World Cup 2014, protests and public support

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As might be expected the Brazilian news media is hotting up with World Cup related material... 

Last week whilst at the Maximidia event here in São Paulo the results of a survey conducted by Exame magazine about Brazilian executives expectations for 2014. Interestingly they seem to indicate that most executives are convinced that next year will bring new protests but also that the Copa 2014 will not have a major impact upon their company. Elsewhere, one of Brazil's most prominent sports journalists Juca Kfouri wrote in his column that the likely manifestations or protests will likely have a major impact upon Brazilians ability or desire to participate in public events and celebrations around the football event, something which will likely have major implications for potential brand activation here in Brazil next year. Research in the past few days which appeared on Brazil's primary news programme Jornal Nacional has however shown that 63% of Brazilians support the World Cup either partially or in full. 73% also believe that they will win the tournament.  Finally, not such good news for locals and gringoes alike is the fact that if todays newspaper reports are to be believed internal airline flights will go up 10x during the World Cup.    


OPEN WARFARE? - Social Networks, moral panics and media battles

Two quick images from the past 24 hours which say a lot about the on-going battles between between traditional and new media companies and within social network giants of Facebook and Orkut.The first comes from the front page of today's Sun newspaper in the UK. Picture 8 I don't have exact figures on the differing user/purchaser numbers for The Sun and Facebook over the past 3 years but one can imagine they look like opposing slopes of major Alpine mountain. As scare stories about the demonised social network continue, quite what the longer term impact impact on consumer attitudes to both The Sun and Facebook would be interesting to explore. I would be interested to know just whether some of the same scare stories are emerging in the old media of other countries? The second image comes from my own Facebook page yesterday Picture 7 Is this all out warfare between Facebook and Orkut? Just what are the relative merits and weaknesses of both social netowrks - please let us know your thoughts...

Corinthians join the Cruisers

Picture 5Having been to the local derby between Sao Paulo and Corinthians on Sunday I was interested to see that the Timão as they are known (Corinthians for the uninitiated) are just one of a number of Brazilian brands and organisations that are joining the specialist cruise holiday market. Specialist cruises may not be especially new but in the past have been more associated with specialist consumer groups such as the gay market. However in recent years the phenomenon has grown into a number of new areas. One of the most popular and established is the cruise established by singer (and increasingly entrepreneur) Roberto Carlos. Now in its 6th season the cruise will set sail twice this year with the crooner joining his most avid fans (and a host of sponsos - including Nestle) afloat for a few days of hero worship to celebrate the clubs centenary. and just to show that the faithful worship in many forms of church these days, the first Catholic cruise will also depart this year. We just hope no-one gets on board the wrong ship by mistake.

Twitter goes mainstream in Brazil

As Twitter goes increasingly mainstream in the UK, as witnessed in its increasing use in radio phone-ins on the BBC it looks like its about to do the same here in Brazil. Or is it? This weeks Epoca magazine devoted it's cover to the rise of the phenomenon here in Brazil. However, we're asking a few of Brazil's most prolific Twitter addicts what this means for the application here.... more to come shortly

...oh and as if you don't yet know what Twitter is...

Mobile Phones - targetting the periferia

an interesting story taken directly from ther Guardian newspaper last week about how mobile companies are targetting residents of the periferia in Rio "When Alan Roberto Lima was growing up in Vila Aliança, a notoriously violent favela on the western outskirts of Rio de Janeiro, only the community's elite could afford mobile phones.

"The bandits and the big businessmen," said Lima, 33, whose family has lived in the community since 1962, when the government evicted thousands of slum dwellers, including his mother, from the city centre and packed them off to housing estates such as Vila Aliança. Today things have changed. Just as the heavily armed drug traffickers have seized control of the slums since the 1980s, so too have mobiles.

"Cell phones are just like cellulite - any old bum has it," said Lima, who pays R$140 (£40) a month for his Nextel radio phone with 400 free minutes and which helps him run his beachwear business, which produces over 1,000 pairs of Bermuda shorts each month for the chic boutiques of Ipanema and Copacabana.

Brazil is at the forefront of the mobile phone revolution. According to figures released last month by Brazil's telecommunications regulator, Anatel, 1.3 million new mobile phone users were registered in January 2009 alone, taking the total number of users in Brazil to 151.9 million out of a total population of 190 million. On the frontline of the mobile phone's charge in South America are the red brick shanty towns of cities such as Rio and São Paulo. Mobile phone companies are increasingly targeting the slums in search of new customers.

"Without my mobile, my business would become unviable," said Lima, whose family business helps dress Rio's fashionable beachgoers."

Social Networking - Brazil in Global Context

A new study released by Nielsen reports the shift in the online social behavior. Nielsen’s study results presented here followed the online activity in the USA, Brazil, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland and Australia. Note that the ‘Member Community’ category includes both social networking and blogging websites. 1. Social network and blogging sites are now the 4th most popular activity on the Internet

Social network and blogging sites are now the 4th most popular activity on the Internet (overcoming personal email) with 67% global reach as to December 2008. That is 5% more of what they attracted a year ago.

online activities 08 global Social Networks and Blogs Reached Largest Growth Among Top Online Activities – Nielsen’s Global Research

The strongest growth comes from Germany (much due to Facebook launching a German language interface in March 2008) now reaching 51% of Germans online compared to 39% a year ago (12% increase). Large growth has also occurred in the UK, Spain, Italy and Switzerland (about 10% growth in each country). The US growth at this time was minor (2.6% growth) suggesting a saturation of the online social activity of the US population.

online reach social networks global1 Social Networks and Blogs Reached Largest Growth Among Top Online Activities – Nielsen’s Global Research

2. Due to Facebook’s success - time spent on ‘member community’ sites grow three times the rate of overall Internet growth

The overall time spent online globally increased by 18% between December 2007 and December 2008. In the same period, however, the amount of time spent on ‘Member Community’ sites rose by 63% to 45 billion minutes; and on Facebook by a massive 566% – from 3.1 billion minutes to 20.5 billion. Facebook’s time is so high due to having the highest average time per person (three hours 10 minutes).

time online 08 Social Networks and Blogs Reached Largest Growth Among Top Online Activities – Nielsen’s Global Research

In most of the countries monitored the share of time accounted for by ‘Member Communities’ has more than doubled. In Switzerland, share of time has tripled from 3% to 9.3%. A year ago ‘Member Communities’ accounted for one in every 15 online minutes globally – now it accounts for one in every 11. In Brazil alone, ‘Member Communities’ accounts for almost one in every 4 minutes. In the UK they now account for one in every 6 minutes (up from every 13 minutes a year ago) and in Italy one in every 7 (up from one in 14 a year ago).

growth time online by country 08 Social Networks and Blogs Reached Largest Growth Among Top Online Activities – Nielsen’s Global Research

3. Facebook has driven older people to be socially involved online:

While social networks started amongst the younger audience, today’s audiences are becoming broader and older. This shift has primarily been driven by Facebook, successfully opened opportunities of social networking to a much wider audience.

facebook growth age 08 Social Networks and Blogs Reached Largest Growth Among Top Online Activities – Nielsen’s Global Research

Brazilians pay highest cell phone bills in the world

Cellular owners in Brazil pay more for the use of their mobile telephone than any other country in the world. The data comes from the International Telecommunications Union (ITU). According to the criterion of Purchasing Power Parity (PCC), which has reference to the price of a basic package offered by the operators - which includes the monthly cost of subscription, 25 calls per month and 30 torpedoes (SMS messages) - the Brazilian spent on average R $ 107.00 per month on a cell phone, equivalent to U.S. $ 44.20. In 2008, the cost of local cellular minutes in peak hours was $ 0.92, while in Germany the figure was $ 0.06.  The Brazilian also pays above the global average for use of their phone to connect to the internet. Operators claim that the principal reason for such high charges are taxes which in some states constitute 40% of the overall bill.

The inactive and the hyperactive in Brazil

The headlines that we read in the Brazilian press stated that one in five Paulistas (residents of the State of Sao Paulo) are sedentary although the findings seem to throw up some other interesting trends in terms of excercise and phsysical activities in Brazil.   According to a recent study on behalf of the State government and The Brazilian Health Ministry, 19.4% of respondents did not meet the recommendations of the World Health Organization (WHO) for the accumulation of 30 minutes of physical activities, at least five days a week. However there appears to simultaneously be a divide between those who do little or no excercise and those who are extremely active - where nubers have grown since 2006. Result from Sao Paulo were replicated in the control sample of Curitiba where those doing minimal excercise grew from 3.9% to 9.8% and the very active rose from 11.8% to 16.8%. The research showed also that women remain more physically active than men.

The results come from research conducted in 2008 with 2,600 people of both sexes, over 14 years, of different ages, education, social classes and occupations in the city of São Paulo and 13 other regions of the state.

Class C and the Credit Crunch Crisis in Brazil

As noted frequently on this blog, recent years have seen the expansion of the middle class (Classe C) in Brazil. At the end of 2008, this "slice" has already totaled 53.8% of the population, according to research from the Getúlio Vargas Foundation (FGV), which, with a greater purchasing power, began to consume more and helped the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) Brazil to record a 3% growth over the past four years. But this Sunday (15), which saw the celebration of World Consumer Day, with credit tighter and unemployment on the rise, evidence seems to point to the fact the Brazilian is "tightening their belt." And it is exactly this new C class being forced to make more adjustments in their spending. The consumption of durable goods within this class are seemingly increasingly competing with the basic household budget. In February, according to the Getúlio Vargas Foundation (FGV), the consumer confidence reached its lowest level since the survey began in 2005. "Lack of trust has influenced the pattern of consumption or habit that is Brazilian," says Professor Mark Luppi, Retail Management Program (Sample), the Fundação Instituto de Administração (FIA). According to experts, the time to put the foot on the brake "on spending, the first things to cut within the budget are of greater value, where the purchase is greater dependence on financing", especially where payment is in installments. Changes are likely to be reflected not only in the quantity but also relations to specific brands purchased - especially in non-durable goods. Some have argued that for the new class C that change does not come easily, arguing that as they created new habits, incorporating consumption, it is more difficult to abandon. If before they consume a premium brand, will look similar brands at cheaper prices. Other product areas likely to be hit may be where products are considered unnecessary: such as meals outside the home and leisure but also in areas such as telephony.

Women are the highest earners in 30% of Brazilian homes

International Women’s Day yesterday saw the annual collection of articles across the Americas about the role of women in society. In Brazil, Folha de Sao Paulo reported the findings of a number of different studies which emphasise the implications  the changing position of women in society, the workplace and within families and the household.  Increasingly women are becoming the dominant breadwinner within homes. Cases where the income of women exceeds that of men in the home are still in the minority, but in the last 25 years, they more than doubled, as shown by figures released by IPEA (Institute of Applied Economic Research)

From 1982 to 2007, the proportion of households where the income of women exceeded that of their partner grew from 3% to 11%. When one adds to this homes where the woman lives without a spouse, the percentage of houses where they were the main or only providers more than doubled, going from 13% to 30% in the last 25 years.

Another fact that demonstrates the advances made by women is the finding that women's contribution to the total income of households in Brazil has already reached 40%. In 1982, this proportion was 23%. The changes have been explained mainly because of improved female education and the reduction in fertility rates. Today, the IBGE has shown that education of women between 20 and 59 years exceeds that of men. In 1982, the situation was the reverse.

If women's participation in the labor market has changed considerably in recent years, the same can not be said of the division of household chores. Even in households where both work, most of the responsibilities in the home are still left to women. In 2007, 90% of women were busy taking care of household chores. Among men, the percentage was only 50%. They also spent on average more than twice the number of weekly hours to these activities than their partners: 22.2 hours, compared with 9.6 for men. The unequal division of domestic tasks is really common even in cases where women have higher income than the man.

Meanwhile in Lima, the headlines in El Comercio related to a survey conducted in Peru found that 78% of women believe that they have the same opportunities as men. The report from the International Labor Organization (ILO), states that women show almost the same level of labor force participation as men (except in construction, transportation, manufacturing and domestic service) and almost the same unemployment rates. In terms of payment, 53% of women answered that there is no wage gap between women and men. However, this is more a wish than a reality, as according to surveys, the gap between the incomes of men and women for the execution of the same work stands at 30 %. At another level, an overwhelming 97% of Peruvian women stated a desire to work. Of this, half prefer to work part time (predominant sector being married women in social class E), while 49% want to work like men (single women predominantly in the classes A and B). Furthermore, 91% believed that women should be independent entrepreneurs.

Carnival Graveyard

a tragic discovery this afternoon...yes its a carnival graveyard here in Brazil. I tried to find out what happened to the amazing creations so lovingly prepared for their moment on the carnival catwalk... and was informed that they were being pulled apart and destroyed... no recycling... sad moment!

For more photos click here

Beware the Brazilian Teenager!

This weeks Veja magazine has devoted a large segment to a report on today’s Brazilian youth. Whilst the report contains some interesting background and insight on young people – much of which relates to trends observable in young middle class people (not just limited to teenagers) across the globe the general tone of the piece is in some ways as confusing as the young people it identifies. Confusing in that whilst the net is seen as creating a generation more informed than their parents, less tribal and less prejudiced, it is simultaneously seen as central to a number of ‘problems’ affecting young Brazilians.

The report is somewhat akin to a soft ‘moral panic’ stating that young people who are kings of the digital age are costly to keep, pragmatic, lacking idealism and generally lost or confused in a world of endless choice, much of which is bought on by their being endlessly online. The internet and social media is in part blamed for young people’s lack of reflexivity and a ‘look at me’ culture, meanwhile the growth of social contacts via Orkut has fuelled increased party attendance and this is blmed for increased drinking and drug taking amongst Brazilians.The article however also seeks to criticise teens for having lost the sense of revolution that their parents exhibited, worrying only about getting into stable employment and receiving a good salary. The shift in power relations due to adoption of technologies is also seen as a factor behind how young people now increasingly control household spending behaviour and the fact that young people are now 5 times more expensive than 30 years ago. The article which starts by drawing comparison to Holden Caulfield’s crisis of 2 generations ago ends with a list of recommendations to parents on how to raise their children with reference to such issues as – how to get them to answer the phone, or stop exposing too much of their lives online!

If you would like to know more about our own extensive and less sensationalist research report into Young Lives across South America - please click here

The Brazilian Book Industry

Research findings can be treated a bit like vegetables at goes rotten pretty quickly. We're extremelty interested and have posted on the culture of reading in Brazil, so we dont have a problem posting the results of research published by the Brazilian Book Publishers recently - even though it relates to 2007. - Although government purchases registered a decrease of 0.67% from 2006, the government remained the largest buyer of books in the country, with investments of $726.8 million, or approximately 24% of total sales in the sector, the market bought more books in 2007, showing that consumption of books by the general population also grew. Sales for the market totaled U.S. $2286 billion - an increase of 6.41% in the previous year.

- There was a small drop of 2.3% in the number of titles published in 2007. over the previous year with a total of 45,092 titles published against 46,025 in 2006. A noticable increase came in the religious books sector, where 27.98% more titles were published in 2007 than in 2006.

- In 2007, Portugues language editions were well above that of translated books. Of the 45,092 titles published last year, 39,506 were from Brazilian authors, 5586 amongst foreigners. Regarding the number of titles, there was a drop in both local authors (-1.71%) as of translated books (-4.18%) in comparison 2007-2006.

81% of Brazilians have had a good year (or Brazilian attitudes to the Economic Downturn/Crisis/Crunch)

According to a report out last week, depsite growing appreciation of the global economic crisis, Brazilians perspectives for the year ahead are largely positive. Either the study reveals a nation in serious denial or as we would expect more likely goes to show the severe limitations of attempting to understand a populations attitudes and understanding of the issue through such quantitaive on-street questionnaires.

The report - Perspectivas 2009, conducted by IBOPE, states that 81% of Brazilians have in general had a good or a very good year and that 74% of people believe that next year will be better. If anybody knows whether such figures are universally consistant we'd be interested in knowing more. The real issue with the research is that it then goes on to look at attitudes to the current global economic crisis, as if the two issues can be closely correlated. 86% of those surveyed believe that there is an economic crisis and 59% of Brazilians are worried or extremely worried about the consequences of the crisis. Most interestingly most respondents seem to feel that the problems of inflation and unemployment are already affecting the country but not yet their immediate families. In terms of changes in personal behaviours - the biggest impact is likely to be seen in less personal borrowing (48%) reduced leisure spending (40%), putting off of travel plans (29%).

click here to download a copy of perspectivas_2009_site_giro

For more detail on the study click here