The 2021 Puerto Rico Digital Trends Study by the Puerto Rico Sales and Marketing Executives Association (SME) shows an increase in Internet access and use of digital media in Puerto Rico by increasing the incidence from 78 percent in 2019 to 85 percent in 2021.
This is equivalent to 2.4 million people, over 12 years old, digitally connected. This growing trend of Internet use was accentuated with the arrival of COVID-19.
"An important area of opportunity for local entrepreneurs is the rise in e-Commerce. Not only did the percentage of people who shop online increase, but also the amount they invest," said Anitza Cox, director of analysis and social policy at Estudios Técnicos, a firm commissioned by SME Puerto Rico to carry out the study. A conservative exercise based on the results of the study, estimates online sales at $457,825 million ($457.8 billion) annually.
Regarding local commerce, “among those users who make purchases online, 37 percent made purchases on local sites in 2019, while in 2021 it increased to 51 percent," Cox added.
"Parallel to the increase in activities related to the context of the pandemic, such as education and remote work meetings, the incidence and frequency of use of messaging services, consumption of videos and music, the purchases and sales of goods,. and online services has grown. This represents a greater integration of digital media in the daily life of the consumer," Cox explained.
In Puerto Rico, 2.8 million people over 12 years of age have a mobile phone, this being the main means from which Internet users connect (96 percent). In fact, in the case of internet users, 99 percent have a smartphone. Android continues to be the most used type of phone (58 percent), followed by iPhone users (42 percent).
Smartphones have become the main channel for making online purchases, with 79.4 percent of users doing eCommerce. In the services area, the use of applications aimed at money transfer stands out 73.5 percent, with ATH Móvil being the favorite with 99.5 percent; food services, 27.9 percent (Uber Eats 82.6 percent and Uva! 7.2 percent); transportation services, 22.3 percent ( Uber 94.3 percent); supermarket shopping services, 14.9 percent (Supermax Online 38 percent, EconoToGo 24 percent and Sam's Club 24 percent), and gasoline payment services, 5.1 percent.
The main activities carried out by online users are led by entertainment through videos and music, followed by social networks, search queries and messaging services, with the WhatsApp app being the most used, occupying the first place with a 97.1 percent. On average, users are connected for 14 hours for personal, work and study purposes.
The use of media in a typical week puts traditional television and social networks at the same level, both reaching 70.6 percent of use, with radio 56.8 percent, video streaming 49.2 percent, and Music Streaming 43.2 percent completing the first five places.
Moreover, hen measuring behavior on social networks, it appears that 94 percent of people have a presence on a social network. Although Facebook stands first place with 84 percent, it is worth highlighting the increase in YouTube use from 48 percent in in 2019 to 71 percent in 2021. Of the social media users, 374,000 people have joined social communities focused on Cooking (27.8 percent), Sports (25.6 percent), Health (21.1 percent), Shopping (18.9 percent), and Religion 18.9 (percent), to mention the top five.
The 2021 Digital Trends Study was conducted through a personal survey, in two stages, which included a total sample of 673 people aged 12 and over.