BUENOS AIRES: Argentina is the third most highly engaged social networking market in the world, with online users spending an average of 9.1 hours per month on social media according to new research.

The 2013 Argentina Digital Future in Focus report from comScore, the digital measurement company, is based on its Media Metrix data which covers 250,000 respondents in 44 countries and identifies prevailing trends in web usage, online video, mobile and e-commerce.

Time spent on social media far exceeded that of the other leading categories. On average, Argentinians spent three hours on services, 2.8 hours on entertainment and 2.7 hours on news/information.

The study also said that internet users in Argentina were the most likely in the region to view online video content. More than 95% had done so in August 2013.

Online retail was growing in popularity, with such sites reaching some 74% of the total online audience. Alibaba.com was the fastest gaining property among the most-visited retail websites, growing 96% over the in the past year.

The fastest growing site categories in terms of unique visitor numbers were food retail, up 128%, albeit from a low base, followed by technology/news, up 97% and music retail, up 94%.

And following global trends, mobile phones and tablets accounted for a growing amount of digital traffic. Almost 8% of web-based page views are now consumed beyond the personal computer, predominantly on smartphones and tablets.

The Argentinian online population tended to be older than the regional average, however, with nearly 25% of internet users aged over 45 against 20% for Latin America as a whole.

Conversely, younger age groups were less well represented, with 15-24 year olds making up 29.2% of online users, versus a regional average of 32.6%. Comparable figures for 25-34 year olds were 27.4% vs 28.0%, and for 35-44 year olds 11.8% vs 12.1%.

Data sourced from comScore; additional content by Warc staff