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Long Hike for Internet Usage in Peru

Country has seventh-largest internet user base in Latin America

Peru is the fifth-largest country in Latin America by population and the sixth by GDP. The CIA World Factbook estimates the country will have a population of just over 30 million in 2014 with a median age of 27 thanks to the considerable portion of the population in the 0-to-14 age bracket (27.3%). The next age group, 15- to 24-year-olds, represents only 19.2% of the population.

Digitally, the country ranks a lower seventh place in the region. According to comScore Media Metrix data, there were 5.8 million internet users, or less than 20% of the population, in Peru in April 2014. Peru trailed sixth-place Chile (population 16.8 million) by half a million internet users during the same period. This measurement, however, excludes consumers younger than 15 years old (the most populous group in Peru), public computers (internet cafes are still commonplace in the country), and mobile devices.

Each internet user in Peru spent an average 18.2 hours online during the month measured in the study, trailing only Brazil (30.3 hours) and Argentina (21.0 hours) by that metric.

For now, internet uptake in Peru is nascent and not yet a mobile affair. Desktops and laptops drove 88.8% of online traffic, with 10.9% coming through mobile phones and tablets. By comparison, the two mobile devices drove 16.2% of traffic in Chile and 30.9% in the advanced UK market.

Reflecting the early stages of adoption that Peru is still navigating, web users were more likely to be young, with those 34 years old and younger accounting for 59.8% of the audience. They skewed male, too, with a 56.0%-44.0% split.

Also typical of markets “new” to digital life was Peru’s internet users’ engagement with social networks. The country sported the highest social network penetration among internet users (96.0%) out of the geographies measured in the comScore study. That means there were about 5.6 million social networkers in April 2014. Predictably, Facebook was the most commonly used property, with 5.1 million users. LinkedIn was a distant second, with 2.5 million users.

So, it comes as no surprise that consumers in Peru spent most of their time online with social media (6.8 hours per month). Corporate sites followed, with an average 5.9 hours monthly.

Still, there are signs of increasing internet usage sophistication already. More than one-quarter of internet users in Peru had visited online banking sites.

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