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We at thirtyfour recently undertook a delve into what online South African women between the ages of 25 and 40, think.

In a benchmark online-survey conducted over a five day period, which reached 50 000 women via email (all permission based subscribers) we have been able to convincingly demonstrate that online marketing as a medium should unquestionably be a primary part of the marketing mix for South African marketers to target consumers.

The in-depth survey consisting of eighty questions, addressed the demographics, online activities, social activities and lifestyles of these women.

“We were completely overwhelmed by the response and indeed the level of personal information and insights that these women freely parted with. The personal nature of the web is clearly demonstrated in the eagerness of this market to share their inner-most desires, as well as their lifestyle challenges”, says Andrea Mitchell, Head of Digital at thirtyfour.

The survey reveals that female online users in South Africa between the ages of 25 and 40 are predominately:

Employed in either administrative, managerial or professional roles
Live in Gauteng, Western Cape and Kwazulu-Natal
50.8% are married, 29% in committed relationships, 20.6% are single and 7.7% divorced.
The majority do not have children. Of those that do, they have 1 or 2 children under the age of 5, followed by age 6 to 8
The results also revealed that this market would welcome online information and newsletters on how to parent a child in the communications era.

64% socialise with friends less than once a week, but more than once a month with 29% going out three times a week. The majority of those surveyed indicated that due to the hectic role of juggling home and work life, they now “socialise” online using e-mail, blogs or other viral means to catch up and stay in touch with friends and family.

85.1% are health conscious, but only 41.9% attend a gym
79.1% indicated they enjoy alcohol on a regular basis.
The interesting trend towards women drinking out of bottles is sparked by the current safety consciousness of drug date rape drugs poured into easily accessible glasses.

61.5% sited they were trendy, but unique – sparking the thought that although we live in a global world, strong individualism exists, which needs to be noted by marketers often seeking to impose a one size fits all philosophy on consumers.

“Gone are the days when companies owned brands, we have a complete role reversal with consumers now owning and directing the brands themselves. It’s time to accept this as fact and help marketers to truly connect with their brand’s consumers and shoppers alike”, says Morne Fourie, Head of Offline Activation at thirtyfour, himself a retail marketing specialist, “this has given us much insight into how women want to be communicated with and how we should tailor our communications to suit”.

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Nielsen//NetRatings has released a survey indicating a strong correlation between wealth and sport in SA’s online market for users earning a household income in excess of R400k per annum.

Alex Burmaster, Nielsen/NetRatings Internet analyst, says: “Few other domestic online markets exhibit such a correlation between wealth and sport as the South African market does. While financial and business sites are common internationally among those attracting the wealthiest households, sport doesn’t feature to nearly the degree it does in SA.” He stated that in the UK, for example, not one of the 20 most popular sites with highest-income households has anything to do with sport, while SA has 12 in the top 20.

Arthur Goldstuck, MD of South African Internet market research company World Wide Worx indicates however that whilst it may seem sport dominates wealthy online user usage, the titles are rather leisure related than sport. Reviewing the list of titles, we are inclined to agree.

Online brands with the greatest affinity of R400 000+ income households

Moneyweb tops the chart of access by SA’s online users whose household income exceeds R400k per annum, claiming 39% of this market. Runners World comes in tie second with Golf Digest at 35%. It must be kept in mind however, that this is only representative of OPA member sites and not the entire SA online population.

Although SA’s web access has historically been dominated by the wealthy, this trends is shifting as access becomes more affordable. 77% of online users have a household income of less than R400k per annum, clearly reinforcing that the web is steadily becoming more accessible to the masses.

Compositon of the South African Internet population by household income


thirtyfour is a brand activation agency where creativity counts - not just for creativity’s sake, but strategic, channel-neutral solutions that creates demand in the minds of consumers and ultimately deliver genuine results. It promises liberated thinking in retail, experiential, direct, digital and sports marketing to get out of the rut of traditional advertising campaigns.
May 2007
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