Digital Landscape in Latin America

July 2021

While Latin America’s digital landscape is less well developed than other regions globally, most measures continue to improve, with Coronavirus (COVID-19) also having served to drive the digital landscape development in 2020. With locked-down consumers working and learning at home, as well as shopping and entertaining themselves a lot more in an online environment, they were increasingly turning to digital solutions during the pandemic.

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Key Findings

Pandemic adds impetus to the digitalisation process

The digital landscape received a boost during the COVID-19 pandemic, with many people working or learning from home. Organisations, companies, retailers and consumers were all forced to lean more on online services and the digital world in 2020, with this continuing into 2021. The surge in interest in remote bill payments, for example, was seen in UnDosTres, a new app launched specifically to help Mexican consumers complete their remote bill payments, reporting a 50% increase in transactions over the course of 2020.

Mobiles driving digitalisation of society

Mobile internet access is becoming more commonplace in Latin America thanks to the increasing ubiquity of smartphones. Players are helping to drive this with attractive plans for consumers, meaning that many have their first internet access via their mobile. With digital payments encouraged for hygiene reasons during the pandemic, this also encouraged greater use of phones, as well as financial cards, for both remote and proximity payments.

Mercado Libre targets unbanked population

Mercado Libre’s Mercado Pago digital payment system has been successful in targeting consumers who do not have a credit or debit card but wish to take advantage of non-cash payment methods. Mexico has a substantial unbanked population, comprising around 35% of the population, and Mercado Pago offers such people the opportunity to make purchases online.

5G on the way, but likely with a delay

Preparations are being made for 5G, with countries in the region hoping to have networks in place or being trialled in the coming years. However, 5G rollout is expected to be slower in Latin America than in some other regions, such as North America, which is expected to be well ahead of Latin America by 2025.

Introduction

Scope
Key findings

Regional Overview

Percentage of the population using the internet rising in Latin America
Mobile internet subscribers far outstrip fixed broadband in Latin America
Smartphones helping drive digital inclusion in the region
Mobile internet penetration growing much faster than fixed broadband
Mobile phone the preferred method to access the internet
Chile the leader in terms of subscribers with fast fixed broadband
LTE/WiMAX access sees strong growth in 2015-2020

Country Snapshots

Argentina: Market Context (1)
Argentina: Market Context (2)
Brazil: Market Context (1)
Brazil: Market Context (2)
Chile: Market Context (1)
Chile: Market Context (2)
Colombia: Market Context (1)
Colombia: Market Context (2)
Mexico: Market Context (1)
Mexico: Market Context (2)
Venezuela: Market Context (1)
Venezuela: Market Context (2)

Forecast Projections

Internet penetration continues rising in Latin America
Mobile internet penetration will continue growing in 2020-2025
Mobile internet will move further ahead of fixed broadband penetration
Home and mobile connectivity will continue growing in Latin America
Chile to continue setting the pace in subscriber numbers at faster speeds
LTE/WiMAX will continue catching 3G coverage over 2020-2025
Key takeaways
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