African Business Professionals massively migrating towards tablet and smartphone
14-03-2023 14:49:33 | by: Bas Vlugt | hits: 22506 | Tags:

The African business community is adopting the use of tablets and smartphones at an impressive rate. This is the main conclusion drawn from a survey conducted by the Africa Business Panel.

1,204 African business professionals participated in the survey, which is a repetition – and extension – of a similar survey conducted by the Africa Business Panel in 2013. A comparison of the data obtained then and now demonstrates some significant trends worth examining.

The survey reveals that in the past two years, the use of desktop computers by African business professionals has declined from 68 percent in Q4 2013 to 57 percent in Q4 2015. In the same time frame, the use of tablets has surged from 47 to 59 percent.

The use of smartphones has seen a similar increase, jumping from 76 to 89 percent within this period. As in the case with desktops, the use of classical mobile phones is also shrinking.  In Q4 2013, 64 percent of African business professionals were seen to be using the classic mobile phone device; this percentage now stands at only 44.

In this two-year period of 2013-2015, the use of laptops has remained remarkably high: 96 percent in Q4 2015 as against 95 percent in Q4 2013.

Wearables - like smart watches, a relatively new mobile innovation, is already adopted by 12 percent of the African business world.

Significant differences were recorded among African countries. The survey participants provided us with sufficient information to extract reliable results for the four largest participating countries of Africa.

61 percent of Ghanaian business professionals use a desktop computer, as opposed to only 41 percent in South Africa.

In South Africa laptops are used by virtually all business professionals (98 percent). In this, Kenya records an equally impressive use of 91 percent.

The use of tablets is highest in Ghana – 67 percent, followed by Kenya with 50 percent. Smartphones are widely used: highest use is in South Africa (94%), lowest in Kenya (89%).

Highest use of classical mobile phone is in Nigeria (52%), while the classical mobile phone is clearly on its way to extinction in South Africa (28%).

Remarkable: highest use of wearables is in Ghana (16%), lowest in South Africa (10%).


When it comes to smartphone brands, there are some clear trends. First is the domination of Samsung in Africa. In the 2013 survey Samsung emerged as the winner, with an overall market share of 29 percent. As of 2015 that percentage saw an increase: 35 percent of African business professionals now use a Samsung smartphone.

In the 2013 survey Blackberry came out remarkably strong as the number 2 smartphone brand in Africa, with a market share of 24 percent. Two years later this market share has just about evaporated – Blackberry now holds 8 percent of the market.

Now number 2 in the market is the Apple iPhone, but it hardly profited from the fall of Blackberry. The Apple iPhone grew its market share among African business professionals only marginally, going from 20 percent in 2013 to 21 percent in 2015.

Nokia also saw a loss in the African market, sliding from 11 to 8 percent. LG on the other hand gained some ground in Africa, its market share expanding from 1 to 3 percent. Market share of HTC slid from 5 to 3 percent.

Another remarkable finding: there are many new players entering the African smartphone market. The market share of other brands shot up from 5 percent in 2013 to 16 percent in 2015.


When it comes to security, laptops are best protected. 85 percent of the laptop owners in the survey had some security software installed. Of desktop users, 42 percent took the trouble to protect their computers. 41 percent of smartphone users made use of security, while only 29 percent of tablet users are protected.

How relevant is online media to African business professionals? The importance cannot be exaggerated. A whopping 97 percent state that online media is important to very important. 90 percent say it is important for communication, followed by business network (80%) and operations and sales (both at 62%).


Mobile Network vs WiFi. Which is used for what, and why? African business professionals prefer WiFi to their mobile networks for reasons of cost. Interesting fact: costs are more important at home than at work. Also internet speed is an important factor. Security counts too, but less.

And when do African business professionals prefer their mobile networks to WiFi? Mainly when there is no WiFi - obviously. Also internet speed, costs and security are determining factors here.


For online advertising and sales in Africa, the only way is up. No less than 80 percent of African business professionals expect a modest to significant increase of investment in online sales in 2016. For online advertising, this is 77 percent.

When it comes to business growth, having a strong business network is the most important internal factor (32%), even more important than capital (26%). Better internet infrastructure is regarded the most important external factor (34%), followed by less bureaucracy (31%).

African business professionals appear to be very optimistic about 2016. 53 percent reports some to significant turnover growth in 2015. 85 percent is expecting some to significant turnover growth in 2016.



This survey was conducted in the period of November 2 - December 10, 2015. 1,204 African Business Professionals participated in this research. 76 percent of these participants were senior managers, executives, directors or business owners. The participants represent a wide range of African countries, with the main contributors coming from Nigeria (25%), South Africa (17%), Kenya (14%), followed by Ghana (8%), Tanzania (3%), Zambia (2%) and Angola (2%).

Full Survey Results

In this article only part of the survey is published. Are you interested in the complete survey results? We will send the full survey results to you for free. You can let us know that you are interested by sending an e-mail to Bas Vlugt:

Join the Africa Business Panel

Are you an African Business Professional? Then we invite you to join the worldwide largest African Online B2B Market Research Panel, with over 15,000 members. Be part of the action; enjoy privileges like receiving more survey results and accessing the information before others. And win exciting prizes like interviews and company profiles being published on the websites and in the newsletters of Africa Business Communities.

Click here to join the Africa Business Panel

About the Africa Business Panel

Africa Business Panel is a cooperation of the digital publisher Africa Business Communities and renowned market research firm MSI-ACI.

Africa Business Panel is a strong research tool with members who work for organizations registered in and operating out of Africa. They are the senior managers, entrepreneurs or professionals that form the backbone of the business community throughout Africa.

We are interested in African statistics and trends. Therefore, we started the Africa Business Panel and the Africa Purchasing Managers Index. The opinions and answers of the panel participants are providing us with real indicators of how Africa is doing, either per country or per branch.

Click here to learn more about our market research services and the use of the Africa Business Panel