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Digital media adoption in Mexico continuous to show stark contrasts stemming primarily from socioeconomic status but also age and gender. While penetration rates for mobile phone and internet usage remain subdued compared to Latin American averages—and below similarly or more developed economies elsewhere—smartphone uptake is high.
eMarketer estimates the number of smartphone users in the country will reach 34.1 million in 2014. Predictably, adoption of the advanced mobile device has come on the shoulders of consumers from top-earning AB and C+ socioeconomic levels (SEL), among whom internet and smartphones are common place.
According to data released by The Competitive Intelligence Unit (CIU) in November 2014, there were 8.1 million tablet users in Mexico in Q2 2014, 72.3% more than in Q2 2013.
Similar to smartphone adoption, tablets are spreading more quickly among consumers at the top of the socioeconomic pyramid. Google and TNS Infratest found that tablet penetration stood at 34% among Mexico's high-income population in March 2014, compared to 14% among low-income consumers.
Without a doubt, higher price points are at play, keeping tablets off-limits for a large portion of the population, especially those living below the poverty line (52.3% in 2012 according to World Bank data based on national standards). Tablet prices, however, have dropped from MXN5,867 ($460) to MXN5,284 ($414) in the past year, said the CIU.
As devices become more affordable, the configuration of the tablet market is changing dramatically. According to the CIU, Apple held a commanding 72% share in Q2 2012 but dropped to 44% by the same quarter in 2014. And while Samsung added 7 percentage points to reach a 25% slice of the pie in Q2 2014, the real story is about the "other" brands—with several low-cost manufacturers in the mix— which went from 2% in 2012 to 30% of the market this year.
Beyond device prices and consumers' SEL, a closer look at the demographics of tablet users reveals an uncommon user mix, especially at such an early stage of adoption. Hardly anyone would be surprised by the Google/TNS Infratest finding that under-25s are the group most likely to own a tablet (26%). That rate gradually drops as age increases, reaching its lowest among consumers 55 and older (10%).
But when broken down by gender, fully 18% of both men and women polled were tablet users. Penetration rates by gender in categories like mobile phone (79% vs 73%), smartphone (44% vs 37%), computers (47% vs 42%) and gaming devices (12% vs 7%), all tilt decisively male.
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