Airbnb, the community-driven hospitality company, has revealed that the typical South African Airbnb host who occasionally shares space in their home boosts yearly income by more than R28 000.
In 2015 there were 7,500 active hosts in South Africa and almost half were freelancers, entrepreneurs, or self-employed, which is the same number that say welcoming guests helps them afford to stay in their home. 66 % of hosts share space in their primary residence.
The way people travel is changing, too, driven by a new experience led economy where people place greater value on experiences over ownership. More than 130,000 guests have stayed in a listing on Airbnb in South Africa in the last year alone, enjoying authentic and local travel experiences through their hosts’ personal hospitality and insider knowledge. This number represents a 250% increase in travellers on Airbnb compared to 2014. And hosts and guests on Airbnb are older than one might think with the average host being 44 years old and guests being 37 on average.
Airbnb empowers regular South Africans to use their homes as economic assets
● In South Africa in 2015, there were 7,500 active hosts sharing their home. In the last year, the typical host earned an extra R28 000 by sharing his home
● The average host is 44 years old and 36 percent are over 50
Airbnb increases consumer choice and helps grow and diversify travel across South Africa
● 134,000 guests used Airbnb to visit South Africa in the past year
● 99,000 South African residents used Airbnb for their travels
● The average host rating by guests is 4.7 out of 5
Airbnb hosts in Cape Town are providing guests with an authentic and affordable travel experience and boosting local economies
● 66 percent of hosts share space in their primary residence
● Airbnb guests stay an average of 6 nights
● More than 40 percent of guest spending takes place in the neighbourhood where they stay
● 58 percent of Airbnb guests visited local businesses based on host recommendations
● 50 percent of guests who saved money on Airbnb spent it on food, shopping and other amenities
Nicola D’Elia, General Manager for Africa and the Middle East at Airbnb highlights how Airbnb helps to spreads benefits to new communities and local businesses: “Airbnb is good news for everyone, providing an economic boost for thousands of South Africans, helping them make ends meet and support their families by hosting on Airbnb. 27% of visitors to Cape Town for example – Airbnb’s largest market in South Africa – tell us that they wouldn’t have come at all or stayed as long if it hadn’t been for Airbnb. Half of those guests spend more money in local shops and restaurants, often following their hosts’ recommendations. Even if it’s just for a night, staying with local hosts will allow visitors to really live there.”
Tim Harris, CEO at Wesgro, the tourism, trade and investment promotion agency for Cape Town and the Western Cape, agrees: “Cape Town and the Western Cape is a world class tourism destination. Thanks to Airbnb, more travelers can enjoy the natural beauty our country has to offer in an authentic way. It’s great to see that outside Cape Town, Knysna is the second most popular town with the Airbnb community. This shows how Airbnb hosts are helping to drive visitors across the province, allowing them to experience more of the Western Cape with their local hosts. ”
Personal computing devices sales still decline in MEA
The Middle East and Africa (MEA) personal computing devices (PCD) market, which is made up of desktops, notebooks, workstations, and tablets, suffered a decline of -7.3% year on year in Q2 2017, according to the latest insights from International Data Corporation (IDC).
The global technology research and consulting firm’s Quarterly PCD Tracker for Q2 2017 shows that PCD shipments fell to around 6 million units for the quarter.
“As forecast, the market followed a similar pattern to recent quarters, with the downturn primarily stemming from a decline in shipments of slate tablets and desktops,” says Fouad Charakla, IDC’s senior research manager for client devices in the Middle East, Turkey, and Africa. “This was the result of desktop users increasingly switching to mobile devices such as notebooks or even refurbished notebooks, while users of slate tablets shifted to smartphones. These trends translated into year-on-year declines of -21.9% for desktops and -15.7% for slate tablets in Q2 2017, while shipments of notebooks and detachable tablets increased 11.0% and 63.3%, respectively over the same period.”
“Market sentiment in the region remained low overall, although an aggressive push from some slate tablet vendors meant the market declined much slower than expected,” continues Charakla. “At the same time, heightened competition has also made it harder for certain players to sustain their slate tablet businesses and generate profits, causing them to lose interest in the slate tablet market altogether. Despite this, slate tablets are still the most popular computing device among home users in the region.”
Looking at the region’s key markets, IDC’s research shows that when compared to Q2 2016 overall PCD shipments were down -11.4% in the UAE, -8.9% in Turkey, and -6.7% in the ‘Rest of Middle East’ sub-region (comprising Iran, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Palestine, and Afghanistan). South Africa and Saudi Arabia bucked this trend, recording year-on-year increases of 3.5% and 9.6%, respectively.
A massive education delivery in Pakistan acted as a key driver for notebook shipments in the region overall. Similarly, the education sector was the biggest driver of detachable tablet shipments, triggered by a huge delivery in Kenya, as well as two other deliveries in Pakistan and Turkey, which enabled this category to achieve the fastest growth of all the PCD categories.
“While a component shortage prevented market players from reducing their prices too much, the average price of consumer notebooks experienced a considerable year-on-year decline in Q2 2017,” says Charakla. “This played a key role in driving demand from the consumer segment, and was reflected in the growing popularity of lower-priced notebook models.”
Looking at the PC market’s vendor rankings, each of the top five vendors maintained their respective positions compared to the previous quarter, with the top four all gaining share.
Middle East & Africa PC Market Vendor Shares – Q2 2016 vs. Q2 2017
|Brand||Q2 2016||Q2 2017|
Although Samsung continued to lead the tablet market, the vendor rankings in the space saw quite a few changes, with Huawei catapulting itself to second place. Lenovo also climbed up a position compared to the previous quarter, causing Apple to drop to fourth place.
Middle East & Africa Tablet Market Vendor Shares – Q2 2016 vs. Q2 2017
|Brand||Q2 2016||Q2 2017|
“Looking to the future, the MEA PCD market is expected to decline at a faster rate than previously forecast for 2017 as a whole,” says Charakla. “Technological shifts are playing a pivotal role in deciding the future of this market, with demand for certain products shifting to other PCD products and beyond (i.e., smartphones). Accordingly, shipments of slate tablets are expected to continue declining over the coming years as demand is cannibalized by smartphones. Meanwhile, the ongoing shift to mobile computing will see growth in the desktop market remain close to flat throughout IDC’s forecast period ending 2021. Notebook shipments will experience very slow growth beyond 2018, while detachable tablets will remain the fastest growing PCD category, eating away share from other computing devices.”
Gazer cyber-spies exposed
ESET has released new research into the activities of the Turla cyberespionage group, and specifically a previously undocumented backdoor that has been used to spy on consulates and embassies worldwide.
ESET’s research team are the first in the world to document the advanced backdoor malware, which they have named “Gazer”, despite evidence that it has been actively deployed in targeted attacks against governments and diplomats since at least 2016.
Gazer’s success can be explained by the advanced methods it uses to spy on its intended targets, and its ability to remain persistent on infected devices, embedding itself out of sight on victim’s computers in an attempt to steal information for a long period of time.
ESET researchers have discovered that Gazer has managed to infect a number of computers around the world, with the most victims being located in Europe. Curiously, ESET’s examination of a variety of different espionage campaigns which used Gazer has identified that the main target appears to have been Southeastern Europe as well as countries in the former Soviet Union Republic.
The attacks show all the hallmarks of past campaigns launched by the Turla hacking group, namely:
- Targeted organisations are embassies and ministries;
- Spearphishing delivers a first-stage backdoor such as Skipper;
- A second stealthier backdoor (Gazer in this instance, but past examples have included Carbon and Kazuar) is put in place;
- The second-stage backdoor receives encrypted instructions from the gang via C&C servers, using compromised, kegitimate websites as a proxy.
Another notable similarity between Gazer and past creations of the Turla cyberespionage group become obvious when the malware is analysed. Gazer makes extra efforts to evade detection by changing strings within its code, randomizing markers, and wiping files securely.
In the most recent example of the Gazer backdoor malware found by ESET’s research team, clear evidence was seen that someone had modified most of its strings, and inserted phrases related to video games throughout its code.
Don’t be fooled by the sense of humour that the Turla hacking group are showing here, falling foul of computer criminals is no laughing manner.
All organisations, whether governmental, diplomatic, law enforcement, or in traditional business, need to take today’s sophisticated threats serious and adopt a layered defence to reduce the chances of a security breach.