Internet Trends in Mexico

Internet usage has soared in 21st century Mexico, but few Mexicans employ the service to conduct financial transactions. On the eve of World Telecommunication and Information Society Day, May 17, Mexico’s National Institute of Statistics, Geography and Informatics (INEGI) released data on patterns and trends in Internet usage in the United State’s southern neighbor.

According to the government agency, the number of Mexicans who use the Internet at least on a monthly basis jumped from 7.1 million users in 2001 to 40.9 million in 2012. Of the population more than six years of age, 40 percent now navigates cyberspace, the INEGI reported.

Not surprisingly, Mexican Internet users tend to be young, with 76 percent of them, or 31 million people, under the age of 35. Children aged 6 to 11 are also big cybernauts, with 4.7 million kids in the elementary school age group regularly exploring cyberspace.

15.9 million Mexicans log on every day, joined by another 20.8 million who do so each week. Almost sixty percent of Mexican Internet users use the technology mainly for information-gathering and/or communication purposes, with 31.1 percent harnessing it primarily for education.

While 28.8 percent of all users utilize the Internet for entertainment, only 2.7 percent perform their banking on the network. A mere 1.1 percent of all users reported doing government business with the technology.

In 2012, about one-quarter of all Mexican households were connected to the Internet, even though the percentage of homes with computers was higher at 32.3 percent. Nearly sixty percent of people with home computers but no Internet access attributed the situation to a lack of financial resources. Unlike the United States, many people still rely on commercial Internet cafes to carry out their computer-related tasks.

In a Latin American context, Mexico lags behind Uruguay, Chile, Argentina, Costa Rica, and Brazil in terms of the percentage of households with Internet access, but is ahead of Paraguay, Peru and Colombia.

On a broader international scale, Mexico is at the bottom of the list of Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) member states for household Internet access, falling behind countries like Turkey and Poland. The OECD Internet home access average stands at 71.6 percent- nearly three times higher than the Mexican statistic.

In great numbers, Mexicans still shy away from doing business on-line. According to the INEGI, merely 2.2 million people use the Internet for selling and buying goods.

Sources: La Jornada/El Diario de Juarez, May 15, 2013.

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