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ARGENTINA | 11-02-2019 00:17

Nine in ten young adults in Argentina use social media, new study finds

Developed countries are becoming more devoted to smartphone technology – and Argentina is no exception.

With social networks and apps such as Instagram and WhatsApp become a daily, almost hourly, part of Argentine life, young adults in are swarming to social media platforms throughout the country, a new survey has revealed.

Data published by the Pew Research Center shows that nine out of ten Argentines aged 18 to 34 use social media, while just 38 percent of those 50 and older say that they use social platforms.

Developed countries are growing more devoted to advanced mobile phone features as young adults dominate smartphone ownership, Pew reported. Some 84 percent of Argentine adults under 35 say they own a smartphone, while 77 percent of people 35-49 and just 42 percent of people over 50 own a phone with features like mapping and Internet browsers.

Smartphone ownership figures have grown across the board Argentina since 2015, the survey showed. From 2015 to 2018, the percentage of adults under 35 that own a smartphone grew from 71 percent to 84 percent, while 35-49 year olds jumped from 56 percent to 77 percent.

Older folks are buying new phones, too: the numbers of Argentines over 50 who own a smartphone has more than doubled from 20 percent to 42 percent over the same period.

Rates of smartphone ownership vary widely by country, even across advanced economies. While around nine-in-ten or more South Koreans, Israelis and Dutch people own smartphones, ownership rates are closer to six-in-ten in other developed nations like Poland, Russia and Greece, Pew explained in an article about the report.

Argentina’s smartphone ownership rates, an average of 68 percent of all adults, are typical of an advanced economy. But 17 percent of people in Argentina say they own no mobile phone at all, a number much higher than the usual advanced economies. Only six percent of people in the United States, for instance, don’t own a mobile phone. Argentina’s 17 percent of non-phone-owners actually matches the average of those in emerging economies who don’t own a phone.

Younger people in each country surveyed are much more likely to have smartphones, access the Internet and use social media. Large majorities under the age of 35 own a smartphone in all of the advanced economies surveyed by Pew. Older populations in advanced economies, however, vary widely in smartphone ownership, ranging from just about a quarter of Russians 50 and older to about nine-in-ten older South Koreans, Pew reported.

Social media use is also more common among those with more education. In Argentina, 66 percent of those with less education are connected on social media, while 84 percent of those with more education are present on the platforms. An average of 68 percent of adults in Argentina log onto social media at least occasionally, just over the 67 percent median among advanced economies.

In every country surveyed, those with higher incomes were more likely to own a smartphone than those with lower incomes. Of the 68 percent of people in Argentina who own a smartphone, 78 percent were people with higher incomes and 60 percent were people with lower incomes.

Despite these climbing figures, recent reports say the global smartphone market is chilling due to high prices. 2018 was the worst year to date in global smartphone sales, but analysts still say that it’s still a must-have technology for people around the world.

"They don't have a viable replacement yet," independent Silicon Valley analyst Rob Enderle said of the smartphone. He explained that some consumers are holding off on replacing their devices amid price hikes for premium devices like Apple's iPhone.

During a recent earnings call, Apple chief executive Tim Cook agreed that people were holding onto their iPhones longer.

Cook contended that another reason for slower iPhone sales was that telecom carriers were cutting subsidies of handsets tied to service contracts, meaning customers were faced with paying full price of US$1,000 or more for high-end models.

"People don't want to spend another thousand bucks to replace something that isn't broken," analyst Enderle maintained. "In emerging markets you can't get people to pay a quarter of their monthly income for a phone; they are not giving up food for texting."

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Anna Laffrey

Anna Laffrey

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