Global telecommunications company, Ericcson has recently released a report on mobile commerce (m-commerce) in Sub Saharan Africa. Authored by its ConsumerLab division, the company highlights current trends in African m-commerce focusing on three countries in sub-Saharan Africa namely Ghana, South Africa and Tanzania.
Women were especially highlighted as the Chief Financial Officer in most families, taking charge of savings and long term financial planning. “If we are out of money and we have to buy something, my wife will usually solves it somehow. I don’t know how she does it, women always have their ways,” a 45 year old Tanzanian man said.
According to the study, “while men often claimed primary financial responsibility in interviews, and expected to be asked for money, women are making sure that the money lasts. This tendency is more pronounced with those most financially strained.”
The report continues: “The money may be from a business or from personal savings, but regardless women simply save what they can in case of unexpected expenses or shortages. For example in Tanzania, women’s hidden savings forms a sort of well-known secret, a field where men do not ask, and women do not tell. it is best for everybody if women are allowed to set some money aside, for tough times.”
Other key insights highlighted in the survey include that:
- Traditional advertising alone won’t work for m-commerce; education helps users trust and adopt new services
- Lack of trust remains a major factor affecting m-commerce adoption
Among the major uses of m-commerce are air time payment and money transfer. Interestingly, some users viewed m-commerce as a means of saving money by setting m-money aside in their accounts.
Anders Erlandsson, Senior Advisor, Ericsson ConsumerLab highlighted the impact of lack of trust on adoption. “Face-to-face introductions, when an agent meets consumer, are crucial,” says Erlandsson. “Just as personal access to a bank leads to higher acceptance of more abstract bank services, trust in mobile services also grows with personal experiences, rather than merely through advertising.”
The report is available on the Ericcson Consumer Labs website here.
For more African consumer reports, check out this report by Euromonitor International on CP-Africa: Female Consumers in Sub-Saharan Africa: Spotlighting Buying Habits and Lifestyle Trends