Continuous PNAD ICT 2019: Internet reaches 82.7% Brazilian households

April 14, 2021 10h00 AM | Last Updated: April 19, 2021 04h55 PM

Between 2018 and 2019, the percentage of households that used the Internet rose from 79.1% to 82.7%, an increase of 3.6 percentage points. In 2019, 12.6 million Brazilian households did not count with the Internet, either due to a lack of interest (32.9%), the access service be considered expensive (26.2%) or because no resident knew how to use the Internet (25.7%). The data are the IBGE´s Continuous PNAD, which surveyed the access to Information and Communication Technology - ICT in the fourth quarter of 2019.

Cell phones remained as the most used equipment to access the Internet, found in 99.5% of the households that accessed the Internet. Microcomputers ranked in the second position (45.1%), followed by TVs (31.7%) and tablets (12.0%). The use of microcomputers reduced by 3 p.p. and tablets, 1.4 p.p., though the use of TVs rose 8.4 p.p.

The per capita average income of the households that used the Internet (R$1,527) was twice the income of those that did not use the network (R$728). The per capita average income of those who used tablets to browse the Internet (R$3,223) was more than twice the income of those who accessed the network through cell phones (R$1,526).

The use of mobile broadband changed from 80.2% in 2018 to 81.2% in 2019; that of landline broadband increased from 75.9% to 77.9%. The use of mobile broadband (63.8%) was lower than that of landline broadband (80.4%) only in the Northeast Region. Between 2018 and 2019, the proportion of households with both types of broadband increased (from 56.3% to 59.2%) and the percentage of those using only mobile connection dropped from 23.3% to 21.4%, as well as those that used only landline broadband (from 19.0% to 18.1%).

Among 183.3 million persons aged 10 years and over in Brazil, 143.5 million (78.3%) used the Internet in the last three months of 2019. Young adults between 20 and 29 years of age were those who mostly accessed it. The use was bigger among students (88.1%) than among non-students (75.8%). Students from the private network (98.4%) used it more than those from the public network (83.7%).

In 2019, 81.8% of the students from the private network access the Internet through computers, against 43.0% in the public network. The use of TVs to access the Internet occurred for 51.1% of the students from the private network, twice that among the students from the public network (26.8%). The difference hit nearly three times in the use of tablets. Cell phones were the major equipment used to access the Internet by students in the public (96.8%) and private (98.5%) networks. The percentage of those who made either voice or video calls via Internet rose from 88.1% to 91.2%. The access to watch videos, movies and TV series increased from 86.1% to 88.4%.

The percentage of households with pay TV varied from 31.8% to 30.4%, with a reduction from 34.3% to 32.4% in urban areas and a rise from 14.9% to 15.9% in rural areas. Nearly 51.5% of those who did not have this service considered it expensive and 41.6% did not have any interest. The proportion of households that did not have pay TV and replaced it by the program schedule available on the Internet rose from 3.5% to 4.9% between 2018 and 2019.

Between 2018 and 2019, the percentage of the use of the Internet in the households increased from 79.1% to 82.7%. The accelerated growth of the use of the Internet in rural households – from 49.2% in 2018 to 55.6% in 2019 – helped to reduce the difference in relation to the urban areas, where the use of the Internet rose from 83.8% to 86.7%. This growth occurred in all the Major Regions, especially in the Northeast Region. Despite the increase of 5.2 percentage points in the period, it remained as the region with the lowest percentage of households accessing the Internet (74.3%).

The per capita average real income of the households that used the Internet (R$1,527) was more than twice the income of those that did not use the network (R$728). This difference took place in all the Brazilian regions.

In the 12.6 million households in Brazil that did not use the Internet, the three reasons that mostly stood out (84.8%) were: lack of interest to access the Internet (32.9%), expensive access service to the Internet (26.2%) and lack of knowledge on how to use the Internet among the residents (25.7%). In the additional 6.8% of the households, residents reported the unavailability of the network in the household area and 5.0% mentioned the high cost of the electronic equipment for the connection.

In urban areas, the percentage of households that did not use the Internet which mentioned the three major reasons highlighted above reached 91.9%. In rural areas, 19.2% of the households did not use the Internet because this service was not available in the locality, against only 0.6% in urban areas.

Access to Internet through TVs rises from 23.3% to 31.7% of households

Among the equipment used to browse the network in 2019, cell phones was already used in 99.5% of the households that accessed the Internet, virtually the same percentage of 2018 (99.2%). Microcomputers came in the second position (45.1% of the households with Internet), followed by TVs (31.7%) and tablets (12.0%). The use of microcomputers reduced by 3 p.p. and the use of tablets, 1.4 p.p., whereas the use of TVs increased 8.4 p.p. between 2018 and 2019. The use of cell phones remained stable.

While in the households that used tablets to access the Internet the per capita average real income was R$3,223, it was slightly lower in the households that used TVs and microcomputers (R$2,399 and R$2,339, respectively), reducing to R$1,526 in those that used cell phones to access the Internet.

Only in Northeast the use of landline broadband is bigger than that of mobile broadband

Concerning the type of connection used, both the mobile (3G/4G) and the landline broadband increased. In the households that used the Internet, the percentage of those using mobile broadband changed from 80.2% in 2018 to 81.2% in 2019. In contrast, the percentage of those using landline broadband increased from 75.9% in 2018 to 77.9% in 2019. On the other hand, the dial-up connection was becoming more and more irrelevant, having changed from 0.6% in 2016 to 0.4% in 2017 and to 0.2% in 2018 and 2019.

In the North Region, the percentage of households with landline broadband was 55.0%, quite below the figures in the other regions, which varied from 77.3% to 81.4%. Concerning the use of mobile broadband, the lowest percentage was in the Northeast (63.8%) and the highest one, in the North Region (88.6%).

The Northeast was the only region in which the percentage of households with mobile broadband (63.8%) was lower than that with landline broadband (80.4%). In the North Region, the difference between the percentage of households that used mobile broadband and landline broadband (33.6 p.p.) was quite bigger than in the other regions (from 1.0 p.p. to 9.8 p.p.).

The percentage of households with both types of connection increased from 56.3% to 59.2%. The percentage of households using only mobile broadband changed from 23.3% to 21.4%; in those only with landline broadband, it dropped from 19.0% to 18.1%.

Between 2018 and 2019, the percentage of Brazilian households in which the cell phone service worked for Internet or telephony changed from 89.2% to 89.9%. In urban areas, it rose from 92.4% to 93.2% and in rural areas, from 68.5% to 68.2%.

Access to Internet is more frequent among women and among youngsters between 20 and 29 years

More than three quarters (78.3%) of the Brazilian population aged 10 years and over (183.3 million persons) accessed the Internet in the reference period, a rise of 3.6 p.p. This percentage had been growing since 2016, when 64.7% of the population aged 10 years and over had used the Internet, changing to 69.8% in 2017, 74.7% in 2018 and 78.3% in 2019. The North (69.2%) and Northeast (68.6%) regions remained with figures below the other ones, although their increase was bigger between 2018 and 2019 (4.5 and 4.6 p.p., respectively).

In 2019, 79.3% of women used the Internet, slightly above the percentage reported by men (77.1%). The percentage was 77.7% in the age group between 10 and 13 years. It increased successively in the next age groups, reaching nearly 93.0% in the brackets between 20 and 24 years and 25 and 29 years, then declining down to 45.0% in the group aged 60 years and over. Yet, the growth between 2018 and 2019 was bigger in the groups between 50 and 59 years and aged 60 years and over (increase of 6.3 p.p. each).

Students access more the Internet, use reaches 98% among those in private network

In 2019, the percentage of persons who used the Internet was 88.1% in the group of students and 75.8% among the non-students. The use of the Internet increased in both groups, especially in the non-students one (4.0 p.p.). While 98.4% of the students in the private network used the Internet in 2019, this percentage was 83.7% among the students in the public network.

The regional differences in the use of the Internet were more evident among the students in the public network. In the North and Northeast regions, the percentage of students in the public network who used the Internet was 68.4% and 77.0%, respectively; in the other regions, this percentage varied from 88.6% to 91.3%. Considering only the students in the private network, the percentage of use of the network stayed above 95.0% in all the regions, virtually reaching the entire number of students in the South, Southeast and Central-West regions.

Access to Internet through computers and tablets dropped, whereas access through TVs and cell phones grew

In the population aged 10 years and over who used the Internet in 2019, the major means of access were cell phones (98.6%), followed by microcomputers (46.2%), TVs (31.9%) and tablets (10.9%). Within the households, the use of TVs to access the Internet increased (8.8 p.p.) and the use of microcomputers (4.5 p.p.) and tablets (1.1 p.p.) dropped between 2018 and 2019.

Among students, microcomputers (56.0%), TVs (35.0%) and tablets (13.4%) were the major means to access the Internet. Among the non-students, the percentages stayed at 43.4%, 31.0% and 10.1%, respectively. Cell phones were used by virtually all the students and non-students (97.4% and 98.9%, respectively).

Use of Internet to watch videos, TV series and movies reaches 88.4%

The percentage of persons who accessed the Internet to send or receive images, voice or text messages through applications other than email remained stable, yet it was still the highest one, standing at 95.7% in 2019. The second purpose was talking through voice or video (91.2%), a proportion that grew since 2016, as well as that of persons who used the Internet to watch videos, including TV programs, TV series and movies (88.4%). On the other hand, the reception of emails was reducing year after year, reaching 61.5% in 2019.

In 2019, 21.7% of the persons aged 10 years and over did not use the Internet in the reference period of the last three months. For this contingent of 39.8 million persons, the two major reasons reported were not knowing how to use the Internet (43.8%) and lack of interest (31.6%). The next two reasons were of economic nature and represented, together, 18.0%. The service to access the Internet not available in the places people used to go still ranked at 4.3%, being higher in the North Region (12.8%) and lower in the Southeast Region (2.0%), varying between 3.2% and 3.9% in the other regions. This reason was bigger in rural areas (10.6%) than in urban ones (1.5%).

In 2019, 89.3% of persons who did not use the network were not studying

In 2019, 89.3% of the persons aged 10 years and over who did not use the Internet in the reference period were non-students. Of them, 47.2% did not know how to use the Internet, 33.1% were not interested, 10.2% considered the service expensive, 4.5% stated that the equipment to access it was expensive and only 3.4% answered that the service was not available in the places they used to go.

Among the students who did not use the Internet, the financial reasons weighted more: 26.1% considered the service expensive and 19.3% considered the equipment to access the Internet expensive. Lack of interest (18.5%) and not knowing how to use the Internet (16.0%) registered a quite lower weight than for the entire population aged 10 years and over, whereas the unavailability of the services in the places they used to go recorded a higher weight (11.2%).

Most of the students who did not use the Internet were from the public network (95.9%) and the reasons for not using it followed the trend for the entire number of students, implying a higher weight for financial reasons (45.9%) and unavailability of the service in the places they used to go (11.4%). Among the students in the private network, the financial reason was more linked to the cost of the service (23.1%) than to the value of the equipment (9.2%), with a higher weight in the lack of interest (27.3%) and a lower one in the unavailability of the service (6.4%).

Ownership of cell phones for personal use surpasses 80% of the population aged 10 years and over

In 2019, the percentage of persons who owned cell phones for personal use in the population aged 10 years and over increased from 79.3% to 81.0%. In regional terms, the lowest percentages occurred in the North (69.7%) and Northeast (72.4%) regions. In the other regions, the percentages varied from 85.7% to 87.3%. Concerning sex, 82.5% of women and 79.3% of men owned cell phones for personal use.

Among those who owned cell phones for personal use, the parcel that access the Internet through these devices increased from 88.5% to 91.0% between 2018 and 2019. In rural areas, this percentage grew from 73.4% to 79.0%, below the urban areas, which increased from 90.2% to 92.3%.

The percentage was higher among non-students (82.9%) than among students (73.2%). However, while 92.6% of the students in the private network owned cell phones for personal use, this percentage was only 64.8% among those in the public network. The biggest difference (41.8 p.p.) against those in the private network occurred in the North Region, due to the low percentage of students in the public network owning cell phones (47.5%).

Of the entire number of students who owned cell phones for personal use, a contingent of 26.3 million persons, the parcel of those who accessed the Internet through these devices was of 97.8%, above the parcel estimated for the entire population aged 10 years and over (91.0%). Albeit students in the private network had more access to cell phones for personal use, the existence of the Internet in these devices did not differ much depending on the education network.

The lowest percentage of persons with cell phones for personal use was in the group between 10 and 13 years (47.2%). It rose sharply in that between 14 and 19 years (78.5%) and continued to increase, reaching the highest shares in the groups of young adults between 25 and 39 years (nearly 91.0%) and gradually declining down in that of midlife adults between 50 and 59 years (84.7%), with a steep drop in that of the elderly aged 60 years and over (67.0%). The percentage of persons owning cell phones for personal use increased in all groups, highlighted by youngsters between 10 and 13 years (3.7 p.p.) and the elderly aged 60 years and over (2.9 p.p.).

Among the students without cell phones, 29.6% used phones from other persons.

In the contingent of 34.9 million persons who did not own cell phones for personal use in 2019 – 19.0% of the population aged 10 years and over –, 27.7% alleged that the device was expensive; 22.6%, lack of interest in having cell phones; 21.9%, that did not know how to use cell phones; and 16.4%, that they used to use cell phones from other persons. The percentage did not reach 7.0% in each one of the other reasons.

These four reasons for not having cell phones were also the most reported by non-students, which represented 72.3% of the persons without cell phones. Among the students, the reason with the highest percentage was that the device was expensive (39.4%), followed by the reason of using someone else´s cell phones (29.6%). Lack of interest and the reason of not knowing how to use cell phones were alleged by only 12.1% of the students.

4.7% of households remain without any type of telephone

In 2019, 4.7% of the permanent private households (or 3.4 million households) did not count with neither landline or cell phones, a reduction of 0.4 percentage points over 2018. The absence of telephones remained higher in the households in the Northeast (9.0%) and North (8.8%) regions, whereas it did not surpass 3.0% in the other regions. In 2019, 24.4% of the Brazilian households counted with landline phones, a drop in relation to 2018 (28.4%).

The parcel of households counting with cell phones increased from 93.2% to 94.0% between 2018 and 2019. The households in rural areas had a lower percentage compared with those in urban areas, both in terms of cell phones (83.6% against 95.5%) and landline phones (6.0% against 27.2%).

The proportion of households with cell phones varied from 90.5% in the Northeast and 97.1% in the Central-West. The Southeast had the highest percentage of households with landline phones (35.6%) against only 8.0% and 9.3% in the North and Northeast, respectively.

Proportion of households with microcomputers and tablets drops

The results between 2016 and 2019 pointed out a slow decline in the proportion of households with microcomputers: they represented 41.7% of the total in 2018 and 40.6% in 2019. In this period, the percentage fell from 46.0% to 44.8% in urban areas, whereas the decrease was from 14.3% to 13.1% in rural areas.

Tablets were much less common in households than computers. Between 2018 and 2019, the percentage of households with tablets changed from 12.5% to 11.3%. In urban areas, this indicator changed from 13.8% to 12.5% and, in rural areas, from 3.8% to 3.3%. Most of the households with tablets also had microcomputers.

In 2019, the per capita average income was R$789 for households with neither microcomputers nor tablets, and R$2,183 for those that had at least one of them.

In households with TVs, income is twice those without TVs

The percentage of households that had TVs remained virtually stable: 96.3% (in 2018, they were 96.4%). The per capita average real income in the households with TVs (R$1,440) was nearly twice that of those without TVs (R$772).

The proportion of households with widescreen TVs sharply increased (from 53 million to 57 million) and retracted in the households with CRT TVs (from 23 million to 18 million). The percentage of households with only widescreen TVs rose from 66.9% to 73.9% between 2018 and 2019, whereas that of those with only CRT TVs dropped from 23.0% to 18.4% and that of those with both types of TVs reduced from 10.1% to 7.6%.

Number of TVs with converter to digital signal increases

In 2019, 63.1 million households counted with TVs with converters to receive the digital signal of open TV, even when not receiving it, which comprised 89.8% of the households with TVs in Brazil. In 2018, this percentage was 86.6%. It increased in urban areas (from 89.9% to 92.4%) and, more intensely, in rural areas (from 64.1% to 71.4%). The highest growths in the percentage of households with converters to receive digital signal of open TV occurred in the North (from 81.5% to 87.0%) and Northeast (from 76.2% to 81.4%) regions.

Satellite dishes, a resource to capture TV signal in areas not fully served by terrestrial antennas, reduced in the Brazilian houses, from 30.0% in 2018 to 27.0% in 2019. This indicators fell from 24.6% to 21.8% in urban areas and from 66.7% to 63.6% in rural areas. The per capita average real income of the households with satellite dishes (R$1,002) was 37.6% lower than that of the households with TVs without this type of antenna (R$1,607).

Proportion of households without access to TVs falls from 3.1% to 2.4%

In 2019, 1.7 million households, 82.7% of them in urban areas, did not counted with converters, did not receive TV signal through satellite dishes nor had pay TV service.

Between 2018 and 2019, the proportion of households without any access to TVs other than analog signal fell from 3.1% to 2.4%. In urban areas, the drop was from 3.0% to 2.3% and, in rural areas, from 4.1% to 3.4%. Indeed, the Continuous PNAD ICT has been noting a fast reduction of this indicator since 2016 (10.3%).

Pay TV service drops in urban areas and increases in rural areas

In 2019, 30.4% of the households with TVs in Brazil had access to pay TV service, a proportion which was 32.4% in urban areas and 15.9% in rural areas. The percentage in urban areas reduced from 34.3% to 32.4% between 2018 and 2019, and changed from 14.9% to 15.9% in rural areas. The Southeast Region maintained the highest percentage (38.9%), whereas the Northeast Region remained with the lowest one (16.7%).

The per capita average income of the households with pay TV (R$2,425) exceeded by far those without this service (R$993). In 2019, the income in the households with satellite dishes (R$1,002) represented 41.3% of that in the households with access to pay TV service (R$2,425).

Among the reasons reported for not acquiring the pay TV service, 51.5% considered it expensive and 41.6% did not have any interest. The percentage of households that did not have pay TV because they replaced this service by programs through the Internet reached 4.9%, whereas the percentage of those that did not have it as it was not available in the household location reached only 1.4%.