Market watch: Shopping apps usage jumps 58pc in Kenya


Shopping apps usage grew fastest in Kenya at 58 percent during the 12-month period to December last year. FILE PHOTO | SHUTTERSTOCK

Shopping apps usage grew fastest in Kenya at 58 percent during the 12-month period to December last year compared to other mobile phone applications pointing to an accelerated growth of the e-commerce industry in the country.

Fresh data contained in a report dubbed The Changing Landscape of Africa’s Mobile App Market published by data and analytics firm Data Sparkle shows that Africa’s overall use of financial apps grew the fastest at 26 percent with Kenya posting a 38 percent growth as mobile banking, e-wallet and payment platforms emerged as the dominating segments.

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“In recent years, fintech innovation in Africa has been largely focused on digital wallets, bank accounts, payments, remittances, wealth management, insurance and loans. Payment solutions (especially digital wallets, payments and mobile banking) have been dominating Africa’s fintech market,” reads the report.

In a general outlook, the overall continental mobile app market increased by 14 percent during the year under review, with the total number of annual active users of mobile apps exceeding 800 million as of December.

“Active users of the African mobile app market increased by over 14 percent in December 2022 compared to January of the same year. Non-gaming apps were growing rapidly in the face of economic headwinds,” reads the report.

In Kenya, other app categories whose usage recorded significant growth included house and homes (43 percent), health and fitness (39 percent), events (36 percent), and sports streaming (30 percent).

On the social media front, TikTok led the pack in Kenya in terms of average time spent per month and mobile data usage at 13.33 hours and 3.09 GB respectively with Facebook following closely at 12.92 hours and 2.29 GB, YouTube (11.8 hours and 1.8 GB) and Instagram (4.85 hours and 1.77 GB).

“Leading pan-entertainment apps worldwide such as TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube are popular among mobile users. They spent over 23 hours per month on these social media apps,” the report notes.

Downloader apps, which enable users to easily download and save content from major social media platforms, became a new popular type of social app in the continent, with at least three new applications getting onboarded.

Other categories that recorded improvements during the year included e-mobility, education and food delivery apps.

The average daily time an African spent on the mobile phone was above four hours, accounting for more than one-third of daily life.

“Mobile phones have become an integral part of people's daily life in Africa… Most Africans used their mobile phone after 6pm, and the average mobile phone usage peaked at 7pm-9pm,” says the report.

The trends are attributed to the increased affordability of mobile data, coupled with the continuous improvement of internet infrastructure and the rapid proliferation of smartphones.

Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) data shows that the country’s unique mobile penetration, which weeds out the impact of multiple SIM card ownership, stands at 61 percent which is the highest among East African peers.

The Data Sparkle report ranked Kenya as a top consumer of mobile data, with an average user gobbling up to 14.1 GB monthly at an average cost of $11.81 (Sh1,618) which is about 7.2 percent of the country’s average monthly income.

Kenya came second in mobile data usage, only after Egypt whose average citizen posted a monthly usage of 23.4 GB at an average cost of $22.16 (Sh3,035) which translated to 3.8 percent of the average monthly income.

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Others in the rank included Nigeria and South Africa whose citizens used 13.8 GB and 12.63 GB of monthly mobile data respectively.

During the four-year period to December last year, Nigeria witnessed the sharpest decline in mobile data costs at 91 percent followed closely by Kenya whose prices decreased by 69 percent while Egypt posted a 38 percent reduction.

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