Companies are beginning to see this market as holding a considerable amount of potential.
In the mobile commerce environment, growth has been seen around the world at a considerable rate, but there are certain areas in the world where it is believed to hold a great deal more potential than others.
Among those high potential regions, South Africa has now been grouped with other leaders.
While the majority of the mobile commerce data is focused on more mature markets, for example, the United States, there is a surprisingly small amount coming from emerging markets, which are considered to be among the largest opportunities due to the massive smartphone penetration and the comparatively smaller use of home computers and access to standard internet.
South Africa has been shown to be one of the most interesting in terms of mobile commerce potential.
Data presented in the World Wide Worx Mobile Consumer in SA 2012 survey showed that purchases made over smartphones are occurring among only 4 percent of urban cell phone users in the country. However, the devices are being used very commonly for other similar purposes, leading experts to believe that m-commerce is next there.
The three most common types of transaction over smartphones in South Africa are: money transfers to other people, mobile banking, and airtime purchases. As consumers become more comfortable with completing transactions with these devices, mobile commerce that involves purchasing a physical product which will then be delivered to them will also increase in appeal.
At the moment, consumers in South Africa are using their smartphones almost exclusively for utilitarian purchases. However, over time, a broader range of mobile commerce adoption is on its way in the region and many feel that it is not long off. Other data has supported this conclusion, including the fact that according to GSM African Mobile data, by 2011, there were already more cell phones in the country than there were people. This is a penetration that is more than 100 percent (59.9 million devices vs an estimated population of 50.5 million people) and more people are using smartphones as their primary connection to the internet.