Voice calls most preferred to texting by Kenyan mobile users

Voice calls are losing their grounds to texting in Kenya due to the growth of instant messaging and social media applications.

The latest research by Deloitte shows mobile phone users are shifting to over the top mobile applications like Whatsapp and Instagram for communication.

Deloitte further says, voice calls grew by 10% from 51% to 61% in the last three years while instant messaging increased from 43% to 74% in the same period.

Commenting on the report, Deloitte East Africa Technology, Media and Telecommunications Leader Charles Luo noted, “Usage of instant messaging applications has almost doubled over the past three years. Opportunities arise for business to use digital tools such as chatbots, to improve on customer experience and acquisition, reduce churn, increase revenue per user and minimize cost to serve primarily in the customer service centres.”

According to the Communications Authority of Kenya, the country’s biggest mobile phone company Safaricom saw a significant drop in voice revenue contribution from 47.1% of their total service revenue in 2015 to 36.6% in 2018.

On the other hand, mobile data revenue rose from 12% to 16.1% of its service revenue for the two years.

Research on Mobile Consumer Survey in Kenya by Deloitte indicates Can’t talk right now and please message me are the most used instant messages in the country.

The survey shows voice communication is losing ground urging businesses to step up their online and AI-driven communication channels to match the preferences of the mobile generations.

On instant messaging apps, WhatsApp remains the most dominant app at 87% with Facebook following closely with 69% usage amongst people between 25 and 34 years and 80% for those between 35 and 45.

However, newcomer Instagram is growing fastest for consumers between the ages of 25 to 35. However, the cost of communication through the social media platform is facing headwind due to the cost of data which is 18 percent more than in Europe.

The increase in mobile payments in Kenya has been facilitated mostly through network operators and the multiple banking applications that allow people to purchase, transfer money and pay for the various services in their day to day lives.

An average of 90% of respondents across all income bands transfers money via their mobile operator application/service. Additionally, businesses in Kenya have invested in mobile payment options such as till numbers and network operator services promoting accessibility and convenience for their customers.

On the other hand, Kenyan users are both concerned and highly unaware of the potential privacy challenges in the digital world. Businesses can look to monetize data further, to the benefit of users, but should strongly focus on building awareness and trust through simple and clear strategies that users can understand and support. The perception of the risks linked with online data sharing and online security unveils increasing attention to the use of personal data. 75% of respondents were concerned about how their personal data is being used.

Smartphone use remains high, but how we use them is changing. We are now in a period where smartphones and smart devices are an integral part of our lives across all age groups, and as we demand entertainment, knowledge and instant connection at an increasing pace, we will continue to explore and embrace this life-enhancing journey.

The rise of the smartphone continues to accelerate, and Kenya now ranks among the leading global adopters, putting pressure on businesses to transform their service delivery to a mobile-first experience.


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