The Internet economy contributes up to 2% of South Africa’s Gross Domestic Product. This is almost on par as such sectors as Agriculture (2.1%) & Utilities (2.6%)
The Internet economy comprises access to and use of the Internet, investment in infrastructure and expenditure in Internet activity. These include Internet infrastructure, money spent on online retail and online advertising, and business and Government engagement with the Internet.
Online air tickets have been on the steady rise for the past decade. Their sales have come close to the R9-billion mark, growing by 24% in 2011, suggesting that this figure will pass the R10-billion level in 2012, as more and more airlines enter the online sales market.
Almost two-thirds of SMEs in South Africa have a website - this is an impressive figure for a developing country such as South Africa. The impact of an online presence for SMEs is clear: as many as 79% of those SMEs with a website report that they are profitable, with 30% of these stating they are strongly profitable. Of those without a website, only 59 percent report profitability and just 14 percent of these, claim to be strongly profitable.
The Digital Participation Curve is a model developed by World Wide Worx. It carries five year forecasts for engagement in commercial aspects of the Internet, and is used in the study as a formula for estimating the growth of the Internet economy five years ahead. According to the model’s ‘Experience Curve’, it takes at least five years for the average individual’s Internet usage to develop from a physical Internet connection to online self-actualisation. This self-actualisation takes the form of active online ‘participation’, which ranges from engaging in e-commerce, to launching businesses online, to creating personal websites or elaborate blogs. Based on this projection, the model argues that 2013 will be an inflection point in the Curve, with more than 4.5 million users now actively participating in e-commerce.