Smartphone uptake to register double-digit growth through 2017
Tablet adoption is in the early stages in Mexico but on the rise. According to April 2013 data from the Competitive Intelligence Unit (CIU), a Mexico City-based consultancy, 4.1% of the population used tablets that month. That penetration rate works out to 4.9 million tablet users, the CIU noted.
A separate estimate by the International Data Corporation (IDC) placed tablet penetration in Mexico this year at a slightly more conservative 2.8% of the population.
Likely due to extra distribution costs and import taxes that elevate the cost of high-tech devices—albeit moderately—and an average GDP per capita far lower than in the US, tablets are a rather expensive item in Mexico. In that light, it’s no surprise that adults ages 31 to 40 and consumers in the top earning A/B socioeconomic level were the most likely to own the coveted device, at 5.3% and 13.0%, respectively.
Meanwhile, the number of smartphone users in Mexico will grow by 48.5% this year to reach 26.3 million, eMarketer predicts. While the heated growth rate in smartphone users has a lot to do with the low base of users, eMarketer predicts smartphone adoption will continue to register solid double-digit improvements through 2017, when almost half of the population will own the device.
A close look at the demographic cross section in Mexico reveals that smartphones appear to be the domain of slightly younger consumers than tablets. According to a February 2013 Google report, consumers ages 18 to 24 were the most likely to own the device, with a 60% penetration rate, followed by those ages 25 to 34 (48%).
By socioeconomic level, however, the CIU found in September 2012 that smartphone penetration was greater by a wide margin among mobile phone users in the better-off A/B SEL (47%), easily outpacing the upper-middle class C+ level (27%), which came in second. But while the wealthy have led the way in smartphone adoption, as the devices become more widespread, penetration rates among lower-income consumers will begin to catch up.
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