Brazilian and Mexican consumers spend more time online than they do watching TV, Forrester Research reports. This is one of the findings of a study it conducted with 4,000 urban users in these two countries to observe online habits.

Overtaking TV in countries where telenovelas and soccer game broadcasts are ubiquitous is quite an achievement. However, the report must be taken with a grain of salt. Not only was it conducted online, but it also solely focuses on users based in metropolitan areas, when Brazil and Mexico have huge regional disparities.

Still, it gives a clear idea of the global trend – cities are still growing, and their new inhabitants are likely to adopt a similar behavior. More precisely, the study confirms a few trends we already knew:

  • Social networks are hugely popular in the region, with nine out of ten people visiting one on a regular basis, and Facebook is now the dominant platform in both countries since it overtook Orkut in Brazil.
  • Internet penetration is still lower than in Europe and North America, but it is growing. By 2016, Forrester expects online adoption to increase in Brazil to 57% and in Mexico to 48% – vs. the current 47% and 38%.

Forrester Latin American online adoption forecast 520x333 Forrester: urban consumers in Brazil and Mexico spend more time online than watching TV
The study also reveals new insight into online habits across social classes. When access is available, lower-income users are as interested in using the Internet as their richer counterparts, Forrester found out.

As a matter of fact, mobile phones are very common, and serve for multiple purposes – phone calls, but also radio and social networking devices (see our story about smartphone usage in Brazil). Some of them obviously also grant Internet access to their users, although mobile Internet is more popular in Mexico than it is in Brazil.

According to Forrester, this data should help brands understand that mobile is critical for success in Latin America, and other local specificities. As Forrester analyst Roxana Strohmenger writes:

“Understanding these first adopters of the [Latin American] online world will allow companies to test their online and mobile strategies and build successful voice of the customer programs that resonate with this highly social and entertainment-driven consumer market.”

Yet, it may take a little time for the e-commerce market to bear fruits, and Forrester acknowledge that it is still in the research phase. While local users research products on the Internet, they don’t necessarily make the actual purchase online. However, we previously reported that the market is changing fast, as millions of Latin Americans are making their first online purchases. In Forrester’s words, this means that ”the time to experiment in Latin America is now.”