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Internet Users in Mexico Faster to Adopt Mobile Devices

High-income internet users spearheading device adoption

In December 2011, a global study by UM (formerly Universal McCann) titled “The Business of Social: Social Media Tracker 2012,” found that smartphone and tablet penetration rates among active internet users in Mexico stood at 45% and 16%, respectively, outpacing those of the US and Canada.

The study focused on the active internet universe and defined the group as those ages 16 to 54 who used the internet at least every other day.

For comparison, the Interactive Advertising Bureau México (IAB México) survey “Estudio de consumo de medios digitales entre internautas mexicanos 2011,” conducted by Millward Brown in July–August 2011, found that 33% of internet users in Mexico owned a smartphone, up from 14% in 2010. In the same period, tablet ownership went from 4% to 7%.

A closer look at the methodology of the IAB México survey shows that 40% of respondents belong to the ABC+ socioeconomic level, the top-earning group. With a per-capita GDP one-third that of the US and higher-priced devices due to exchange rates, early adopters in Mexico can be assumed to be some of the highest earners in the country.

When measured against a broader base, like mobile phone users (eMarketer estimated 59.1 million mobile phone users in Mexico in 2011, compared to 40.4 million internet users), smartphone penetration drops considerably. The Competitive Intelligence Unit (CIU) found that smartphone penetration among mobile phone users in Mexico was 14% at the end of 2011.

The stark difference in adoption rates is likely to be narrowed as prices of advanced mobile devices drop. However, high-earning internet users will continue to lead mobile device adoption more strongly in Mexico than in other markets.

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Check out today’s other articles, “Will Brands See User Engagement on Google+?” and “Social Is Sticky for Companies in Canada.”

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