iPad dominates African business trends

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Two years after the launch of the iPad, the tablet has a considerable footprint among business professionals - especially in Africa.

According to the results of the IDG's latest “iPad for Business Survey”, African professionals are almost twice as likely as the global average to be supplied with an iPad by their employer.

Forty-seven percent of African respondents said they own a corporate-issue iPad. This is compared to the global average of 24%.

E-editor of IDG Connect Kathryn Cave says: “This must in part be due to vast emphasis on mobile technology across the continent, but I also wonder if it provides more evidence of the rapid consumerisation of society and meteoric rise of an elite middle class.”

Of those African professionals who own iPads, 83% said they always use their iPad at work (compared to the global average of 51%).

Cave speculates that this could be a reflection of wireless connectivity issues. “This theory is slightly supported by the fact that only 43% of Africans claimed to always use the iPad at home, a statistic that falls 11% lower than the global average, and the second lowest in the world (after Asia).”

While IDG Connect has not specified the exact size and demographics of its research sample, the survey is based on interviews with IT and business professionals across every continent.

Getting serious

Africans also were ahead of the global average when it came to using an iPad for work communications at 70% and Web browsing at 93%.

IDG Connect says that at 13%, the proportion of Africans who say they use their iPad for “entertainment” is the lowest in the world.

“African professionals use the iPad's WiFi connectivity to an extent that's similar to elsewhere. However, African respondents connect to the Internet using mobile networks far more frequently. Given the role that mobile connectivity plays on the continent, this shouldn't come as a surprise.”

Cave notes that the research shows an “incredible” brand loyalty to Apple, with only 17% of those surveyed (19% in Africa) saying they would consider purchasing a non-Apple tablet.

Globally, 83% of respondents said they would not consider buying any tablet other than an iPad.

According to the survey, 75% of African respondents said they preferred the iPad because of its functionality.

Seismic shifts

Other notable statistics from the survey include: 97% of professionals use the iPad for reading, 72% of iPad owners carry their laptop less, and 66% say their iPad has partially or completely replaced their laptop.

IDG Connect says the picture that emerges from this survey involves IT and business professionals using their iPads as “dual-purpose work/leisure devices”, with a relatively strong emphasis on work functionality, and an extremely heavy emphasis on “on the move” usage.

“Like consumers, IT and business decision-makers are finding that the iPads can be viable replacements for laptops. Over 10% say their iPad has 'completely replaced' a laptop. Over half say it has 'partly replaced' their laptop,” says IDG Connect.

Cave says the survey shows the iPad has become a true work device. “It has heralded seismic shifts in the way its users access and digest information. And it has shown that the African continent has its own unique business landscape.”

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