South African mobile social network startup 2go has achieved over two million monthly active users on its Android app a year since its launch, with the company saying the milestone highlights the thriving smartphone market across Africa.
The 2go Android app was released in mid-2013 as the company’s first foray into the smartphone app market; 2go originally intended for the feature phone market.
2go said the increasing prevalence of low-cost Android-based smartphones prompted the decision to branch out to the smartphone market, saying that hitting the two million monthly users milestone within a year of launch proves the market is increasingly smartphone oriented.
“Though nowhere near an iPhone in terms of capacity, these low-end smartphones – sometimes retailing for less than US$50 – have radically changed the marketplace. This is why when we decided to launch a 2go smartphone app we decided to develop for Android,” said Peter Lockhart, head of product at 2go.
“With no marketing effort behind it, the massive success of our Android app shows just how popular smartphones are in the African marketplace. Too often the common thought is that smartphones are only relevant for high-end consumers in Africa,” Lockhart said.
According to Lockhart, the app’s success can be attributed to the fact it was developed specifically for emerging markets, bearing in mind the challenges faced by mobile data consumers across Africa.
“Our understanding of the market – price sensitive users, expensive mobile data, low bandwidth networks and a fragmented Android base – means that 2go is purpose-built for emerging markets. Our technology and ability to build technology that addresses these realities has been key to 2go for Android’s success,” Lockhart said.
“We therefore innovate constantly to ensure that 2go uses mobile data sparingly, is light and responsive, and delivers features expected of high-end social networking apps. Our latest version adds voice notes that enable users to send very compressed audio clips to one another – an important feature for users wanting to reduce expensive voice calls.”
The majority of 2go’s 10 million monthly active users remain feature phone based, however the company said going forward smartphones – and in particular low-cost Android devices – will become a key part of its strategy.