Africans Are Using Fintech Apps More Than Ever To Fight Economic Problems

By  |  January 19, 2023

There has been a significant increase in finance app installs across the African continent over the past year, data from a new report by AppsFlyer and Google shows, as people turn to apps and technology as a way of managing finances, navigating economic uncertainty, and moving towards financial freedom.

AppsFlyer, a SaaS mobile marketing analytics and attribution platform, in conjunction with global tech giant Google, looked at how mobile apps are transforming finance in Africa. The report analysed more than 140 million installs, across 3,000 finance apps, and found that installs across the continent grew 25 percent. 

Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa were the main contributors to this rise in finance app installs, with the former largely bolstering this by a massive 200 percent; followed by Nigeria, which saw an increase of 33 percent. Kenya’s growth was recorded at 5 percent, while South Africa witnessed a decline of 11 percent.

Financial Google search increase in Africa

Google search trends between May 2021 and May 2022 showed that lending and currency conversions dominated in terms of interest related to finance – an indication of exactly how uncertain the economic situation has become for most people on the continent, particularly post-pandemic. 

Key countries contributing to this increase include South Africa, which led the way in “grant status” and “loan application searches”, recording 700 percent and 51 percent increases in search intent respectively. They also led the way in “payment date” searches, with a 700 percent increase in search intent. There was also a large increase in South Africans searching for “currency conversions”, with a 74 percent increase in search intent for “euros to rands conversion rates”. 

Nigeria topped the list in terms of “loan app” searches, with an increase in search intent of 68 percent in the country. In Kenya, the majority of people searched for “currency conversion”, with a 52 percent increase in search intent for “USD to KSH” searches. 

How Marketers are responding

According to the report, app install ad spend for finance represented approximately 87 percent of total spend across the continent between January 2021 and September 2022, confirming exactly how dominant the finance industry is. This figure represents the amount of money invested in advertising campaigns aimed at driving users to app stores to download an app. Indeed, there was a 45 percent increase in finance app install ad spend across Africa on Android devices between the first half of 2021 and the first half of 2022. Marketers have been forced to up their budgets in order to run marketing campaigns to acquire new customers, as well as re-engage dormant users. As a result of this, installs from remarketing campaigns tailored to re-engage customers surged 55 percent between H1 2021 and H1 2022. 

Commenting on findings gathered from the report, Otávio Tranchesi, Industry Lead Finance, AppsFlyer stated, “Once again we are thrilled to collaborate with Google, exploring one of the most exciting industries across the continent. The tech sector in Africa has experienced tremendous growth over the last few years, but one industry that stands out is the financial sector – and with smartphone penetration increasing, mobile is crucial for success. We’re proud to be working alongside so many companies spearheading this growth.”

The report highlights a booming African mobile app market propelled by a growing fintech space, a rise in ‘super apps’, and the COVID-19 pandemic, amongst other factors. 

Having analysed over 6,000 apps and 2 billion installs across South Africa, Nigeria, and Kenya, between Q1 2020 and Q1 2021, AppsFlyer and Google found that the African mobile app market showed huge growth, with overall app installs increasing by 41 percent. Nigeria showed the highest growth, with a 43 percent uplift, followed by 37 percent in South Africa, and 29 percent in Kenya.

Amongst other key findings, the report also highlights:

  • In-app purchasing revenue and its relation to overall consumer spending
  • COVID’s impact on app installs in Africa (overall app installs increased by 20% in Q2 2020 compared to the previous quarter, for example)
  • The effect of Android’s larger market share within Sub-Saharan Africa, which has seen advertisers spend more budget on the platform. (Non-organic installs increased by 54 percent, compared to 19 percent for iOS. The cost per install (CPI) on iOS also increased by 21 percent between Q2 and Q3 2020, which meant iOS app developers were getting fewer installs for the same budget.)

Lizzie Kondowe, Africa Apps Lead, Google added “When we look at Google’s search trends, it’s clear that financial uncertainty is weighing heavily on many people across the continent. We’re seeing more and more apps come to market that aim to solve these problems, and so it’s no surprise to see installs rising. We’re proud to be working alongside AppsFlyer, to bring marketers the insights and tools they need to grow their apps.”

Featured Image Credits: AppsFlyer

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