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Latin America's Internet Users to Hit 393 Million By 2017; Facebook, Social Media Major Influence

First Posted: Feb 21, 2014 01:44 AM EST
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Latin Americans' Internet access has been expanding and is projected to grow by nearly 100 million users in the next three years.

According to eMarketer, which offers insights on the digital marketing, media, and commerce environment, Latin America may have hit the 300 million Internet users mark. A 2012 report stated Latin America had 232 million Internet users.

As LatinLink recognized, the Latin American region's overall population is approximately 598 million. If eMarketer's data is correct, then Internet penetration across the region is at 50 percent.

eMarketer's figure, at 299.5 million Internet users, is a massive increase from data recorded by Venezuelan research firm Tendencias Digitales in 2005. According to the research firm, the Latin American region had 78.5 million Internet users in 2005.

The 299.5 million mark is expected to grow further by 2017. eMarketer has projected Latin America's Internet penetration to increase to 63 percent, or 394 million Internet users. A major influence with the increase of Latin American Internet users is social media. LatinLink noted 7 of 10 Latin American Internet users log into social networks as least once a month. By 2017, eMarketer forecast Latin America's social media audience to hit 324 million users.

The top social network in Latin America is Facebook. Notably in 2013, Facebook disclosed it has 200 million users in the Latin American region with nearly 3 of 4 logging in from their mobile devices.

"Of course, these numbers aren't just market indicators for advertisers making plans for their digital investment in 2014. They are also important for web brands from the United States and the rest of the world: there is a huge, rapidly growing audience in Latin America for these brands-as long as they know how to reach them," wrote U.S. Media Consulting's Product Manager Hernán Cieri. "The quickest and most effective way to do this is by working with an experienced partner that has both the contacts and the know-how to spike regional revenues."

As Latin Post reported, per ESET Latin America, Latin Americans have heavily utilized the Internet during 2013 especially when it comes to online shopping. For Latin American shoppers, 32 percent shopped from a smartphone while 24 percent utilized a tablet. A majority of 76 percent admitted to shopping from home while 12 percent of online purchases took place from the workplace. Shopping in friends' homes or cybercafés was also noted with 7.5 percent and 4.3 percent, respectively.

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For the latest updates, follow Latin Post's Michael Oleaga on Twitter: @EditorMikeO

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- Smartphones Sales in Latin America 'Strongest' Among All Regions with 96 Percent Growth in 4Q 2013, Says Gartner Report

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