The impact of WI-FI as a complementary service on customers' likelihood to return and purchase intentions in South African townships

Kovar, Julian
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Online activity through the Internet and mobile phones has dramatically increased over the last five years in South Africa (Nyirenda-Jere & Tesfaye , 2015). Lower costs for Internet and mobile phones are the main reasons for more and more people being connected (Price Waterhouse Cooper South Africa, 2012). But discrepancies exist, namely between the people who are connected and those who are not. This discrepancy is referred to as the digital divide and contributing factors towards it include income, education, age and other factors which were discussed in this paper (Nievhaves, Gorbacheva & Plattfaut, 2012). Free Wi-Fi is one of the solutions to bridge the digital divide to a certain extent and it is also a very valuable tool to marketers and business owners. This research study was aimed at understanding the impact of free Wi-Fi on consumers’ purchase intentions and likelihood to return in townships in South Africa. People in townships are an important group to analyse, because of the millions of inhabitants. Infrastructure in terms of the Internet is not as good as the infrastructure standards in suburbs or in the city. The purpose of the study was to find out the impact of free Wi-Fi on the likelihood of customers to return and their likelihood to purchase something at a location where free Wi-Fi is offered. For the purpose of this research a quantitative approach was used to investigate the impact of free Wi-Fi and factors leading to return and intention to conduct purchases. Non-probability sampling was used in the form of convenience sampling. A self-administered questionnaire was developed to investigate behaviour. Four hundred questionnaires were distributed to people living in Soweto. The analysis indicated that the four access variables, namely - material, mental, usage and skills access - have an influence on the intention to use free Wi-Fi which, in turn, has an influence on the likelihood to return or purchase something. Implications for marketers and businesses is: the marketers have to consider the digital divide when marketing to consumers in South Africa and that offering free Wi-Fi at a commercial place has positive implications for both customers and businesses.
A Masters Dissertation submitted in fulfilment of the requirements of the degree of Master of Commerce in the faculty of Commerce, Law and Management August, 2016
Kovar, Julian (2016) The impact of WI-FI as a complementary service on customers' likelihood to return and purchase intentions in South African townships, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, <>