Latin America Ready for the Web

  • by January 19, 2001
Latin America is primed for an online baby boom as 49% of the region's 9.9 million Internet users are under the age of 24.

According to the new eLatin America Report from eMarketer, overall e-commerce revenues, fueled by advances in the B2B segment, will increase substantially to $67 billion by 2004.

Total e-commerce revenues in Latin America reached $3.6 billion in 2000, with B2B transactions of $2.85 billion and B2C transactions of $724 million.

The report also reveals that Brazil, with 3.9 million current Internet users, continues to dominate all Latin American countries, accounting for 40% of the region's total Internet usage.

"Brazil is by far the leading market for Internet commerce in both the B2B and B2C segments," said Noah Elkin, Senior Analyst at eMarketer. "All countries, however, will see impressive growth in e-commerce revenues over the next few years, although the B2B sector will grow most quickly."

Three countries: Brazil, Mexico and Argentina, account for approximately 65% of the region's 9.9 million internet users with Brazil boasting 3.9 million, Mexico with 1.5 million and Argentina with 1 million. Argentina, the report says, is also the only country in Latin America truly poised to offer broadband Internet access over cable lines.

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eMarketer found that the percentage of the Latin American population with a PC is exceedingly small, ranging from a low of 3% in Peru to a high of 10% in Argentina. As for Internet usage, in Chile, 31% of workplace PCs have an internet connection, which is high for Latin America. The lowest? Current estimates put internet penetration at 1% of the population in Columbia

In Mexico, 1.5 million children (14+ years) were active Internet users in 2000. By 2004, that number will grow to 6.4 million.

The report also say that the Internet user population in Latin America is heading toward gender parity.

Given the limitations of the region's fixed-line infrastructure, Latin Americans are turning to wireless as an alternative. There are 4.5 million wireless subscribers in Venezuela - one of the first countries in Latin America where mobile phone usage outnumbers fixed-line connections.

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