Chile, Argentina, and Venezuela Most Prolific Latin American Cellphone and Smartphone Users in Pew Report
Countries Chile, Argentina, and Venezuela play host to the most prolific number of cellphone and smartphone users among Latin American countries, according to a new Pew Research Center survey that highlights emerging countries' adoption of cell phones, smartphones, Internet access, and use of social media.
According to a Pew report, 91 percent of Chileans, 86 percent of Venezuelans, and 83 percent of Argentines surveyed owned a cellphone. These countries also boasted the largest number of smartphone users out of the seven Latin American countries involved in the survey. Smartphone users made up 39 percent of Chileans, 31 percent of Venezuelans, and 34 percent of Argentines.
The Pew Research Center surveyed 24,263 people face-to-face in 24 emerging and developing countries between March 2, 2013 and May 1, 2013 for the report. The other four Latin American countries were Bolivia, Brazil, El Salvador, and Mexico.
Texting ranks as the most popular activity on cellphones that isn't making calls in all 24 countries. Taking pictures and video was also found to be one of the most widespread uses of cellphones.
Although Internet usage rates varied country to country, the survey found that the higher a country's per capita income is, the higher the Internet usage rate. Chile, Argentina, and Venezuela came in as the three Latin American countries with the most people who either had Internet access or owned a smartphone (thus granting them Internet access).
For those with Internet access, social media has emerged as an overwhelming force. Out of those surveyed, 83 percent of Venezuelans, 76 percent of Chileans, and 75 percent of Argentines with Internet access used social media. Mexico also ranked highly in its social media usage, with 77 percent saying they engaged in social media once online. The most popular purpose for utilizing social media among those surveyed tends to be for staying in touch with family and friends, although politics also came into play, especially in the Latin America.
Five of the 10 countries that ranked the highest in terms of people who learned that someone's political beliefs were different than previously thought based on something posted on a social media site are Latino. Venezuela leads the entire pack, with 74 percent of Venezuelans surveyed saying they learned someone's political beliefs through social media. In El Salvador, 61 percent answered yes to that question, in Mexico it was 59 percent, in Brazil it was 54 percent, and in Argentina it was 45 percent.
The survey highlights the growing importance of the mobile market in emerging countries as more and more engage themselves in many activities that inhabitants of developed take for granted. A Gartner report revealed that Latin America had the "strongest" smartphone sales growth among all regions. During the last quarter of 2013 alone, smartphone sales grew an astonishing 96.1 percent. With more and more smartphones proliferating through Latin America, Internet access will also rise, leading to an increased Latino social media presence.
"Mature markets face limited growth potential as the markets are saturated with smartphone sales, leaving little room for growth with declining feature phone market and a longer replacement cycle," said Gartner's Principal Research Analyst Anshul Gupta. "Lack of compelling hardware innovation has further exacerbated replacement cycles for high-end smartphones in 2013 because consumers don't find enough reasons to upgrade."
A recently released Research and Markets report concerning mobile enterprise services in Latin America agrees.
"The Latin American application ecosystem is being developed, and the availability of different mobile applications is expected to increase heavily in the coming years," reads the key findings section of the report.
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