this 12 months, offers five. Five million downloads, with greater than a hundred and seventy 000 apps specifically tailored in your iOS. If your head isn’t spinning with the variety on offer, then I’ll hit you with the truth that around 300 000 of these apps were uploaded in the closing three years. Talk approximately an enterprise growing in a single day.

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All this has been pushed via an ever-growing level and availability of cellular hardware and strong running systems and development gear. Given the proliferation of cellular gadgets around the sector (more than 85 percent of the planet is its use), you would possibly properly ask, has South Africa taken gain of this new outlet for her skills and enterprise?

 South African App Market

The answer, unfortunately, is mixed. South Africa has had a few amazing advantages when as compared with its friends on the continent. Unfortunately, we have a song report of sitting on our laurels. We have managed to drop, or as a minimum fumble, the ball on the subject of issues like adolescents development, the advent of sustainable opportunity energies, and the development of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) infrastructure.


So one would possibly nicely ask, are you going to miss the boat on the App increase too? It’s not that I’m saying we’re absolutely useless; it is greater a case of failing to seize opportunities. With the aid of proper, South Africa needs to be one of the most powerful gamers on the continent but permit’s look at what we’ve carried out with our opportunities.

At the turn of this century, we had one of the exceptional telecommunications infrastructures on the continent; however, now our line speeds and records prices are falling some distance at the back of the rest of Africa. In 2012 our Internet penetration was much less than 14 percentage which places us ahead of the African common of 13.Five% however well in the back of countries like Kenya (25%), Nigeria (29%) or Morocco (forty-nine%). We are in common, sure, however right here’s my factor: whilst you don’t forget our capacity, is ideal enough all we ought to be aiming for?

When it comes to education and communications infrastructure, our poor overall performance is probably the unmarried biggest stumbling block on this we of an’s an improvement. Certainly, it’s miles a chief aspect in our lagging in the back of the relaxation of the arena on the subject of taking gain of the app marketplace. Here we’ve got an income-generating industry that every person has to be capable of input, anywhere and at any time, and we are choking ourselves with previous line speeds and exorbitant fees for bandwidth.

Everyone can see how the e-tolling machine can be horrific for businesses and commuters. With that during thoughts, would it certainly surprise all and sundry to listen that a current look at performing for the Business Software Alliance positioned us 18th out of 24 nations in our readiness for cloud computing? The file stated our low tiers of Internet penetration and occasional stages of facts and communications technology as trouble. Also, it mentioned that there wishes to be better planning for the enlargement of our high-velocity networks (we’re currently lagging behind India in this branch). Above all, we’re going to need to make the Web faster and greater low cost if we’re going with a view to competing across the world.

With a quite restrained infrastructure and charges that are prohibitive for many, the penetration of apps is obviously some distance in the back of what it must be. Still, it’s no longer all horrific information. At the same time, we have a manner to head in making sure that our countrymen and girls get into the dependancy of downloading apps, in company terms, we’re actually now not to date behind the curve. As Richard Cherry of Afrozaar Apps places it, “We truly do observe international locations like the US, South Korea and the EU concerning general patron new-media apps. However, I trust our company and enterprise-to-enterprise app paradigm isn’t always that far behind.” Indeed, in certain industries like banking, South Africa is an international chief because we’re often used to piloting and testing enterprise software and structures.


Banks like FNB also have a strong presenting in terms of banking apps and feature visible the blessings that offering something greater to their customers can bring.

We are still suffering from increasing a subculture of app use for the common South African in the complete though. We are all acquainted with some of the biggies like Facebook. However, there stays an untapped market for apps designed for the local marketplace. You’ve got to invite why greater of this kind of app is not being created. It can not be said that South Africa completely lacks inability or creativity. Indeed the research group Gartner rated us as one of the top 30 software program-developing destinations back in 2008.

The question is, what have we executed with our ability? Are we letting any other possibility slip via? In 2009 the ITC ranked us first inside the sub-classes of ICT security, cyber-, high-brow-belonging rights laws, and contribution of services to gross domestic product. We came in 1/3 overall as an outsourcing vacation spot, which will only prove my factor that we have the skills and know-how in certain regions. Still, we often allow down utilizing, allowing ourselves to lag in others. This various degree of competence and great seems to imply that in preference to coming up with a cohesive plan for how we will improve our ICT and harness the strength of our developers, we are at the mercy of conflicting forces – each seeking to appear after its own interests without a hobby in the development of our nation’s industries as a whole.

A working example, the latest ICT figures revealed that we ranked thirtieth out of forty-six African nations whilst it got here to our mobile-records fees—no prizes for guessing who is letting the aspect down here. The bottom line is that cellular-statistics fees need to fall if we will not miss some other possibility yet. The penetration of mobile gadgets some distance exceeds our Internet penetration, with nearly 80 percent of South Africans owning a cellular tool. As smartphones drop-in rate, more and more humans might be using Android or iOS. That represents a big market with a splendid capacity if we can get people used to apps. The first step to achieving this is dropping prices so that they are no longer beyond the patron’s approach.

You’ve no doubt noticed that a few steps were taken in this regard, and rates are dropping, presuming it is not a case of too little too late. The inevitable question for the commercial enterprise-minded individual might should be, “How can I get concerned on this?”

Local or global 25 billion app downloads sound like a pie you’d need a slice of? If you’re not an aspiring developer yourself, there may be no need to melancholy (certainly chances are you’ll want a team anything happens). A proper concept can be all you want, and there are masses of businesses in the South African market to help you comprehend your vision. The possibilities are which you’re not going to replicate Angry Birds’ success in a single day. However, Richard Cherry’s passed on a few recommendations you might want to undergo in thoughts:

-Build a team with the proper stages of revel in and skillsets
-Obtain group enjoy on several professional service projects and also positioned in the time, overtime if vital, to analyze and increase current apps

-Try a few apps yourself to fully recognize the tool platforms being targeted
-Focus on building a software component base for reusability and destiny extensions
-Find methods to mature shipping and/or production traces
-Then, have your group agree on a product or platform and commit to building it in

This very last point maybe a piece 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 capable of cope with both situations. Certainly, you need to design any app or internet site with cellular gadgets’ restrictions in thoughts. The various penetration stages among mobile and Internet connections make it clear that you are surely going to want a mobile website for your business. However, the conflicts and variations between browsers can frequently be a stumbling block, and a local app can often be a way of making sure that an app works stably and as you want it to.


If you decide to go along with a native app, then the possibilities are that you need to go together with Android (unless you are imparting a product that you deem greater suited to the iPhone marketplace). My wondering right here comes down to the truth that cost is likely to be one of all the biggest factors in adopting cellular gadgets in this united states. Most normal backside-of-the-range smartphones will probably be the usage of one version of the Android OS or every other, so it makes sense to ensure your app could be strong on Android.

While it’s far worth noting our weaknesses, it’s far similarly essential to renowned our strengths. For marketers, app improvement represents a full-size opportunity, and it’s miles one which South Africans, and their counterparts on the rest of the continent, are seizing increasingly. As a mobile strategist and AppCircus co-founder, Rudy De Waele these days commented: “Many of the African app developers we met during the AppCircus Africa tour final year were college graduates, but the sizable majority have learned to code through the Internet.

They have splendid entrepreneurial spirit and pressure, but lack the commercial enterprise schooling and mentors had to take their apps to the following level.” South Africa has talented those who can and will be sizable players inside the global app market. February of this yr saw one of our personal app builders, Anne Shongwe, elected a finalist within the sixth annual Mobile Premier Awards in Barcelona.

We may also have a way to move about catching up with the sector’s relaxation in developing apps. Still, it is high-quality to see that we truly have those who mainly represent South Africa. Hopefully, they’ll now not be allowed down via a loss of help and vision.