It is often said that opportunity for mobile growth in Africa is like a land grab. All you need is a mobile service that makes it easier for people to communicate, and potential for aggressive expansion is endless.
Over the last few years, Mxit has enjoyed unparalleled success in South Africa as the leading IM provider on mobile phones. Meanwhile its biggest competitor 2Go has been getting significant traction across west Africa, particularly in Nigeria where it has its largest user base. It’s only until quite recently that Whatsapp entered the African market, despite it’s privacy issues, it was able to disrupt the status quo, and immediately grab a very large chunk of users.
In such a rapid growing industry, where the number of users is a direct reflection of innovative products or services, users are unforgiving for not staying innovative. People will seek better services elsewhere. That being said, I was interested in getting a sense of the state of the consumer web search interest between the three leading mobile chat providers (2Go, Mxit and Whatsapp).
So, how do they stack up against one another. Google trends is a brilliant tool that allows to perform such an analysis.
The results paint a very interesting picture.
The above graph is a result of Web Search interest between Mxit, 2go and Whatsapp in South Africa for the past 12 months. What is interesting to note is that Whatsapp only eclipsed Mxit around August last year (2012). There also seem to be an inverse relationship between Mxit and Whatsapp interms of the search interest.
The following is for Nigeria.
and finally, i did the same for Kenya.
It’s true that users in Africa are hungry for innovative mobile services. there seem to be something about new mobile technology market entrants that captures the imagination of thousands. The only problem is sustaining the feel good factor by staying innovative. In Whatsapp’s case, it’s obvious that the trend is that it will continue its growth around the Africa over the next few years.