Mobile is a mixed message in Mexico. On one hand, mobile phone usage is nowhere near as common as it is in other major markets in Latin America. On the other hand, smartphone penetration among the country’s mobile users is comparatively high.
Lack of competition in the mobile industry has kept mobile data plan and device prices out of reach for many consumers in Mexico. But with high smartphone penetration among the top-earning socioeconomic groups in the country, mobile carriers are thinking of ways to put smartphones in the hands of the broader, less-banked and credit-card-lacking portions of the population, according to a new eMarketer report, “Mobile Mexico 2014: Consumers and Advertisers Meet in the Smartphone Market.”
Smartphone use more than doubled in 2012 and grew nearly 50% again in 2013. eMarketer estimates an additional 6.1 million people will be added to the country’s smartphone user population in 2014, totaling 33.3 million, or more than one-quarter of the population.
Marketers and advertisers have been quick to move into mobile in Mexico, where mobile ad spending will outpace every other market in Latin America through 2014.
According to the Interactive Advertising Bureau Mexico (IAB México) and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), annual mobile marketing revenues—including development/production costs and ad spending—reached MXN794 million (more than $60.3 million) in 2012, a 98% year-over-year improvement. Mobile ad spending represented 86% of the total, or MXN683 million (nearly $51.9 million), and was by far the driving force behind mobile marketing revenue growth, recording a 104% increase between 2011 and 2012.
IAB México and PwC found display advertising, including mobile browsers and games/apps, represented 79.3% of mobile ads served in Mexico in 2012. Reflecting those findings and perhaps the evolution in the market, mobile ad network StartMeApp reported that 74% of mobile ads it served in Mexico in Q2 2013 went to smartphones.
Looking ahead, eMarketer predicts investments in mobile internet ads in Mexico will expand an additional 87.7% in 2014 to reach $173 million. That total works out to a 19.2% share of digital ad spending this year—a considerably higher portion compared with Latin America’s average of 6.5%, but still behind North America, where mobile will account for 29.5% of digital ad spend in 2014.
The full report, “Mobile Mexico 2014: Consumers and Advertisers Meet in the Smartphone Market,” also answers these key questions:
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