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Kenya's Digital Life: TNS Report

Kenya's Digital Life: TNS Report

Close to three weeks ago, a friend shared with me a link to what was touted as the largest ever digital research project. I was pretty excited because I expected it to more or less put figures to what is basically the selling point of my business as a digital strategist. I proceeded to download the various reports I found on the site. The reports were very interesting to say the least but a tad too short for my taste though. Then today in the morning, I receive a press release of the same report which I have highlighted below. I had read the report and so was not keen on reading about it again three weeks down the line. But I read it anyway and I am happy I did. Whereas the reports on the site had general data in terms or regions, this press release had the figures broken down by countries and it was interesting to note where Kenya stands in this digital landscape.

This is the press release but note at the bottom where they state that they will be launching the local report in conjunction with Kenya ICT Board. Now that is something I wouldn’t miss for the world. A better understanding of Kenya’ digital landscape and lifestyles is where the money is. And given the preview given by the release below, I bet there is a lot more in store as we await the official launch.

Largest ever digital research project reveals major changes in online behaviour around the world. East Africa is no exception

  • Mature markets being left behind online as Kenya and other emerging markets become more active
  • Increase in mobile use as consumers seek greater access to social networking on the go
  • Online is now the media of choice

The largest ever global research project into people’s online activities and behaviour – Digital Life – has been launched in London by TNS, the world’s biggest custom research company.  Covering 88% of the world’s online population through 50,000 interviews with consumers in 46 countries, the study reveals a number of very significant findings as well as providing indicators for the future of the world’s online behaviour.

The core data from the study is being made publicly available via an interactive website – www.discoverdigitallife.com

“We believe that our research data, which we intend to do on an annual basis, will become the new benchmark for information on online consumer behaviour,” says Melissa Baker, TNS Research International CEO East Africa, adding that “Providing some of the data to the world was an important first step for us and obviously we have a wealth of further information behind those basic statistics.”

Among the key findings of the study were:

  • Globally, people who have online access have digital sources as their number one media channel.  61% of online users use the internet daily against 54% for TV, 36% for Radio and 32% for Newspapers.
  • Online consumers in rapid growth markets have overtaken mature markets in terms of engaging with digital activities.  When looking at behaviour online, rapid growth markets such as Egypt (56%), China (54%) and Kenya (51%) have much higher levels of digital engagement than mature markets such as Japan (20%), Denmark (25%) or Finland (26%).  This is despite mature markets usually having a more advanced internet infrastructure.
  • Activities such as blogging and social networking are gaining momentum at huge speed in rapid growth markets. The research shows four out of five online users in China (88%) and over half of those in Kenya (55%), Brazil (51%) and Tanzania (50%) have written their own blog or forum entry, compared to only 32% in the US.  The Internet has also become the default option for photo sharing among online users in rapid growth markets, particularly in Asia and Sub Saharan Africa. The number of online consumers who have ever uploaded photos to social networks or photo sharing sites is 92% in Thailand, 88% in Malaysia, 87% in Vietnam, 74% in Kenya and 72% in Tanzania whilst developed markets are more conservative.
  • Growth in social networking has been fuelled by the transition from PC to mobile.  Mobile users spend on average 3.1 hours per week on social networking sites compared to just 2.2 hours on email. The drive to mobile is driven by the increased need for instant gratification and the ability of social networks to offer multiple messaging formats, including the instant message or update function. When looking at how the digital landscape will change in the future, research shows that consumers expect their use of social networking on mobiles to increase more than use through PC.  In Kenya, for example, 78% of online consumers expect their use of social networking on a PC to increase in the next 12 months compared to 84% who will be looking to their mobile to increase usage. In Uganda the figures are 66% and 74% respectively and in Tanzania 71% and 69%.

Goodbye email, hello social networking

One further finding of the study showed that online consumers are, on average, spending more time on social networking sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn than on email, despite the former only becoming mainstream in many markets over the last few years. The heaviest users of social networking are in Malaysia (9 hours per week), Russia (8.1 hours per week) and Turkey (7.7 hours per week). Kenya (6.5 hours per week) is closely behind the heaviest users while Uganda (1.5 hours per week) and Tanzania (1.6 hours per week) are currently amongst the lowest users.

In Kenya we are launching the local report sponsored by the Kenya ICT Board on 25th November, 2010. Details will be availed.

  • Marvin Tumbo,
  • November 2, 2010
  • Pingback: Tweets that mention Kenya’s Digital Life: TNS Report — Socialight Media Kenya -- Topsy.com()

  • mmk

    I recall taking part in this survey. It was too detailed, too many variables, too many pages and took too long to complete. I gave up after 2 tries

    • Marvin Tumbo


      I am glad it was that detailed because that is exactly what we need. I know it can be quite cumbersome but if that’s what it takes, I am in. I am looking forward to their release on the 25th. Its bound to be very interesting…

  • I did not complete filling the form, or maybe I did but I vaguely remember. Will wait to see.

  • Brian Lake

    Is there any other reports or statistical data available about Internet/Computer usage in Kenya besides the Q3 09-10 Quarterly Sector Report on the CCK website? I found some data on a company called Consumer Insight’s website, but find it a little outdated and I don’t think the sampling they conducted is very accurate or representative of the country as a whole. I’m doing some research and have been combing the Internet looking for such data and have found very little. Any help or thoughts would be greatly appreciated! I really like your site as well!

    • Marvin Tumbo

      Hi Brian,

      The problem with Kenya today is that there is no comprehensive research data on Internet usage. Most are too general and as you say don’t seem representative. The problem with commissioning such a research is that it is too expensive for us to do.

      The good news is that the research that will be released by TNS Research International and which was commissioned by Kenya ICT Board will have most of what you need. The best I can do is send you the research report as soon as I get it. But as for previous reports, none is worth your time if it is at all there.

  • Thanks for bringing these insights to the attention of the masses. I also participated in the survey and indeed it was detailed and lengthy – i completed nevertheless. Please share the report if you get a copy.

    • Marvin Tumbo

      You are welcome. I will share the details as soon as I get it.

  • Very interesting pre-report right there…can’t wait for 25th 😀