Brazil’s rapidly expanding mobile internet market is largely fueled by a growing middle class. These users’ preferences for cheaper devices to access the mobile internet and flexible prepaid data options have helped bring some 28 million new mobile phone internet users online in the past two years.
eMarketer estimates 53.5% of Brazil’s online population—53.1 million people—will be mobile phone internet users this year. Based on current trends, by 2017 almost all internet users in Brazil, and close to 60% of the country, are expected to go online through mobile phones.
May 2013 data from Navegg, a Brazilian web analytics company, reported that middle-class consumers—or members of the socioeconomic class C— accounted for 63% of feature phone and smartphone internet users in Brazil. This is almost twice as many as the share from the wealthier A and B classes.
At 35%, the 18-to-24 age group accounted for the greatest percentage of total mobile internet users. Mobile phone internet users tended to be younger than overall internet users in Brazil, among whom 25- to 34-year-olds accounted for 38% of total internet users. The mobile internet user base also skewed younger than tablet internet users, of which 36% were between 35 and 59 years old.
Though still heavily skewed toward middle-income consumers, 38% of tablet internet users were from wealthier classes, compared with 31% of mobile internet users. For both device types, the lower income D and E classes took very small shares.
Reflecting the income distribution across Brazil’s fast-growing mobile internet market, feature phones are still the predominant device, with smartphones reaching only a fifth of mobile phone users, according to eMarketer. As device prices drop and mobile networks continue to expand, even more of the mobile growth should shift towards the middle class.