One quarter of LatAm population to own smartphone by end 2014 - eMarketer

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The number of individuals in Latin America who own at least one smartphone is set to increase to 146mn - or roughly a quarter of the region's population - at the end of this year, up from 114mn at the end of 2013, according to new figures from digital marketing consultancy eMarketer.

Strong growth is set to continue in the coming years, with total smartphone owners in the region reaching 243mn at the end of 2017.

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Latin America's largest countries Brazil and Mexico are set to account for 51.2% of smartphone owners in the region this year, with 41.2mn in the former and 33.3mn in the latter.

Meanwhile, smartphone users in Argentina will reach 12.7mn this year, and other countries in the region will have 58.4mn smartphone users by the end of this year, according to the release.

Smartphone growth in Argentina is being hampered by policies aimed at reducing high-tech device imports and incentivizing domestic production.

Smartphone growth in Brazil will reach annual rates of 26.7% through 2017, while that figure will reach 24.3% in Mexico, 18.1% in Argentina and combined growth of 27.0% in other Latin American markets.

Improvements in network infrastructure, legislative reforms and declining mobile data prices were key factors driving smartphone growth in Latin America during 2013, eMarketer said.

New shipments of tablet and smartphone devices to Latin America are set to increase by 28% to 142mn this year, according to IDC. However, many of these will likely be purchased by individuals who have previously owned a smartphone, as oppose to first-time buyers.