Internet usage in Latin America - Statistics & Facts

As of 2016, Latin America, representing all countries on both American continents south of the U.S. border, is the third largest regional online market, behind Asia and Europe. There were about 384 million internet users in Latin America and Caribbean in 2016, up from just over 300 million in 2013. An estimate of 56 percent of the Latin American population accessed the internet in 2016. By 2019, the internet user penetration in Latin America is forecast to jump to 60.9 percent. There is some variation among Latin American countries in terms of internet freedom. While Argentina had the top position amongst Latin American countries with a score of 27 index points in 2016, Cuba scored extremely low, with 79 index points.

Brazil, the largest country in Latin America, has an online population of nearly 70 million people, more than twofold of second-ranked Mexico, with 26.7 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 their mobile devices. Latin America has the highest daily mobile internet usage in the world. Internet users in Latin America spent an average of 3.59 hours on mobile 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. By 2018, it is expected that 76.8 percent of people using the internet in Latin America will also be accessing social networks. Facebook is by far the most popular social networking platform in the region, followed by blogging platform Blogger, LinkedIn and Twitter.

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 grow to 84.75 billion U.S. dollars by 2019, up from an estimate of 57 billion U.S. dollars in 2016. MercadoLibre, B2W Digital, Nova Puntocom and Amazon Sites are the most popular online retailers in Latin America.

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