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Despite a seemingly endless string of news reports about foreign companies reducing operations or leaving Argentina altogether in recent years, the country remains relevant in Latin America. It is the third-largest economy in Latin America by GDP, with $771 billion at purchasing power parity (PPP), according to 2013 estimates by the CIA World Factbook, and the fourth-biggest regional market by population, at more than 43.0 million in July 2014. Fully 38.9% belonged to the 25-to-54 set, with 0- to 14-year-olds trailing at 24.9% during that period. Registering a median age of 31.2 years, Argentina’s inhabitants were slightly older than peers in other major Latin American markets like Colombia (28.9), Peru (27.0) or Mexico (27.3) in 2014. However, the average age of people in Brazil (30.7) and Chile (33.3)—the largest economies in continental Latin America by GDP and GDP per capita, respectively—also skewed older.
Digitally, Argentina is also one of the keenest markets in the region. According to comScore Media Metrix, there were 18.6 million internet users in the country in August 2014. Though this figure excludes mobile devices and shared computers as well as individuals under 15 years old, it works out to 43.2% penetration when put against the CIA World Factbook population estimate. comScore found that an internet user gender gap no longer existed. Though an age gap persisted, it was already mimicking overall demographic trends, with 25- to 54-year-olds accounting for 58% of web users.
eMarketer defines internet users more expansively, including individuals of any age who access the web at least once per month using any device. By that definition, we estimate there were 27.1 internet users in Argentina in 2014 and expect the total to rise to 29.0 million in 2015, or 66.8% of the country’s population. In absolute internet user terms, Argentina is the third-largest digital market in Latin America and should remain so until 2018, when Colombia will take over with 31.3 million web users against Argentina’s 31.1 million
Among web users in Argentina, social networks are one of the most leveraged categories. eMarketer predicts 71.7% of the country’s internet audience—or 20.8 million people—will access any social network via any device on a monthly basis in 2015. Those figures mean that social network adoption as a percentage of the population will be higher in Argentina (47.9%) than the regional average (39.3%) in 2015. It will also put that country beyond all markets for which we produce individual estimates in the category.
Perhaps more telling about Argentina’s sophistication in digital communications is the degree to which consumers there access their social profiles via mobile devices. August 2014 polling by Carrier y Asociados found that 78% of mobile internet users in Argentina accessed Facebook via mobile—trailing only instant messaging. In addition, eMarketer estimates that Argentina will enjoy the highest mobile phone social user penetration in Latin America in 2015.
As social media properties go, Facebook is king in Argentina. eMarketer estimates there will be 19.7 million Facebook users in the country this year—representing 94.8% of social networkers, or the highest penetration worldwide. Twitter will have 4.4 million users in Argentina during the same period.
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