Latin America, as a region, is in the middle of the global pack when it comes to pretty much every metric of internet usage. This year, based on eMarketer estimates of internet usage around the world, 309.5 million people in Latin America will go online at least monthly—making the region third in the world, after Asia-Pacific and the Middle East and Africa.
That will amount to 51.0% of the population of Latin America this year, making internet penetration there fourth-highest worldwide, after North America and Western Europe, and just half a point behind Central and Eastern Europe.
The region jumps to second place when it comes to growth in 2014, registering an estimated increase of 9.8% in users, just under the 10.2% growth expected in the Middle East and Africa. Growth will slow, though, and beginning in 2016, Latin America will lag Asia-Pacific growth rates as well, continue to register lower internet penetration than Central and Eastern Europe, and account for just 10.5% of the world’s internet market by 2018—compared with a 49.9% share in Asia-Pacific, for example.
Within the region, Brazil will dominate digital life throughout eMarketer’s forecast period. While it doesn’t have the highest internet penetration in the region—that honor is held by Chile, where two-thirds of residents are online this year—Brazil’s large population overall means it accounts for around one-third of all internet users in the region this year. That ratio will remain fairly static throughout eMarketer’s forecast period.
By the end of our forecast period, we expect nearly three-quarters of people in Chile to use the internet each month from any device, along with about seven in 10 residents of Argentina and two-thirds of those in Colombia.
eMarketer bases all of its forecasts on a multipronged approach that focuses on both worldwide and local trends in the economy, technology and population, along with company-, product-, country- and demographic-specific trends, and trends in specific consumer behaviors. We analyze quantitative and qualitative data from a variety of research firms, government agencies, media outlets and company reports, weighting each piece of information based on methodology and soundness.
In addition, every element of each eMarketer forecast fits within the larger matrix of all its forecasts, with the same assumptions and general framework used to project figures in a wide variety of areas. Regular re-evaluation of each forecast means those assumptions and framework are constantly updated to reflect new market developments and other trends.