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Latin America Tech Trends: Rise of Smartphones, Tablets, and Internet in the Region

First Posted: Mar 18, 2014 09:32 PM EDT
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Photo : Reuters/Lee Jae-Won

Latin America has been experiencing positive trends in technology in 2013, and the development is expected to continue for 2014.

According to the International Data Corporation (IDC), via Latin Link, smartphone sales across Latin America hit 16.6 million during the first quarter of 2013, which is an increase of 53 percent from the same period during the previous year. For the second quarter of 2013, fellow research firm Gartner reported a 55 percent increase in smartphone sales.

The only other region to encounter strong smartphone sales outside of Latin America was the Asia-Pacific block.

Specific markets in Latin America contributed to the strong smartphone sales in the region. As Latin Link noted, Brazil saw an 89 percent smartphone sales increase during the first quarter of 2013 while the same period saw a 61 percent increase for Mexico. Chile saw a smartphone sales increase of 34 percentage points while it was projected Peru saw a staggering 98 percent sales increase for all 2013.

In contrast, Argentina saw a sales increase of 2 percentage points during the first quarter of 2013, however, smartphones have accounted for 47 percent of the general mobile phone sales.

Tablets have also garnered strength in Latin America, even surpassing smartphones. The IDC revealed 3.5 million units were sold in the first quarter of 2013 across Latin America, which is an increase of 1 million units during the same quarter in 2012. The 3.5 million-unit figure is an increase of 234 percentage points from the previous year.

Another trend in Latin America is the Google Android operating system for smartphones and tablets. According to StatsCounter, Android dominated market share figures is Latin America against rivals such as Apple iOS, BlackBerry, Microsoft, and Symbian.

Android's strength was shown the most in Argentina with 63 percent of the market share for StatsCounter's data collection between April and June 2013. The rival operating systems accounted for less than 10 percent of the market share, respectively. Elsewhere, Android accounted for 50 percent of the Brazilian market share while Colombia garnered 43 percent. KantarWorldpanel's data show Android topping the mobile operating system ranks in Mexico, notably in June 2013, with 62 percent.

The technology trend is expected to grow with Internet users.

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 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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