In Business Trends & Strategy, Consumer and Retail, General Interest

Latin America is one of the regions with the highest growth in Internet user populations in recent years. In 2021, Internet penetration in Latin America grew by a massive 2,658%. Internet penetration in Latin America in 2022 currently stands at 75.6%: 10 points above the global average, according to Internet World Stats.

In general terms, e-commerce and mobile Internet are the macrotrends that will continue leading buying behaviors over the coming years. For example, Americas Market Intelligence (AMI) projections put annual growth in e-commerce at 31% until 2024, when the market will reach a volume of around US $611 billion. By then, the marketplaces will account for 48% of all retail sales in the region (both online and offline), according to AMI forecasts. At the same time, Internet users in Brazil are already spending 91% of their online time on mobile devices, followed by users in Mexico (89%), and Argentina (86%), according to Comscore. The firm GSMA estimates that, by 2025, mobile penetration in Latin America will be at 73%.


The LatAm E-Commerce Datapack, 2020-2024

The LatAm E-Commerce Data Library

Strategic data on market volumes, purchase habits, payment methods, demand drivers and more for +15 countries


Among these macrotrends mentioned, specific changes have taken place in the behavior of Latin American Internet users. We have identified several of these changes that marketing professionals might want to leverage in their campaigns throughout 2022.

Trends Among Latin American Internet Users - Mercado Libre - Referential image

#1: Mercado Libre is the Most Used Marketplace by Online Consumers in Latin America

Mercado Libre receives 667.7 million visits per month from Latin America, according to data from Similar Web compiled by WebRetailer. These data cover 17 Latin American markets, including Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Colombia, and Chile. The second biggest marketplace in Latin America is Amazon. However, Amazon receives just 169.9 million visits per month from Latin America.

GRAPH:  The top 10 marketplaces in Latin America. Mercado Libre ranks first with 667.7 million visits per month, followed by Amazon (169 million) and Americanas de Brasil (129.6 million).

With respect to Mercado Libre specifically, Brazil is the country with the highest rate of traffic, which is unsurprising given that Brazil is regarded as the largest and most mature e-commerce market in Latin America. In fact, Mercado Livre Brasil accounts for 41% of total traffic to Mercado Libre from Latin America. Argentina is next with just 21% of the traffic to Mercado Libre from Latin America.

GRAPH: Monthly visitors to Mercado Libre from LatAm. Brazil receives 272 million visitors per month to Mercado Libre (Mercado Livre in Portuguese), followed by Argentina (146.5 million), Mexico (135 million), Colombia (41.9 million), and Chile (32 million).
GRAPH: Mercado Libre traffic share in Latin America, by country.  Brazil accounts for 41% of total traffic to Mercado Libre. Second Argentina (22%), then Mexico (20%), Colombia (6%), Chile (5%) and others (6%).

Looking at the traffic to marketplaces by country in Latin America, a study by SEMrush and Punto Rojo again highlights the leadership of Mercado Libre, but this time over marketplaces with a local impact, like Falabella in Chile, and Personal in Argentina. Mercado Libre’s share in Argentina is the highest: 81.98% of monthly traffic from Argentine online buyers goes to the domain mercadolibre.com.ar. It is worth noting that the Semrush and Punto Rojo study did not include Brazil.

GRAPH: Monthly Traffic Share for Marketplaces in Latin America for each Country. In Argentina, 82% of Internet users visit the domain mercadolibre.com.ar, 4% visit Personal.com.ar and 14% visit other marketplaces. In Chile, only 25% of Internet users visit the domain mercadolibre.cl, 20% visit Falabella.com and 56% visit other marketplaces. In Colombia and Mexico, Mercado Libre's share is 46% and 44%, respectively.

>>>HOW TO LEVERAGE THIS TREND:

The Media Reactions study by the firm Kantar confirmed Mercado Libre is one of the most effective advertising platforms in Latin America. Mercado Ads (a Mercado Libre product) recently launched its programmatic advertising interface Audience Deals, which is able to segment users of the platform by their interests, and reach them outside the marketplace.

Mercado Libre’s vast range of solutions also includes Mercado Shops. One of the options Mercado Shops offers is synchronizing inventory with Facebook Shopping and Instagram Shopping, which facilitates reaching audiences on social networks and leveraging social commerce.

GRAPH: The Social Networks that LatAm Online Shoppers Visited the Most, 2021: Mexico, Colombia, Chile and Argentina. In Mexico, for example, 24% of Internet users visit Facebook, 42% visit YouTube, 25% Pinterest, 3% Instagram and 4% Twitter. Facebook is the most visited social network in Colombia (67%), Chile (66%) and Argentina (78%).
Tendencias entre internautas Latinoamérica - video móvil - Imagen referencial

#2: Internet Users in Latin America Are Watching More Videos Than Ever

According to the Facebook report on behavior and consumption of online video, 35% of Internet users in Latin America are watching more videos than before as a result of the pandemic. 34% of Latin American Internet users are also spending more time watching videos than previously.

According to the study, among Internet users in Latin America, the peak time for watching videos is between 7:00 p.m. and 10 p.m. There are also four key segments among these viewers:

  • Traditional media audience: frequently watches content on television channels.
  • Audience for public figures: follows celebrities, singers, and other personalities who share their projects and lives through social video.
  • Influencers audience: enjoys videos made by digital creators in content on movies, video games, cooking, workouts, education, fashion, etc.
  • Digital publishers audience: looks for producers of exclusively digital video content with an editorial approach to general topics, with the involvements of talents and high production values.

6 Key Digital Marketing Tactics for LatAm

6 Key Digital Marketing Tactics for LatAm

What the data suggests we should focus on


>>>HOW TO LEVERAGE THIS TREND:

There are two main for marketing experts to leverage video content. The first would be through the AVOD (advertising-based video on demand), a video consumption model favored by 70.4% of Latin American Internet users. In that regard, marketing experts can show ad content on free video streaming platforms, such as YouTube, Pluto TV, VIX, and DailyMotion.

GRAPH: Preferred Ad Types Among Video Streaming Consumers in Latin America. 49% of Latin Americans prefer to see in-stream video ads, 39% prefer to see preroll or postroll video ads, and 12% prefer to see display ads or banners. The percentages vary from country to country but maintain almost the same proportions. The graph also shows the share of ad types among video streaming consumers per country: Mexico, Colombia, Brazil and Argentina.

The second would be through the actual creation of videos, either for organic dissemination, or for advertisements. According to Biteable, YouTube has the highest return on investment in video content, (35%) followed by Facebook (26%), and Instagram (18%). In turn, practice has showed that video ads have higher engagement. Meta, formerly Facebook, cites striking cases, such as that of Totalplay, a company that achieved a 41% increase in sales after it first introduced video ads.

Another interesting tactic is leveraging content creators or influencers for the production of branded content in video format, which we explain in more detail in our article on top digital marketing tactics.

GRAPH: Potential Ad Audience on YouTube, by country in LatAm. Brazil has 213.3 million inhabitants and an advertising audience of 127 million on YouTube, which indicates an advertising audience penetration of 59%. In other countries, the YouTube ad audience penetration goes as follows: Mexico (57%), Colombia (59%), Peru (45%), Argentina (67%), and Chile (75%).
Tendencias entre internautas Latinoamérica - Noticias a través de internet - Imagen referencial

#3: Internet Users in Latin America Prefer to Get Their News Online and via Mobile Devices

In Latin America, 83% to 87% of Internet users get their news online, and 73% to 83% of audiences in each country do so through their cell phone, according to the Reuters Institute’s Digital News Report 2021.

Below are the top five favorite news websites, broken down by country.

GRAPH: Top 5 Preferred News Sites in LatAm, by Country (2021). In Argentina, 46% of Internet users prefer Infobae, 32% prefer TN online, 25% prefer Clarín online, 21% prefer La Nación online, 14% prefer Minuto 1. In Brazil, the most preferred news website is Globo News Online (48% ); in Chile, it is emol.com (28%); in Colombia, it is El Tiempo (40%); in Mexico, it is UnoTV online (25%) and in Peru, it is El Comercio online (28%).

According to Reuters, 45% to 52% of Internet users in Latin America share the news they read. In fact, social networks are a prime source of information: between 63% and 70% of Internet users in Latin America use Facebook and WhatsApp as their news sources.

GRAPH: Top Social Media Sites Used to Find News in Latin America. In general, internet users in LatAm prefer Facebook to find news, followed by WhatsApp. Specifically, in Argentina, 56% of Internet users use Facebook to find news and 36% use WhatsApp; in Brazil, 47% of internet users use Facebook to find news and 43% use WhatsApp; in Chile, 54% of Internet users use Facebook to find news and 36% use WhatsApp; In Colombia, 67% of Internet users use Facebook to find news and 45% use WhatsApp; In Mexico, 60% of Internet users use Facebook to find news and 35% use WhatsApp; In Peru, 69% of Internet users use Facebook to find news and 42% use WhatsApp. Other social networks in the graph include YouTube, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook Messenger.
GRAPH: Percentage of LatAm Internet Users that Share News via Social Media. In Argentina, 45% of Internet users share news through social networks. In Brazil, 47% of Internet users share news through social networks. In Chile, 48% of Internet users share news through social networks. In Colombia, 51% of Internet users share news through social networks. In Mexico, 49% of Internet users share news through social networks. In Peru, 52% of Internet users share news through social networks

>>>HOW TO LEVERAGE THIS TREND:

The marked interest of Latin American Internet users in keeping up with the news means they can be reached with advertisements that really connect with their interests.

For example, it is possible to set up programmatic advertisements on news websites with greater potential traffic toward specific niches or interests. Many of these websites have their own advertising or are partnered with the Google Ads AdSense network. The browsing data stored by some websites enable these Internet users to be reached on their social networks to target specific remarketing campaigns at them.

Tendencias entre internautas de Latinoamérica - Diversificación de métodos de pago - Imagen referencial

#4: Internet users Are Diversifying Their Payment Methods and Use of E-Payments Is Growing in LatAm

Financial inclusion in e-commerce is expanding due to the boom in financial super-apps and banking-as-a-service. Financial services like Mercado Pago allow users to store money securely and make online purchases, or offer guarantees to sellers. In Mexico, the use of cash dropped by 23% in those SMEs that incorporated Mercado Pago as a financial solution, according to the report by Mercado Libre and Euromonitor.

Similarly, some apps, like RappiPay or Nequi, allow Internet users to open debit accounts with little or no ratings. This makes it possible to upload money to the cloud and to request or receive payments. In fact, AMI forecasts show digital bank transfers will account for 9% of total e-commerce expense in Latin America by 2024, and in Brazil, annual growth in bank transfers will be 94%.

Lastly, a boom is anticipated in the adoption of cryptoassets or in blockchain-based financial solutions. Studies by AMI show that 8% of the Latin American population are already using bitcoins and altcoins. According to AMI, 56% of consumers interested in crypto would like to buy these assets through trusted international brands like PayPal, Visa, or Mastercard.


Insights into Latin America's Cryptocurrency Market

Insights into Latin America's Cryptocurrency Market

An in-depth look at consumer preferences and behavior


>>>HOW TO LEVERAGE THIS TREND:

For many brands, the payment method they offer constitutes a selling point to their customers, and they display it with pride on their website or in their advertising. In Brazil, Pix accounted for 38% of consumption in 2021, even “cannibalizing” options such as boleto bancário, according to AMI research. Similarly, the use of SINPE Móvil in Costa Rica tripled in 2021, which represented a $5.6 billion shift from cash to electronic money.

Some models like “buy now, pay later” are becoming enticing to Latin American consumers (50% of purchases in Latin America were made using this method in 2020, according to AMI), and can be offered securely through certain providers. In fact, this model is already famous in the United States, with success stories like AfterPay.

Mobile penetration in Latin America will reach 73% in 2025.

This trend is also contributing to reducing the financial risk that online buyers perceive. According to Mastercard, 75% of Latin American buyers claim to have been the victim of a cyberattack, and 20% said a company leaked their personal information. Worse still, 70% of Internet users distrust the ability of sellers to keep their data secure.

These data therefore suggest companies should not only expand their payment options, but also announce these changes in their campaigns in order to attract more customers.

Next Steps

Contact us if you need research on Internet users in Latin America, specifically:

  • Their growing interest in and use of cryptocurrencies
  • Their e-commerce shopping trends
  • Their preferences in terms of online payment methods
  • General consumer preferences in different segments
  • Market sizing
  • Competitive intelligence in different sectors

And much more.

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