Over the last month we ran a small study on Generation Y in South Africa. We interviewed 144 students with an average age of 18 years old. The gender split was 60% female and 40% male. As the size of the sample group is relativley small this can’t be seen as the final word but rather as an indication of what is taking place with Generation Y in South Africa.

Small-Study-on-Generation-Y-in-South-AfricaThe findings were quite interesting and echoed many generalizations about generation Y.

In South Africa, Generation Y uses digital platforms for communication and prefer Facebook and BBM over any other communication tool. Email continues to lose its effectiveness as a communication vehicle with this generation.

Google is starting to lose search market share to Facebook as 50% of Gen Y chooses to use Facebook as a search engine over Google.

Although MXit is popular it’s loyalty is much lower (less than one hour a day) than Facebook (up to five hours per day).

When given the choice Gen Y chose the internet over magazines, their cellphone over the internet and tertiary education over their cell phone. They are also a healthy bunch of individuals choosing healthy food over junk food, restaurants over fast food and bottled water over fizzy drinks.

Here is a list of some of our findings

Use of the internet

  • 85% have an email address, but only half check it more than once a month
  • 99% use the internet – most about 2 hours a day
  • They do not regard facebook as the internet
  • 73% access the internet on their phone (even though over 90% have the internet at home)
  • 11% watch webinars / webisodes (online seminars / online episodes)
  • 91% use facebook; 30% use twitter
  • 69% have a Mxit account – but most only check it for less than an hour a day
  • 60% watch YouTube (funnies & music videos firstly and also instructional videos
  • 50% use Google as a Search Engine – 50% use facebook

Use of Non-Digital Media

  • 91% listen to the radio (during drive time) and all of those claim to listen to 5fm, but then also mention other stations – no loyalty
  • 64% read books
  • 42% read the newspaper
  • 73% read magazines (Female – fashion & gossip (Heat Magazine and You Magazine), Male – sports and Men’s Health)
  • 85% go to the cinema – primarily the evening show
  • 64% watching DSTV (in the evening)

Facebook and Social Media

  • They do not regard facebook as the internet
  • 60% spend more than 5hrs a day on facebook
  • 84% use facebook to send messages rather than email
  • Prefer facebook over twitter
  • 50% use facebook as a search engine (other 50% use Google)
  • Watch on YouTube – Funny & Music Videos and then How To /Instructional videos
  • Very few read blogs, 2 write their own
  • 69% have a Mxit account – but most either don’t use it, or only check it for less than an hour a day
  • Other social networks used – BBM & Skype


  • Internet over magazines
  • Healthy food over junk food
  • Tertiary education over getting a job
  • Own music over radio
  • Medical aid over funeral policy
  • Bottled water over fizzy drinks
  • Restaurant over fast food
  • Facebook over Mxit
  • Cellphone over internet (100%)
  • Tertiary education over cellphone
  • Social media over emails (98%)