Hotels, restaurants and catering services have gained significantly from mobile money services, figures from a recently unveiled study on the use of technology shows.

The survey found that businesses in food services and accommodation both receive and make a bigger share of their orders using mobile phones than those engaged in other economic activities.

Of the 18 categories of enterprises surveyed for their use of ICT, food service and accommodation businesses were found to be the best users of mobile money and till number accounts, while businesses in information and communications were the best users of paybill accounts. Food service industries also received and paid out the highest proportions of their payments using mobile money.

In 2003, only 13 per cent of households owned any kind of telephone, according to the demographic survey. Nearly a decade and a half later, 86 per cent of all households in Kenya owned a mobile phone, according to the 2014 Demographic and Health Survey.

Over the same period, the share of households that owned a car stayed nearly constant at five per cent, those who owned a fridge only rose from four to six per cent and only three per cent of Kenyans owned a microwave in 2014.

While more households were able to acquire a television, with 35 per cent of households owning one in 2014 from 19 per cent in 2003, those who owned a radio dropped from 74 per cent to 68 per cent, no doubt partly due to the use of the mobile phone.

Over the same period, the share of households owning motorcycles increased more than tenfold from less than 1 per cent to 7 per cent. Conversely, those who reported owning a bicycle fell from 29 per cent to 21 per cent.

The findings on mobile phone use are contained in the recently unveiled ICT Enterprise Survey Report 2016. Of the 4,000 businesses targeted, 3,530 or 88 per cent, responded and just over half (54 per cent) were in Nairobi.

The survey found that 86 per cent of all businesses have a dedicated mobile phone. However, only 40 per cent of small businesses in horticulture do. Large businesses in electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning as well as arts and entertainment have virtually no dedicated mobile phones.

The business where mobile phones are most used to receive orders is accommodation and food services, involving hotels, restaurants and catering, where 90 per cent use them, followed by arts and entertainment (86 per cent), manufacturing (85 per cent), wholesale and retail trade (84 per cent) and administrative support services (77 per cent).


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