SANTIAGO: Internet penetration in Chile is amongst the highest of any Latin American country, but digital advertising expenditure there lags behind the regional average, according to eMarketer.

The insights provider noted that 70.5% of the Chilean population could access the internet in 2015, a figure far higher than the regional average of 53.5%.

And while digital ad spending there is forecast to increase 15% in 2015 to reach $164.5m and to account for a 13.5% share of total media ad budgets, this last figure remains behind the average for the region, at 16.3%.

This is attributable in part to an economic downturn, and in part to the slowness of the ad industry there to innovate.

The situation will of course change in the future as more advertisers follow global trends and explore the potential of the digital – and mobile – channel.

A few more years of double-digit growth are predicted for digital – 14.0% in 2016 and 12.0% in 2017 – before slowing to 8.0% in 2018 and 6.0% in 2019. By then, total spending will be $240.4m and will account for 18.5% of all media expenditure.

Mobile has achieved even greater penetration than digital, at around 130% of the population for the past four years. Currently smartphone user penetration stands at 55.5% of mobile phone users and is projected to rise to 72.8% by 2019.

But mobile internet ad spending represents just 11.4% of all digital ad spending, and while it is growing fast – 170.0% in 2014 and 120.0% in 2015 – this is from a very low base; total spending this year will amount to just $18.7m.

Brazilian advertisers, in comparison, will spend $599.3m on mobile in 2015, representing 17.6% of total digital expenditure.

Chilean mobile spending will roughly double to $35.6m in 2016, according to eMarketer, with further significant increases taking it to $60.6m in 2017, $96.9m in 2018 and $137.6m in 2019, by when it will account for 57.2% of all digital ad spending.

Data sourced from eMarketer; additional content by Warc staff