The 7 Hottest Trends Among Latin American Internet Users

This post is also available in: Spanish

To deliver the best possible results for clients that seek to reach Latin American consumers via online and offline campaigns, we constantly review the latest research. In doing so, we noticed a number of trends in different Latin American markets.

#1 Internet Use Spikes Dramatically
As brands score strong responses to their campaigns in Latam, it can be easy to overlook how far the market has progressed in Internet use—and how it keeps growing every day. For example, according to Pew Research Center, in 2007 35% of Argentines reported using the Internet but in 2013 more than 6 in 10 (65%) of Argentines reported using the Internet. In 2007 33% of Chileans used the Internet. But in 2013 62% of Chileans reported using the Internet. Mexico also showed a significant surge in Internet use, going from 31% in 2007 to 43%. In 2010 around 4 in 10 Brazilians (43%) reported going online but by 2013 nearly half (47%) of Brazilians reported that they were Internet users.  Of course, given that IBOPE has reported that Brazil has 105 million Internet users out of a population of 202 million, it’s possible that Pew’s numbers are a bit low. The same can be said for Mexico’s numbers given that World Internet Project recently reported that there are 59 million Internet users in Mexico (out of a population of 118 million). Projections from several organizations suggest that massive growth is on the way in many of Latin America’s markets:

  • Brazil should have 168 million Internet users by the end of 2014*
  • Chile should have 16.4 million Internet users by 2015**
  • Ecuador should have 7.5 million Internet users by 2015***
  • Mexico should have 65 million Internet users by 2015***

Sources: *Comite Gestor da Internet, **Pyramid Group, ***Latin America & Caribbean Network Information Centre

#2 Chile Leads Latam in Smartphone Penetration
According to the Pew Research Center, in 2013 more than 91% of Chileans reported owning a mobile phone and 39% have a smartphone. This means that smartphone penetration in Chile is at 39%. That seems quite huge until you consider that more than 6.6 million smartphones were sold in Chile in 2013 and that the population is at around 17.5 million. So just in 2013, 37% of the population bought smartphones in Chile.

#3 Colombia Leads Latin America in Internet Penetration
This data comes from the 2013 IBOPE Media Book. According to IBOPE, Internet penetration in Colombia is at 72% and is the highest in Latin America. IBOPE further reports that more than 80% of Colombian Internet users connect from home. Chile is #2 in Internet penetration in Latin America with 68% of the population going online.

#4 Costa Rica Is the Fastest-Growing Internet Market in Latin America
According to IBOPE, Internet penetration in Costa Rica jumped from 50% in 2012 to 67% in 2013, the biggest leap in all of Latin American markets.

#5 Accessing Social Networks Via Smartphones Increases
Nearly 4 out of 10 Chileans (37%) access social networks through cell phones and the same amount (37%) of Venezuelans also access social media via cell phones. Nearly one-third of Argentines (32%) and Mexicans 30% use mobile phones to access social networks. Significantly lower percentages of Brazilians (19%), Salvadorans (18%) and Bolivians (17%) report using their phones to check social media.

#6 90% of Argentines are on Facebook
Recently Alejandro Zuzenberg and Alberto Arébalos of Facebook Argentina released some figures about the social network’s reach in the country. While overall 90% of Argentines have an account on Facebook, there are 23 million active Facebook users in Argentina and 15 million of them connect to Facebook using mobile phones. Other important facts:

  • Slightly more women (52%) than men (48%) are Facebook users in Argentina
  • Facebook users in Argentina tend to be younger: 72% are between 13 and 34 years old,  with 22% aged 35-54 and 5% over 55
  • In March 2014 Facebook users in Argentina notched 2.4 billion likes, 1.1 billion comments, 615 million messages, 360 million photo uploads, 168 million status updates and 265 million publications on user walls

#7 LinkedIn Surges in Latam
Currently LinkedIn reports that it has more than 40 million Internet users in Latin America. LinkedIn has its deepest penetration in Chile in which more than 13% of the population (2.2 million people) use the social network. Overall, Brazil has the largest amount of LinkedIn users in Latin America (more than 15 million). Brazil is actually the #3 market in the world for LinkedIn, surpassed only by the United States (more than 100 million users) and India (more than 24 million users).
Mexico is the #2 market in Latin America for LinkedIn and has more than 5 million users. The majority (58%) of Mexican LinkedIn users are women and 57% are under 35 years of age
There are 3.3 million LinkedIn users in Argentina, 3 million LinkedIn users in Colombia and nearly 2 million LinkedIn users in Peru. In the case of Peru, LinkedIn users are mostly under age 35 (79%) and men make up 59% of the user base.

To find out more about how we can help you reach Latin American Internet users with a targeted campaign, please contact us.

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