This article will give you an overview of how Internet has been used by Brazilians, mapping their habits and the most accessed websites in Brazil.
In 2010, there were more than 81 million internet users in Brazil, which is almost half of the country's population. Out of this amount, 31% use Internet cafés and 27% access internet from home. The rest is divided between the users who access the web from work, mobile phones or friend's houses.
In major cities you can find facilities where people can use internet for free. Most of them are concentrated on train and metro stations or public schools.
As more and more people have been using internet through their mobile phones, wi-fi connections have been available in some establishments, such as coffee-shops, universities, libraries and even on the streets, as it happens with enterprises such as Baixada Digital.
Such democratization of internet access has led to several different usages for this tool and has substantially affected life in Brazil. The most important will be discussed in this article.
Internet for Fun
According to IBGE, 83% of the internet users in Brazil use the web for communication and 68% see it as leisure.
Internet café owners state that most of their costumers come to the establishment seeking online games or access to social networks and IM. Despite the growth of Facebook, the most popular social network in Brazil still is Orkut, with 75% of all internet users in Brazil.
Online Banking and Shopping
Despite the significant growth of Internet among Brazilians, they are still very suspicious when it comes to online banking and shopping. According to IBGE, only 19% of the Internet users in Brazil use the web to shop and deal with banking transactions.
The main problems are: some people still do not feel safe when filling in an online form with personal information; some others only have access to Internet at public places and do not feel comfortable with other people around when they are accessing their bank account; and some others simply do not know how to do it.
When it comes to shopping, besides all the problems presented by those who refuse to use online banking, there is also a concern involving the quality of the product offered online when compared to those bought at regular stores.
In Brazil, the most sold products on the Internet are:
- Cell phones;
- Electronics in general (MP3 players, cameras and video games).
The majority of the online shoppers belong to classes A and B and spend an average of BRL 118,00 every month. Most of them use the Internet to compare prices (80%) and 96% of these consumers have a high level of interaction with social networks.
Still according to IBGE, more than 65% of the Internet users in Brazil see the web as an educational tool, often used as a source for school papers.
With the advent of online education, Brazil currently has 1,2 million online students. Initially most of them were elementary school teachers who were going through updating courses or graduation students, but more and more undergraduate courses are offered online, requiring that the student only goes to the university a few times during the school year.
Internet as a Political Tool
Internet was pointed out as a political tool by 71% of Brazilians aging 18 to 24 years old. Social networks such as Facebook and Twitter have been used to organize protests and manifestation, reaching a significant number of people.
Some examples are the organization of a manifestation against the rising of the price of public transportation in São Paulo city and the Workers Party (PT), who created a network in which people could participate in the preparation of the government plan.