New study shows more Kenyans have internet access

According to a recent study 67 per cent of the population in Kenya is classified as Internet users. FILE PHOTO | AFP

Kenya is leading Africa in internet penetration with over 30 million having access to the internet, according to a report.

The report by Jumia Business Intelligence and GSMA Mobile titled 'White Paper 2017: Trends from the Kenyan Smartphone and E-Commerce Industry', shows that 67 per cent of the population in Kenya is classified as internet users.

This in absolute numbers translates to 31.99 million Internet users going by the current projected Kenyan population of about 48.31 million people. This means that two in every three Kenyans have access to the internet.

This is way better than the average African internet penetration where only 18 per cent of the total African population defined as internet users.

In what Sam Chappatte, Jumia Kenya Country Manager, calls ‘the democratization of smartphones’ this trend has been largely driven by a reduction in average price of smartphones with the price of a smartphone having more than halved from Sh23, 100 (231 dollars) in 2013 to Sh9, 700 (97 dollars) in 2016 with the lowest price smartphone currently being sold on Jumia X-Tigi P3, a 4 inch phone, at Sh2, 799.

“The competitive landscape in the smartphone industry has shifted over the last five years as Chinese brands dominate and drive the democratization of smartphones. This is accelerated by Chinese brands Infinix, Tecno and InnJoo entering into the market with high spec phones and decreasing price points,” said Mr Chappatte while addressing the media on Wednesday during the launch of the study at Sarova Stanley in Nairobi.

He added that there remains a significant opportunity to take the democratisation of smartphones upcountry as smartphone sales are heavily concentrated in urban areas with 65 per cent of Jumia’s smartphone sales concentrated in Nairobi.

Mr Chappatte, however, expects the price of the smartphone not to decrease significantly over the next two years but brands will look to develop their market share by investing in new technology and more sophisticated features such as the fingerprint scanner, iris scanner, virtual reality, better camera resolution among other features.

The study also revealed that mobile subscription penetration in the country is at 82 per cent being significantly by a continuing favourable landscape of the smartphone industry brought on by increased competition in the market, rising middle-class, increase in purchasing power and reduction in average price of smartphones.

Mr Chappatte said that there was a continued upward trend in smartphone sales from 2014 to 2016 with over 200, 000 units sold in 2016 in Jumia alone with the outlook for 2017 predicting an  increase in smartphone penetration especially in up-country as more Kenyans become aware of the benefits of connectivity.

“Whilst Internet speed and costs progressively improve, e-commerce companies that continue to develop proprietary technology which meets the specific needs of Kenyan customers will be best placed to win,” he said.