Internet usage in Latin America - Statistics & Facts

As of 2018, Latin America is the fourth largest regional online market, behind Asia, Europe and Africa. There were about 438 million internet users in Latin America and Caribbean in 2018, up from just over 300 million in 2013. An estimate of 55 percent of the Latin American population accessed the internet in 2017. There is some variation among Latin American countries in terms of internet freedom. Argentina had the top position amongst Latin American countries in 2018, with 28 index points.

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Brazil, the largest country in Latin America both by population and area, has an online population of nearly 140 million people, almost twofold of second-ranked Mexico, with 85 million users. Brazilians also lead the region in terms of monthly internet usage. The average duration of monthly internet usage in Brazil was 25.7 hours in 2016; Uruguay closely followed with 25.6 monthly hours. In contrast, the region’s average stood at 18.6 hours that year.

A large share of these hours online is spent on mobile devices. In 2015, Latin America had the highest daily mobile internet usage in the world. Internet users in Latin America spent an average of 3.59 hours on their smartphones every day. Users in North America, for example, spent an average of 1.84 hours. In 2016, just over 60 percent of mobile phone users accessed the internet from their mobile phone in Latin America, a figure which is expected to grow in the next years.

One of the most popular online activities throughout the region is participating in social media. As of 2016, Facebook is the second most popular website in Latin America based on number of unique visitors, only behind Google Sites. In total, there were an estimated 260 million social network users throughout the Latin American countries in 2016.

In line with global forecasts, e-commerce in Latin America shows healthy projections. There was an estimate of just over 120 million digital buyers in Latin America in 2016. This means that about 42.6 percent of Internet users in Latin America had purchased products online in 2016. By 2019, these figures are forecast to increase to just over 150 million and around 45 percent respectively. The growth in numbers of buyers has an impact on the total e-commerce sales revenue in Latin America. Retail e-commerce sales are projected to reach almost 75 billion U.S. dollars by 2020, up from 45 billion U.S. dollars in 2017. MercadoLibre, Amazon Sites, B2W Digital, and Alibaba are some of the most popular online retailers in Latin America.

Internet usage in Latin America

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