Independent mobile ad network InMobi released its findings for the state of the mobile universe in 2011 in the Mobile Market 2011 Review report, and it makes for a jaw-dropping read. If you had any doubt that mobile technology was on the up-swing and that the only screen that mattered in an African context was the mobile one, then abandon all your doubts right now.
Currently, there are over 4 billion mobile phones worldwide. That's half the population of the entire planet, and it's double the number of television sets and ten times the amount of newspapers printed globally.
InMobi's research is wide-ranging and extensive. The company says "the data was sourced from over 200 billion impressions in Q4 2011 and was compared with Q4 2010, with over 140 countries included in the survey.
Some of the highlights of the report were:
- A staggering growth in tablet advertising impressions of 771%, led by Apple's ground-breaking iPad
- Global smartphone impressions up by 488%
- Android was the top operating system on the network during the fourth quarter, with 21% of impressions
- iOS carried a 17% share of the market. However, these statistics were up-ended in North America where Apple squeezed ahead to 33.1%, thanks to the release of the iPad2 and the iPhone 4S
Turning its attention to Africa, InMobi delivered some extremely upbeat numbers. The company reaches 46-million Africans on a monthly basis, and it delivered a whopping 2.6-billion ad impressions during 2011.
InMobi predicts that Android is likely to dominate amongst operating systems in Africa over the coming years. It's a bold assertion, given that the operating system only commanded 0.1% of the market in July 2010, according to their statistics, and it remains unsubstantiated in the report.
When they look at individual countries in Africa, the report gives a glowing report on Kenya. The report claims that "Kenya may be the best example of mobile technology application in the world today. It's a combination of 3G technology, high mobile penetration with low fixed PC and offline media, and a robust consumer adoption pattern as exemplified by mobile payments penetration. With a sizeable population of 40-million, this is a key market in Africa and the world."
South Africa is important to InMobi, but didn't fare quite as well as Kenya. "South Africa shares some of Kenya's traits, but is not quite as robust given the incumbent status of offline media and more costly data plans. Still the market size, relative wealth of consumers, and more 3G mobile web subscribers than fixed web make this a global vibrant market."
African consumers come across as being very comfortable with mobile advertising. 446% of the Africans surveyed said that they were "very comfortable" with mobile advertising and it "serves an important purpose". This is 8% higher than in the USA. Only 9% of people believe that it's intrusive, which is 3% lower than in the US.
With the fixed line web, women are more accepting than men of advertising but on mobile, it seems that men are far more appreciative of ads. Men in Africa, and particularly men under the age of 25, have the highest level of acceptance in the world. This reflects the fact that the mobile screen is the dominant one in Africa and the portal through which so many Africans make contact with the world.Download the Mobile Market 2011 Review report