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Smartphones: The New Brazilian Passion and the Opportunity for Market Research

With consumers going digital, multi-tasking and having the world at their fingertips, everywhere and anywhere, researchers should embrace mobile research methodologies and technologies now.


Editor’s Note: It’s been a while since we  had an entry in ‘The Global View” series, so today’s post from Adriana Rocha of eCGlobal is well timed. It’s also a great reminder that for emerging markets, mobile IS the internet, and in many cases these countries will leapfrog the PC and Broadband phases and go straight to mobile as the dominant connectivity model. This poses massive implications for market research and Adriana helps explore those a bit in her article.

If you want to join Adriana, I and other thought leaders, visionaries, innovators, and change agents in charting the course of the future of Market Research, join us July 18-19 in Cincinnati, Ohio for the North American edition of the Market Research in the Mobile World conference. You’ll get a global view as well as a peek into the future; this is one event you simply can’t afford to miss!

By Adriana Rocha

It’s no news that Brazilians are passionate about social networking and that they are one of the most active Internet users worldwide. In fact, Brazil recently surpassed India and has become the 2nd biggest country on Facebook!  But in addition to the social media phenomenon, there is another big movement happening in the country that will surely vie for our attention as researchers: the fast growth of the Brazilian smartphone market.

With cheaper devices (prices went down 33% in 2011**) and a growing variety of models, smartphones have become a new Brazilian passion!  In 2011, retail sales of smartphones in Brazil grew 179% versus 26% of mobile phones in general*. 10 million new devices were sold last year alone – that’s double the number sold in 2010.Varied socio economic classes are making a run on these new devices. The age of a booming smartphone market in Brazil is looming.

2011 was also a milestone for Android devices in the Brazilian market.  As per Nielsen, at the end of 2010, Android had only 16% of market share against 60% of Symbian. By the end of 2011, the situation had reversed.  61% of all Smartphone’s sold were Android devices, 19% Symbian, 9.7% Windows, 5.5% Apple iOS and 2.7% Blackberry OS. With manufacturers such as Motorola, Samsung, LG, ZTE and Huawei overflowing the market with cheaper devices and telecom companies offering attractive post-paid plans with internet access, we will continue to see an exponential growth of smartphones in Brazil. More and more Brazilian consumers will go mobile/ social through their devices.

With an eye on this trend, and in order to better understand the consumer’s perspective around the theme, last month we conducted a study with 1,190 smartphone users. This study was conducted within our Brazilian online panel and communities that contain more than 300,000 people nationwide. We found that almost half of Brazilian internet users have smartphones (the penetration is even higher among men (52%). And the good news for market research is that half of them are willing to participate in surveys and other activities using their smartphones.

Among other interesting findings, we identified that smartphones accompany Brazilians from the time they wake up till bedtime. About 79% of women consult their phones before leaving bed in the morning and right before going to sleep where the percentage rises to 82%. Among men, 72% use the devices in bed before sleeping, and 66% when they wake up. Sometimes the device is also used when consumers are shopping, helping them to choose products and compare prices. Approximately 69% of participants have this practice – which is more frequent among women and individuals in younger age groups.

The use of social networks appears as one of the most performed actions by Brazilians through their smartphones (82%), after making calls at 96% and sending SMS at 95%. Women are the heavy users of social networks via handsets; 86% of them view their profiles through their devices. The habit of reading emails through the devices is also recurring, 82% of respondents do always or sometimes. 91% of respondents said their smartphone is so essential in their daily life, and they cannot even leave the house without it.

With consumers going digital, multi-tasking and having the world at their fingertips, everywhere and anywhere, researchers need to take the opportunity to interact with them, gathering real-time insights, opinions and feedback. There is no doubt; researchers should embrace mobile research methodologies and technologies now.

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