With companies scrambling to push out their content onto social media platforms where Africans are increasingly active, many would be a bit mortified to learn that just 19%, or only one in five, of mobile phone owners access social networking sites through their devices.

Instead the vast majority (80%) use their mobile phones to send text messages, a new  study by the Pew Research Centre shows.

This rose to 95% of South Africans, and 92% of Tanzanians, the face-to-face survey done in seven key African countries showed. Taking pictures and videos was the next most popular activity, with a median of 53% saying they had done this over the past year, with this most popular in South Africa and Nigeria.

While mobile money has been identified as the next frontier, just a median of 30% of sub-Sahara Africans are using their cell phones to make payments, at just 15% of Nigerians, South Africans and Ghanaians.

But this number rose to 61% of Kenyans, 42% of Ugandans and 39% of Tanzanians, pushed by the prominence of payment services such as M-Pesa and MTN Mobile Money in the East African region.

Texting, Taking Pictures and Videos Most Common Use of Cell Phones in Africa

Despite an existing unemployment problem, only 14% of Africans use their mobile phone to look or apply for a job, or get consumer information such as on prices and product availability.

One reason for this is that accessing the internet—and subsequently some of these services— requires a smartphone. And while the ownership of mobile phones has grown exponentially—83% of Ghanaians own one today compared to just 8% in 2002— feature phones still form the majority.

Some 89% of South African adults, and a similar number of Nigerians, own a cell phone, the same number as those in the United States.

But just three in 10 of those in the two African countries are smartphones, with close to six in every 10 being feature phones. In the US, some 64% of adults own a smartphone, while an average of 17% of Africans do not own a cell phone, though many admitted to sharing with those who do.

Few Own Smartphones in Africa, But Cell Phones Common

You can download the full from report here

Credit: Pew Research Center, Mail & Guardian Africa