A new study from JWT explores digital behaviors across nine Latin American markets.

Digilats, a new study from JWT, explores digital behaviors across nine Latin American markets. As Internet access in these regions expands, it is making a fundamental impact: More than half of Internet users in all markets surveyed felt the Internet has changed their lives. The survey was conducted using SONAR™, JWT’s proprietary online tool, and polled 9,000 adults aged age 18-plus in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru, Puerto Rico and Venezuela.

As it is elsewhere, the Internet is playing an integral role when it comes to shopping. Shoppers spend significant amounts of time researching products online, especially bigger-ticket items. Latin American consumers are active readers and writers of product or service reviews. Venezuelans, Brazilians and Argentinians are the most likely to rate a product or service on a website or social network. With some Venezuelan retailers taking advantage of customers thanks to the current economic crisis, people are relying on user-generated feedback more than ever. And many Brazilians have gotten in the habit of reading “complaint” sites like “Reclaimeaqui.com.br” (“complain here”) before they make a purchase decision.

Brands must be aware of their online buzz and make certain they are part of the conversation. Community managers need to be viewed as vital members of the marketing team, as critical reviews can negate campaign investments. The mobile operator Movistar Argentina, for example, instills trust by maintaining a blog to answer customer questions, with users encouraged to answer one another’s queries.