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Brazil’s large population, deepening internet penetration and early embrace of social media have created one of the largest social media markets in the world. With 78.3 million people—or 79% of its internet users—on social networks, Brazil will be home to almost a third of Latin America’s social network users in 2013, according to a new eMarketer report, “Brazil Social Media: The Mobile Middle Class Goes Social.”
The number of social network users in Brazil continues to grow at a rapid clip. eMarketer estimates that Brazil will have the fifth-fastest social network growth in the world this year. The only drag on growth will be that social network usage is already widespread among the country’s internet users, leaving relatively little room for further gains. However, Brazil’s internet penetration is still only at 50%, so there are plenty of new internet users yet to come, and ample room for them in the social space.
At the same time, Brazil is an increasingly mobile market. Affluent users—the vast majority of them already on social networks—are adopting smartphones and tablets at a rapid pace, raising expectations that their usage is likely to shift to these devices. Lower-income users—those who will drive much of the growth in social network usage in Brazil—will access the internet on lower-priced feature phones, using low-cost, flexible mobile data plans and an expanding mobile broadband network.
comScore’s 2013 report on Brazil’s digital space showed that social media sites became the top website category in terms of time spent online by Brazil’s internet users as of June 2012, surpassing portals and “services” sites, which include email sites. By December 2012, internet users in Brazil were spending, cumulatively, 158% more time on social media sites than they had in December 2010.
For brands in Brazil that rushed into the social space, amassing followers, fans and subscribers, the emerging consensus is that when measuring success, counting the number of fans is not the same as engagement.
A May 2013 study from in-market consultancy Gauge found that Brazil’s social network users perceived a disconnect between the content that brands posted and the information that they, the users, sought on social sites. Less than 17% of Facebook users ages 26 and older (a demographic estimated to represent 54% of Facebook’s user base in Brazil) said they enjoyed humorous content posted on brand pages, which was perceived to be the most frequently used engagement effort on the social site.
Consumers in Brazil do welcome the idea of receiving customer assistance via social networks. Media consultant eCRM123 in December 2012 found that 94% of the country’s social network users favored the idea of receiving customer assistance through social media sites.
A willingness to engage with brands for customer service suggests that social commerce could have a bright future in Brazil. Indeed, eCRM123’s study found that 77% of users had a positive attitude toward shopping and buying via social networks.
The full report, “Brazil Social Media: The Mobile Middle Class Goes Social” also answers these key questions:
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