There are numerous Latin American market research companies that have been producing highly insightful online research for many years. However, Internet usage throughout the region historically has been much lower than in other developed regions of the world, and thus online research has lagged somewhat behind. Yet over the past couple of years the region’s Internet usage has skyrocketed; according to a comScore report from earlier this year, Latin America’s online population grew faster than any other global region in 2011. Much of this growth is due to increasing mobile penetration, which is projected to hit 130% by 2015 according to a recent study conducted by Pyramid Research. Clearly mobile device usage, including smartphone usage, is beginning to catch up with other parts of the Americas.
The fervent adoption of mobile and web technologies, along with growing populations and strengthening economies, is resulting in significantly increasing demands for products, services and ecommerce throughout Latin America. The economic outlook is on a par with that of the U.S. – and brighter than many other parts of the world, with the UN’s Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean forecasting 2013 growth to be 3.8% on average throughout the region. Brazil, the region’s lead market, is projected by Bloomberg to grow at a rate of 4.2% next year. With economic expansion expected to continue over the next several years as well, market researchers should be paying close attention to this region…the need for brands to understand how best to market goods and services to Latin Americans will result in a boon for the market research industry.
Attracting the desired respondent bases and keeping them engaged in online research is not without its challenges, however. Latin America is comprised of nineteen countries each with its own cultural and socioeconomic factors that must be considered, and Internet access varies country to country. Still, market researchers who are attuned to the differences and who understand the potential of the region will generate insights that can accelerate this growth. Social media will undoubtedly play a large role in online research recruitment; eMarketer reports that 68.9% of web users in Latin American are regular visitors to social sites (which is well above the global average of 61.9%). Combined with high mobile phone and tablet usage rates, Latin America is poised to embrace new MR methodologies.
Research companies looking to enter into or expand their presence in this region should be seeking out inventive strategies for conducting impactful research with Latin Americans. One such opportunity that Kinesis is electing to take part in is the upcoming Insight Innovation Exchange conference being held March 25-26 in Sao Paulo. This conference series aims to assist attendees in the rethinking of how to best reach today’s consumers globally and generate insights that guide impactful business strategy. Sao Paulo was selected as the host locale for the event since it is the largest city in South America, and a hub of economic and technological transformation in the region.
Latin America is going to be a major focal point of market research activity in the coming decade and, we believe, one of the brighter spots for expansion of online data collection in our industry. There is opportunity to uncover purchase decision insights and drive new marketing strategies throughout this fast growing and influential region like never before.