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Smartphone Users in Latin America Reaching for Android Devices

iOS was strongest in Mexico, where it powered 36.4% of smartphone internet traffic

Data signaling an end of the two-horse operating system (OS) race in Latin America continues to emerge, and Android appears to be winning. According to Guía Local, a digital urban guide service akin to Yelp, Android powered 61.3% of smartphone internet traffic in Latin America during 2013. iOS and Windows Phone followed at a considerably large distance, securing market shares of 28.1% and 4.9%, respectively.

Android registered the highest shares of smartphone online traffic in Panama (80.6%), Bolivia (75.0%) and Argentina (74.6%). The Google OS was so dominant in these markets that second-place iOS came at least 55 percentage points behind. In extreme cases like Argentina, where protectionist policies and a deeply embattled economy have made it nearly impossible for consumers to own an iPhone, the gap between Android and iOS stretched to nearly 65 percentage points.

While little doubt is left at this point that Android is winning the race in Latin America, markets like Mexico and Colombia, the second- and third-largest countries in the region by population, remained open battlegrounds. According to Guía Local, in 2013, iOS claimed a 36.4% smartphone traffic share in Mexico and a respectable 31.8% in Colombia. At those levels, Apple’s OS trailed Android by 16.2 and 22.6 percentage points, respectively.

But even in those markets, the battle of the mobile operating systems may be coming to an end. The Competitive Intelligence Unit found that manufacturers of Android-based devices were outpacing Apple’s growth in Mexico, with Samsung taking the top stop among smartphone manufacturers as early as Q1 2014.

eMarketer estimates the number of smartphone users in Latin America will grow by 28.3% to reach 145.6 million in 2014.

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