With MEF Connects Sao Paulo just a week away, Ricardo Bastos, General Manager for MEF LatAm shares his top 10 things you need to know about mobile in Brazil, an essential rundown for doing business in the exciting Brazilian marketplace.
1) It’s huge!
With a population of 200 Million, Brazil has 278 Million mobile phones in use, making it the 4th largest market in the world, after China, India and the US. Its smartphone user base is estimated at 89.5 Million, the 5th largest in the world, (behind the same four and Indonesia)… and is growing at an annual rate of around 22% every year.
The market represents a massive opportunity for any business, to capture the attention of this huge number of internet and mobile users with such (relatively) low smartphone penetration
2) It’s a very competitive market
Unlike many of its neighbouring Latin America countries, there is no dominant network operator. The four major carriers – Vivo, Claro, TIM and Oi – enjoy a reasonably balanced market share, in terms of mobile subscriptions at, 29%, 27%, 25% and 18%, respectively. This is partly due to how these carriers grew through the acquisition of state-scoped carriers, but also due to the the country’s extreme social and economic diversity, which allows for totally different business strategies, customer segments and value propositions.
3) The network operators remain dominant
With communications being one of the recurrent, stable and accounted costs in peoples’ lives, the relationship between users and network operators is an established and trusted one which ensures the MNOs remain dominant in the market place. Trust is the keyword here, and brings us to…
Pushed by a combination of high numbers of unbanked individuals (38% of the population) and expensive compliance legislation for online retailers, carrier billing is expected to experience strong growth in Brazil in the next few years. Microsoft, for example, has announced new partnerships for carrier billing, with Windows Phone becoming the first global smartphone platform to bring carrier billing to the country and the rest of LATAM.
5) Brazil outstripped the rest of the world in mobile content and commerce growth in 2014
The most recent MEF Global Consumer Survey indicated that the number of Brazilians making any kind of purchase using a mobile phone surged from 49 per cent in 2013 to 61 percent in 2014. This was the highest growth amongst all the surveyed countries.
6) Brazilian consumers purchase high-value goods on mobile
Together with Mexico, Brazil has contributed to South America’s first place in “Heavy spending” via mobile. 46 per cent of their mobile spend on physical and digital products can be described as ‘heavy’ in relation to income according to the MEF Global Consumer Survey.
7) Mobile ad spend is expected to continue its booming expansion
2014 marked the third consecutive year that mobile ad spending more than doubled, year on year, in Brazil. It represents an 18-fold growth since 2011, and now stands at US$ 237M. This represents only 8.7% of total online ad spending, a very low percentage for an emerging market and continuous growth in this sector is predicted.
8) The “App Economy” is only just getting started
Despite a growing app marketplace , with many start-ups gaining increasing market awareness, a true app ecosystem is yet to form in earnest. In 2013, the whole of Latin America contributed only 6% of total world app market value. As the products’ quality improve, issues around poor data network quality, consumer trust and low credit card penetration will remain relevant barriers to growth.
9) Legislation is king
Recently, the Brazilian Government passed two laws that will undoubtedly impact the dynamics of the mobile market: the Internet Law – dealing with topics such as Net Neutrality, Data Protection and Data Storage – and the Epayments law, which defines the rules to operate payments and other forms of cash.
10) MEF Latam welcomes you to São Paulo
MEF was launched in Latin America in 2010, headquartered in São Paulo, Brazil. Its first mission was to address the Brazilian VAS market’s lack of regulation by developing the VAS Code of Conduct – signed by 50 market players, most notably including the four major carriers. Later endorsed by all Brazilian regulatory bodies, it officially represents the whole mobile industry.
Today, MEF continues to play a central role in the country’s mobile industry, acting as an impartial and authoritative champion for addressing issues affecting the broadening mobile ecosystem in the region and providing all members a platform to connect in this exciting market.
On May 5th, MEF hosts MEF Connects São Paulo, our largest networking event in Latin America. Supported by Mozilla, TIMWE, Digital Virgo, AVG Technologies, Terra Networks and Easy Taxi, all major mobile companies in Brazil, 200+ senior execs are expected to attend the evening offering unparalleled networking in the local market for local and international players.
The event is co-located with Tela Viva Móvel, the major Brazilian conference in for the mobile industry, on May 5-6 and hosts 500+ mobile industry people. I look forward to meeting many of our members and guests there.
There is still time to register for MEF Connects São Paulo supported by Mozilla, TIMWE, Digital Virgo, AVG Technologies, Terra Networks and Easy Taxi – join over 200 mobile leaders at the essential networking and knowledge sharing event of Tela Viva Móvel 2015 – as an official partner MEF members can secure a 20% discount on delegate passes – find out more on the MEF website.