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The mobile industry accounts for between 4% and 5% of Latin America's economy, compared with about 2% in more developed markets such as the US and major European countries. And there's no doubt that this is one of the world's biggest mobile markets. In early 2015, regional operator America Móvil boasted nearly 300 million subscribers in 18 countries. eMarketer estimates that the total number of mobile phone users in Latin America will pass 396 million this year—compared with 258 million in the US.
Moreover, Latin America boasts a fast-growing population of smartphone and tablet users. eMarketer estimates that more than 155 million residents in the region will use a smartphone in 2015. Just two countries, Brazil and Mexico, will be home to a combined total of nearly 100 million smartphone users in 2016. These figures shouldn't obscure the potential of further growth to come; regional smartphone penetration hasn't yet passed 40%, though it will do so come 2016.
The fifth annual edition of eMarketer's Global Media Intelligence Report, produced in conjunction with Starcom MediaVest Group, analyzes recent developments in Latin American economies, which began to enter recession at the start of this year. It also includes demographic and media usage information on audiences in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela.
Globally, social networking tends to be a major driver of mobile internet use, and Brazil—Latin America's largest smartphone market—is a prime example of this trend. eMarketer estimates that over 67 million people in the country will visit social sites via mobile in 2015, equal to 77.9% of social network users. In 2019, nearly 88% of the country's social networkers will use a mobile phone to keep up with contacts in those networks, and the mobile social population will reach 90.5 million.
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