Research Profile: Online Consumer Research – in Emerging Markets


New York – Increased Internet penetration and adoption of online habits in Latin America is making online consumer research a more effective and reliable tool. A few recent studies and online surveys reveal the potential of this research tool in Latin American markets.

Emerging markets have been slow adopters of the Internet forcing investors interested in consumer research to rely on time-consuming and expensive techniques such as telephone or face-to-face survey work. According to a study by The Boston Consulting Group (BCG), while PC penetration in the US or Japan exceeded 90% by the end of 2010, it barely reached 32% in Brazil, 20% in China, and a mere 5% in India and Indonesia. The figures for Internet usage are even lower. In Brazil, for example, only one-third of PC owners had an internet connection and only 17% of these users used mobile internet in 2010.

The trends are changing, astonishingly fast, toward increased usage in these markets. Latin American countries are among the fastest adopters of new technologies, thus becoming ideal scenarios for online consumer research. According to ComScore, an online trends analysis firm, countries such as Brazil and Mexico have experienced usage increases of over 20% per year in the last three to four years.

In addition to having more Internet users, Latin American Internet users are relying more on the web than in the past. A recent study by livra Panels, an online panel research firm revealed that an overwhelming majority of Internet users in Mexico (82%), Brazil (90%) and Argentina (90%) are accessing the Internet on a daily basis. They stayed connected between 2 to 5 hours (North American users spend an average of 32 hours per month online).

A very revealing fact about the great potential for online consumer research in Latin America is the response rate that livra saw in its study. Over 10,000 consumers in Mexico (3,109), Brazil (3,657) and Argentina (3,366) agreed to participate in their online survey about Internet usage. This response rate could be valuable for an investor interested in these markets.

Online consumer research in Latin America is becoming a valid option. Not only consumers are adopting the Internet, but also consumer Research is one of the few kinds of primary research that has not been singled out for potential risks of burdening investors with material non-public information.



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