Should Latin America Fall in Love with Shopper Mobile Research?

Armando Mora and Fabio Martins
Ipsos, Mexico and UK


The smartphone revolution has taken the world by storm. As people leave the shackles of their desks and computers, more and more are using just their phones to access the Internet. In developed countries, smartphones are reaching unprecedented levels of penetration: a recent Ipsos On-line survey conducted in October 2011 revealed that in Great Britain, for example, 48% of people use a smartphone.

In Brazil, half of the sales of mobiles were smartphones in the last six months. Perhaps what is more interesting is that smartphone usage in some emerging countries is even greater: for example, smartphone usage in China has reached 56% and in India 59%. Latin America is well on its way as well, with 25% of Brazil and Mexico using smartphones and substantial growth expected. For emerging countries, smartphones underpin a skip forward in technology which many markets, including those in Latin America, will use to close the gap to more developed markets. Many people in emerging countries who do not own a computer will be purchasing the next HTC or iPhone. This generates a pattern in Latino societies in which the pattern followed by other markets of a gradual technological transition, for example from fax machines to computers to mobile phones will be skipped: why bother with a fax when you can get a smartphone?