SANTIAGO: Over 90% of internet users in Latin America now access social networks, according to figures from comScore, the research firm.

In a new study, the company revealed that 114.5m people in the region utilised these platforms during June 2011, up 16% year on year, and equivalent to 96% of the online population.

Uptake levels reached 90.8% in Brazil and Mexico, delivering 43.9m and 20.7m users respectively. Argentina and Colombia saw engagement rates pass 95%, on 12.5m people and 12.7m people in turn.

Penetration also hit 96% in Peru and Venezuela, as well as 94% in Chile, although this represented less than 7m individuals apiece.

Facebook boasted 91.1m Latin American members, ahead of Windows Live Profile on 35.6m, Orkut on 34.4m and Twitter on 24.4m. LinkedIn was further back on 7.3m, and MySpace logged 6.6m users.

More specifically, Facebook was the number one site in Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Peru and Venezuela, attracting more than 85% of social network users in each case.

Orkut, owned by Google, led in Brazil, where 81.7% of netizens had signed up, beating Facebook on 56%. Google+ also posted its highest uptake in Brazil, on 793,923 members, double any other market.

Regarding usage time, Argentina's panel spent an average of ten hours on social sites in June, versus 8.7 hours in Chile, 8.4 hours in Colombia, eight hours in Venezuela, 6.6 hours in Peru and 4.9 hours in Brazil.

At present, men contribute 50.9% of the regional social networking audience but 46.4% of usage time, measured against scores of 49.1% and 53.6% respectively for women.

"Social networking has become an essential part of consumers' digital lives over the past several years," Alejandro Fosk, comScore's SVP, Latin America, said. "It has redefined the way consumers interact with content and with each other."

Elsewhere, the study found 74.6% of Latin American web users read blogs, dedicating 22.7 minutes to this material in June. Brazil led on both metrics, with an 85.2% penetration and dwell time of 32.5 minutes.

Just 14.2% of the web audience accessed sites offering deals and coupons, again headed by Brazil, on 26.1%, trailed by Chile's 14.5% and Argentina's 12.1%. Groupon was the most popular service, with 4.1m visitors.

Data sourced from comScore; additional content by Warc staff