On eCommerce In South Africa And Beyond

Zia Daniell Wigder

I recently had a chance to catch up with another global eCommerce enthusiast: Hendrik Laubscher works for PriceCheck, a price comparison site in South Africa owned by MIH Internet Africa. He and I sat down for a coffee to talk all things developing eCommerce markets. A few things that came out of our conversation:

In South Africa, payments and broadband connectivity remain hurdles to eCommerce adoption. South Africa, the continent’s largest eCommerce market, remains at a relatively early stage, with several inhibitors preventing the market from truly flourishing.  Although credit and debit card usage is growing, overall penetration remains low, even in comparison to other large emerging markets. PayPal offerings have been a challenge, as well — currency issues and restrictions that required users to be registered FNB online banking customers prevented many from taking advantage of this payment method.  Additionally, the country’s low overall Internet penetration — in particular, broadband penetration — also presents hurdles. The CEO of Woolworths in South Africa recently said that faster, cheaper broadband was essential for eCommerce to flourish, but estimated that this scenario remained “about four years off.”

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Not Many Palms In Emerging Markets

Jennifer Belissent, Ph.D.

Michele Pelino’s recent blog, “HP’s Acquisition Of Palm Is Not A Match Made In Heaven,” concludes as the title suggests that the success of the acquisition remains a wait-and-see proposition and it, in fact, may not pay off.  As Michele notes,

Forrester’s survey of over 1,000 IT decision makers in North American and European enterprises, only 12% of firms officially support or manage Palm devices. In comparison, 70% of enterprises support BlackBerry smartphones, and 29% support Apple iPhones. Android devices, the newest entrants in the mobile OS wars, have strong momentum and are officially supported by 13% of firms.

Well, that got me wondering how Palm had fared in emerging markets.  We know that device preferences are different globally.  So, I thought, maybe there are some Palm fans outside of North America and Europe.  I checked Forrester’s Global Technology Adoption data from last summer (new survey expected back from the field very soon) in which we surveyed 1,412 IT executives and technology decision-makers across 15 countries.  Here is what I found out about PalmOS support across enterprises in a few of the countries:

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