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South African Digital & Social Media Statistics 2024

Katherine McInnes

Mar 19, 2024

Note: This blog is based on the Global Digital Report 2024 – produced in partnership with Meltwater and We Are Social. See Simon Kemp's article about The Changing World of Digital in 2024. Download the Global Digital Report 2024 and the Global Digital Report 2023 for free.


Social media continues to dominate the digital landscape, with an increase in both new users and more time per user spent on social media platforms. A significant contributor to this is the rise in popularity of short-form video content. From Instagram Reels to Instagram Stories, almost every platform has its own functionality for users to enjoy quick, easy-to-digest video content.

With the use of social media in South Africa up across the vast majority of demographics, it provides an excellent means for businesses to reach their audience. This is done by partnering valuable content with robust social media analytics tools.

It is crucial to understand the conversations happening on social media about your brand, industry and even competitors. Achieved with a social listening tool like the Meltwater social media monitoring platform, the insights you gain will inform both your business and marketing strategy.

In 2024, the local and global digital landscape is set to see some transformational changes. The Global Digital Report 2024 shows how much social media growth has occurred and how that rise is only continuing, both in South Africa and globally.

Given the ever-changing nature of social media trends, it is essential to have insight into current, credible social media statistics reports. That's why we'll be diving into South African social media statistics:

Table of Contents

Tip: Watch our free webinar to learn more about social media trends in Africa.

General 2024 Social Media Statistics for South Africa

  • 45.34 million people use the internet (74.7%)
  • 26 million people use social media (42.8%)
  • 118.6 million mobile connections are active (195.4% of the population)

It is interesting to note that of the 45.34 million internet users in South Africa, those active on social media comprise some 26 million. This highlights the growth potential still available to social media platforms and supports the expected trend of new users year-on-year.

Cellular mobile connections number 118.6 million, indicating that many South Africans are active on more than one device. Statistically, 195.4% of the South African population are accessing the internet via their mobile phones.

Internet Usage in South Africa

The growth of social media in South Africa is part of a greater rise in the adoption of the internet, with more South Africans establishing an online presence. Average time spent online daily per user in South Africa: 9 hours, 38 minutes

Internet Adoption in South Africa

2024 Social Media Statistics South Africa: Internet adoption
  • Yearly increase in South African internet users: 0.9% (409 000 users)

Globally, there is a 66.2% internet adoption. South Africa sits just ahead of that, with 74.7% of the total population of South African individuals using the internet. Year on year, this is an increase of 0.9% (409,000 users).

Average Internet Use in South Africa

2024 Social Media Statistics South Africa: Daily time spent using the internet

South Africa also has the highest internet usage rates in the world. The average internet user between 16 and 64 spends over 9 hours a day online.

How South Africans Engage with Online Content

It’s worthwhile looking at what those internet behaviours are, and how South Africans are using the internet in 2024:

Main Reasons for Using the Internet in South Africa

2024 Social Media Statistics South Africa: Main reasons for using the internet

Information access is a major factor for users aged 16 - 64 using the internet, tying into 4 of the top 5 reasons listed.

  1. Finding information - 83.6%
  2. Researching how to do things - 79.9%
  3. Staying in touch with friends and family - 72.5%
  4. Finding new ideas or inspiration - 69%
  5. Keeping up to date with news and events - 66.2%

Online Learning Statistics for South Africa

2024 Social Media Statistics South Africa: Online video as a sources of learning

Many South Africans use the internet as a resource for learning, with 60.8% of those users using the internet to watch tutorials, educational content, and how-to-videos every week. This is a marked increase from the average global population, where only 39.9% of internet users watch online learning content.

Use of Online Financial Services in South Africa

2024 Social Media Statistics South Africa: Use of online financial services

On average, South Africans are more likely to do their finances online compared to the global average. 50.2% of internet users in South Africa do at least some of their banking, investment, or insurance activities through a website or an app.

Tip: Learn more about financial services marketing trends in South Africa

Podcast Statistics for South Africa

2024 Social Media Statistics South Africa: Listening to podcasts

South African internet users are among the highest in the world when it comes to podcast listening. Globally, 20.6% of users listen to podcasts regularly (at least once a week). Comparatively, 33.4% of South African internet users listen to podcasts regularly. 

Podcasts have become an excellent way to market in the digital landscape. More brands are creating their own podcasts to enrich, entertain, and educate listeners with quality content. Companies like Duolingo and Sephora have positioned themselves as authorities in the podcasting realm. Creating a branded podcast or taking advantage of the growing digital space with advertisements for podcasts can give marketers the edge in 2024.

Tip: Take a look at the best tech podcasts, the best social media podcasts, the best marketing podcasts, the best finance podcasts, the best eCommerce podcasts, the best SEO podcasts, the best branding podcasts, the best PR podcasts, and the best Shopify podcasts.

Social Media Usage Statistics for South Africa

2024 Social Media Statistics South Africa: Overview of social media use

South Africans are some of the most active social media users in the world. 2023 saw some 200,000 new users join social media, taking the total number of SA social media users to 26 million. The gender split is very balanced (49.8% female, 50.2% male), and the average number of platforms per user sits at just under 8.

2024 Social Media Statistics South Africa: Daily time spent using social media

Globally, an internet user will spend 02:23 hours on social media platforms. On average, a South African user spends 03:41 hours on social media.

We'll look at the following social media statistics for South Africa:

Most Used Social Media Platforms in South Africa

The favourite and most used social media platforms in South Africa are:

2024 Social Media Statistics South Africa: Most used social media platforms
  1. WhatsApp (93.9% of active social media users)
  2. Facebook (88.4%)
  3. TikTok (73.6%)
  4. Instagram (71.8%)
  5. Facebook Messenger (67.4%)
  6. X (Twitter) (55.1%)
  7. LinkedIn (52%)
  8. Pinterest (46.9%)
  9. Telegram (43.9%)
  10. Snapchat (31.2%)

Reasons Why South Africans Use Social Media

South African media users will look to social networks for several reasons. Social media use in South Africa statistically stems from work and family communication to looking for engaging and entertaining content.

2024 Social Media Statistics South Africa: Main reasons for using social media
  1. Keeping in touch with friends and family (65.9%)
  2. Reading news stories (46.4%)
  3. Finding inspiration for things to do and buy (44.6%)
  4. Seeing what's being talked about (42.0%)
  5. Finding content (e.g. articles, videos) (39.3%)
  6. Filling spare time (38.2%)
  7. Work-related networking or research (36.4%)
  8. Watching live streams (35.8%)
  9. Seeing content from your favourite brands (34.8%)
  10. Finding products to purchase (33.9%)
  11. Sharing and discussing opinions with others (33.2%)
  12. Watching or following sports (31.6%)
  13. Finding Like-minded communities and interest groups (30.3%)
  14. Making new contacts (29.9%)
  15. Supporting or connecting with good causes (25.3%%)

Communication and inspiration lead the reasons South African social media users spend time on the platforms. 6.59% of users list talking to friends and family as their main reason, while news stories (46.4%), looking for inspiration (44.6%), and staying current (42%) are also key factors.

Meltwater’s Marketing Tip: As South Africans are on social media for a significant amount of time and use it as a tool for information, it is vital that you keep your finger on the pulse of social trends and conversations happening in your industry. In a landscape where consumer preferences and behaviours are constantly evolving, incorporating social media monitoring tools like the Meltwater social listening suite into your marketing strategy can provide the competitive edge needed to stay ahead of the curve and connect with your audience on a deeper level. It also allows you to correctly position your brand, follow trends, create content and plan effective campaigns.

Social Media Used for Work Activities in South Africa

2024 Social Media Statistics South Africa: Use of social media for work activities

South Africa has some of the highest number of active users who say that they use social media platforms for work-related reasons.

Compared to the global average of 37.9%, 51.9% of South African users say that social media makes up part of their work activity.

This can be related to working directly in the industry, as a social media manager or coordinator, or using networks to find information and conduct research for work.

Meltwater’s Marketing Tip: As a brand, look to offer informative insights into your industry. Educational content communicated in an exciting way can set you apart on social media in South Africa. Offering news in your industry, staying consistently up to date, and sharing industry changes can position your brand as an expert and broaden reach to those looking on social networks for work research.

South Africans Use Social Media to Connect with Brands

2024 Social Media Statistics South Africa: Seeking out brands on social media

South African users are one of the most likely to use social media to learn more about brands and connect with the company and its content.

Globally, 48.9% of users will visit a brand’s social media platform to learn more about it while 64.5% of South African users interact with a brand on social media.

Meltwater’s Marketing Tip: Having an attractive, up-to-date online social media presence is a great way to boost online credibility. Small tricks, such as having a landing page specifically designed as a link in a social media account’s bio can drive traffic directly to your site - more so than a third-party link - and can bolster social media marketing efforts. Providing great social media customer service is essential as well. These social media customer service examples will inspire you.

Use of Social Media for Brand Research in South Africa

2024 Social Media Statistics South Africa: Use of social media for brand research

It’s more likely for a user in the developing world to use social media to research a brand before buying its product. 78% of South African social media users look at a brand’s social media channels before committing to purchasing its product, compared to a global 73.9% average.

As a brand, using social media helps provide credibility and context for the user. South Africans are statistically less likely to trust internet information, with higher-than-average concerns about misinformation online. 74.5% of South African internet users say they are concerned about the legitimacy of online information, higher than the global average of 55.8%.

Meltwater’s Marketing Tip: The purchasing behaviour is important to consider in a brand’s marketing efforts. If users are looking to social media before making a purchase, having a seamless integration from the media app to the online sale is key in conversation. A curated, attractive storefront on social media can lead an interested party to a sale - and if the customer experience is good, they are more likely to become a loyal customer.

Social Media as a Source of News in South Africa

2024 Social Media Statistics South Africa: Social media as a source of news

With South African internet users’ concerns of misinformation, using social media as a source of news is higher in the country than the global average. 

46.5% of active social media users in South Africa will say that reading news stories on various media platforms is the fundamental reason for their use of social media.

Influencer Following in South Africa

2024 Social Media Statistics South Africa: Following influencers on social media

Influencer marketing has boomed in the last few years - so much so that even government agencies have partnered with popular South African influencers to spread awareness about vaccination campaigns, health screenings, and disease prevention measures.

In South Africa, influencers hold credibility and authority. 34.1% of South Africa’s social media users say that they follow influencers and online experts. Practically, this looks like how-to vlogs for information or video reviews for exposure to new brands.

Meltwater’s Marketing Tip: The influencer industry has evolved, and continues to evolve, as an effective way to get the attention of new users. It is important to have an influencer marketing platform like the Meltwater influencer marketing suite to be able to find, vet, activate and influencers for impactful results that amplify your brand. We have compiled lists of the top South African fashion influencers, the top beauty influencers in South Africa, and the top South African fitness influencers.

Key Takeaways of South African Social Media Statistics

The amount of time that South African users spend online and on social media highlights the importance of social media as a marketing tool. Looking at social media statistics in South Africa is a great way to understand how users interact online and with brands.

The purchasing behaviour and South African users’ concerns over misinformation also indicates that users look to vet brands online before spending money. To effectively market your brand, it’s critical to cut through the clutter online and offer authoritative, credible information.


If you want to promote your brand on social media or make use of social listening tools, contact Meltwater South Africa by filling out the form below. We work hand-in-hand with you to develop a plan that begins with strategy and defining objectives, and extends all the way to the metrics used to measure social media campaign success. Meltwater’s marketing suite can help you get better results.

Simply fill out the form below to get in contact with our team: