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Smartphones and Tablets Go Head-to-Head for Digital Purchases in Brazil

In Brazil, smartphones are shaping in-store consumer behavior

Tablet and smartphone sales in Brazil have grown tremendously in the past three years, and their increased presence in the market is helping shape internet usage in the country.

Research released in November 2013 by PricewaterhouseCoopers reported that in 2012, approximately three out of 10 of Brazil’s digital buyers had completed purchases via mobile devices—28% on tablets and 31% on smartphones. By 2013, purchasing via both device types had seen significant growth, with 40% of digital buyers in the country making a purchase on a tablet or smartphone.

At these levels, tablet and smartphone purchases in Brazil were quite in line with the worldwide averages, while also being slightly higher than the respective shares in more developed mcommerce markets such as Great Britain and France. However, purchases in the country still fell short of China’s massive mobile purchase penetration among digital buyers.

But in today’s omnichannel world, the role of mobile devices is not limited to the act of making a purchase, be it on the go or on the couch. This becomes especially relevant when considering the greater mobility afforded by smartphones.

A September 2013 study by the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) and IBOPE Nielsen Online found that 51% of smartphone owners in Brazil used their phones to compare prices while shopping at brick-and-mortar stores.

Perhaps more interesting than the general propensity to use smartphones for shopping is how the device can both incentivize and detract consumers from completing offline purchases. MMA/IBOPE found that while 37% of consumers gave up buying an item in a store upon comparing prices on a smartphone, 22% had actually visited a store after seeing an advertisement on their phone. In addition, 28% of smartphone owners were further engaged by a particular product at a store because they remembered it from a smartphone ad, again showing how mobile does not have a fixed role in the path to purchase.

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