Web-savvy suburbs: who scores the highest?

A new survey shows which suburbs are the most net-connected in South Africa, and while there was expected results there was some surprises as well.

Residents of Ruimsig in the West Rand are the country’s leaders in regards to logging on to the internet, with 72% saying they go online at least once a week.

Second in line is central Pretoria where 69% of the residents head for the web at least once a week, third nationally is Fourways where 68% log in once a week.

The figures - distilled from analysis of the Roots 2013 countrywide survey by the Newspaper Advertising Bureau - show, as expected, that the country's richest province, Gauteng, is tops when it comes to digital activity.

White River in Mpumalanga appears to be a countryside hot spot, with 63% of residents using the Web at least once a week.

This compares closely with the top users of the internet in the Western Cape, the residents of the Durbanville area, 64% of whom have a minimum once a week access. Durbanville is followed, in usage terms, by the West Coast/Milnerton/Parklands area at 58%, tied with Constantia, also at 58%.

The KwaZulu-Natal province lags the other two, with its top Web using areas showing that less than half of residents access the internet at least once a week. Top areas are North Coast/Ballito (49%) and Umhlanga/Durban North (49%); followed by Berea (44%).

In overall terms, the national picture is similar with Gauteng leading the way with 37% of people accessing the Net at least once a week; followed by the Western Cape (32%), KZN (30%) and Northern Cape (11%).

The study, commissioned by the NAB and conducted by TNS research surveys, produced results applicable to just under four million residents of urban areas who were living in formal, brick and mortar structures.

John Bowles, joint managing director at NAB, said the survey questions were directed at Purchase Decision Makers (PDMs) across 115 suburbs across the country.

'Desktops, tablets, laptops, notebooks, cellphones/smartphones and even TVs are the obvious tools to link on to the web. But the split between desktop/notebook/laptop versus cellphone/smartphone is a close race: 67% of users use the former and 65% access the web through their phones on a weekly basis. Almost half of these users use a combination of the two platforms to access the web.'

Bowles said the crossover for access to the web from desktop to laptop/notebook 'has already happened'.

'The fixed unit is likely to join VHS and Betamax in the tech graveyard in the coming years.'

But by area the choice of device when accessing the web is very interesting, with some areas preferring to access the web via their PCs - Walmer in PE tops the list at 81%. Rosebank in Joburg PDMs prefer the laptop/notebook option for their web access (75%) more than from their smart phones or desktops.

In terms of cellphone/smartphones, 92% of internet users in Sedibeng in the Vaal use their phones to do so - making it proportionately the highest web access by cellphone area in urban South Africa.

E-mail and knowledge/education is accessed more via desktop/notebook than the smartphone where social networking is more relevant to the phone user. Respondents accessing the net on a weekly basis felt split on what their most important activity was with social networking (35.3%) just pipping e-mail (35.2%) followed by knowledge and education activities (14.7%).

In terms of e-commerce, 12.5% of users that access the web shop online weekly (for music, travel, groceries or financial products etc.)

(Pretoria News)

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