October 14, 2010


Our recent release of the Mobile Ad Index for Q3 2010 received a lot of interest. In particular, attention focused on Kenya which has seen 6 months of triple digit growth ; probably a direct result of the price war between Zain and Safaricom.

So we thought we’d share a bit more about the Kenyan mobile user and what they usually get up to …..

Who is the Kenyan mobile surfer?

Teenagers (15-20 years old) form a large portion (32%) of the Kenyan mobile surfers, but…

The workforce makes up the majority (67%); the single largest age group is between 20-25 years old and make up 43% of respondents.

Not surprisingly, the student population is high (39%) but among those who work 20% are self employed, running their own businesses or as freelancers. Another group of 16 % works as service personnel or perhaps as administrative / sales assistants.

Of those who work 44% have Middle Level College education and 27% have secondary education. Twenty one percent have University or Postgraduate Degrees.

The largest single group earns less than USD 40 per month, not surprising perhaps, considering that one-third of survey respondents are students.  The second biggest income bracket, though, is the largest in this survey:  more than USD 90 per month.

Earnings  USD
3000 Shilling below
USD 38.81
39.09 %
3001 - 4000 Shilling
USD 51.75
14.81 %
4001 - 5500 Shilling
USD 71.15
  8.64 %
5501 - 7000 Shilling
USD 90.56
10.29 %
Above 7000 Shilling
USD 90.57
27.16 %

Of those who surf the internet on their mobiles, 29% are female and 71% are male.

Where are they?

Most surfers are in Nairobi Province (35%) while there is a fairly even spread in the Coast Province (19%), Rift Valley (16%) and the Central Province (12%). The rest of Kenya (18%) makes up the base for mobile surfing.

Kenyan Mobile Surfer: Location

The majority gain access to the internet via Safaricom (94%) while the remainder surfs with Celtel (5%) and Telkom (1%).

Kenyan Mobile Carriers

By the end of September, the top three handsets used for surfing are Nokia (52%), Motorola (5%) and Samsung (13%). Click here to view key features of their handsets.

What do they surf for?

Kenyans are heavy users of the mobile internet!

Ninety-four percent (94%) access the mobile internet at least once a day and almost half (45%) go online more than 5 times a day. One-third spend at least one hour online each session.

More than 75% of Kenyans use the mobile internet to communicate with friends (via chat, moblogs, discussion forums, etc.).

Others (11%) surf the mobile internet for entertainment (to play games, listen to music and watch videos); six percent surf for information.

While as many as 36% do not download games often, at least 34% do so once a week and another 14% download games once a fortnight. Kenyans are persistent gamers – 46% play almost daily and another 40% play whenever they get the chance.

The typical user from Kenya enjoys  outdoor sports (40%), new technology (20%) and family activities (17%).

Most users (82%) have made purchases via their phones;
  1. 36% make daily purchases,
  2. 30% make weekly purchases and
  3. 16% make monthly purchases.

Among their latest purchases are prepaid airtime (39%), mobile content (19%) and bill payments (10%). Most of these purchases (57%) were charged to their phone accounts while 27% of users elected to pay at the venue.

Consumer products that are high on Kenyans' wish lists (& are likely to buy in the next 12 months) are DVD players and home entertainment systems (30%), computer-related peripherals (25%) and smartphones (16%).

Kenyans also want to buy a broad range of consumer products and utilities with their mobiles. They also want to buy books, music and movies (48%), make travel bookings (21%) and buy gifts (12%).

As in many other markets, users are not on the move when they surf, users mainly surf while they are at home (76%) or at work (11%).

While users surf throughout the day, surfing activity peaks in the early (26%) and late (41%) evenings. Surfing activity is low but evenly spread out earlier in the day but starts to rise in the mid-afternoon (14%).