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Chile remains highly digital and mobile for its size. Although an overall economic downturn and a sometimes slow-to-innovate ad industry have delayed major increases in digital advertising, digital ad spending is likely to grow steadily in the coming years, as advertisers wake up to its possibilities, as explored in a new eMarketer report, “Digital Ad Spending Benchmarks in Chile: Consumers Far Ahead of Marketers in Digital Uptake.” Chile’s internet penetration rate among the total population, 70.5% in 2015, is the highest among the Latin American countries that eMarketer studies in detail and higher than the regional average of 53.5% this year.
And yet, digital ad spending remains contained. eMarketer projects expenditures on web ads will rise 15.0% to reach $164.5 million in 2015. While such level of investment amounts to a 13.5% share of total media ad budgets this year—up from 11.7% in 2014, it also puts Chile behind Latin America’s 16.3% average in the category.
A high level of mobile penetration is another reflection of the country’s embrace of digital. According to telecom regulator Subsecretaría de Telecomunicaciones (SUBTEL ), mobile connections have long achieved widespread penetration in Chile, hovering at around 130% of the population since 2011.
The number of mobile phone users in Chile will total 12.8 million in 2015 and will rise to 13.5 million by 2019, eMarketer predicts. With more than 73% of residents using mobile phones this year, the country will lead the top six mobile markets we track individually in Latin America (the others are Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico and Peru). Moreover, smartphone user penetration in the country will climb from 55.5% of mobile phone users in 2015 to 72.8 in 2019, keeping Chile tops in the region throughout the forecast period.
Mobile internet ad spending, however, is lagging far behind consumers. While investment in the category will soar 120% to reach $18.7 million in 2015—a leap coming on the heels of triple-digit expansions in the past two years as well, this is still a nascent market growing from a very small base. Mobile will represent just 11.4% of all digital ad spending in Chile this year. By comparison, the regional leader in the category, Brazil, will spend a total of $599.3 million, or 17.6% of its digital ad outlays, during the same period.
eMarketer corporate subscription clients can view the full report here.
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