Instant messaging and social networks use in Kenya has almost doubled as Kenyans register a virtual addiction to mobile phones.
A survey from global consultancy firm Deloitte shows use of instant messaging platforms such as WhatsApp rose to 73 percent up from 43 percent.
“Mobile phones are the first thing we touch in the morning, and the last thing we see before bed,” the report quotes some of the respondents.
Two-thirds confessed to using their phones more than they would like to.
According to the Deloitte study, social media use stands at 74percent, up from the previous 55 percent.
It adds that mobile phone users in Kenya are showing growing patterns of phone use while walking, crossing the road, driving, eating and watching TV.
Kenyans top the charts as one of the leading adapters of the smartphone use.
The numbers jumped to 97 percent from 49 percent within a period of three years from 2015.
However, in spite of the rapid adaptation to use of smartphones, Kenyans are found wanting in their knowledge of data privacy.
In the Deloitte study, only 51 percent of WhatsApp users believe that they are sharing their contacts with companies online.
Further, while 75 percent of respondents are concerned about how their personal data is used, only 22 percent believe that they their browsing activity is public.
The findings affirm an open window to the use of personal data by firms and marketers.
Companies both local and international have taken advantage of this ‘free shot’ to deploy customer data for their gain.
“Brands face pressure to meet the customers wherever they are, and are everywhere,” the report says.
The potential for tapping data to drive sales for firms is well represented in consumers use of mobile phones.
“Opportunities arise for businesses to use digital tools such as chat bots to improve customer experience and acquisition, reduce churn, increase revenue per user and minimize the cost to serve primarily in the customer service centers,” notes the report.
Data usage to research products and services stands at 43 percent, a feature only topped by money transfers.
Even so, the open season to the use of personal data is slowly closing as the State fast tracks its consumer protection policy.
Like Europe’s general data protection regulation (GDPR), Kenya is to seeking to round off its Data Protection Bill of 2018.
Once passed, it will install stricter consent requirements including the right to be ‘forgotten’ by deleting personal data and special rules regarding the handling of minors data.
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