NEW YORK: This year will be a tipping point in Brazil as more than half the population goes online with a subsequent boost for ecommerce, two reports have said.

Insights provider eMarketer predicted that 107.7 million Brazilians, or 53.1% of the total, would be using the internet during 2014, up from 49.3% a year earlier. This proportion was expected to increase to 59.5% by 2017.

It noted that in other markets, passing the 50% marker typically led to a growth in ecommerce and mcommerce as well as the blurring between online and offline media.

But, initially at least, Brazilian consumers are more likely to be e-browsing than e-shopping. eMarketer said that while almost 72m would be looking for products and services online, less than half that number would actually complete purchases.

Figures from market research firm Ystats were slightly higher, as it said more than 40m were already shopping online in the first half of 2013 with the total expected to pass 50m by the end of the year.

Its observation that price comparison websites were especially popular, with the highest ranking site having more visitors than the sites of top retailers, lends weight to the view of Brazilians still being at the browsing stage.

When they were buying, the leading product categories were household appliances and fashion items.

Ystats further noted that domestic players such as online marketplace MercadoLibre, online retail business B2W and price comparison site Buscape held strong positions within the market but were being challenged by international names such as Wal-Mart and eBay, attracted by the potential surrounding this year's FIFA World Cup and the Olympic Games in 2016.

The effect of those events will be felt beyond Brazil itself. "The region is living a huge moment and this is being reflected in a positive way by advertising investment," Alejandro Rosado, associate strategy director at Starcom MediaVest Group, told last year's Festival of Media LatAm in Miami. (Warc subscribers can read a full report: Media trends in Latin America: Mobile, outdoor and digital.)

He too expected that 2014 would see "movement of global clients" in the direction of multimarket initiatives, as they sought to "impact not only the entire region but the world with a single strategy and message" during the World Cup.

Data sourced from eMarketer, PR Newswire; additional content by Warc staff