WhatsApp is the main digital channel for Brazilian SMEs

Accessibility and lower cost drive high adoption rates, says research.

Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Brazil prefer to use WhatsApp as their main tool to communicate with their customers, according to research.

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Some 72 percent of SMEs in the country use WhatsApp as their main online channel, according to a report by the Brazilian Micro and Small Business Support Service (SEBRAE), which polled 6.022 businesses nationwide.

Of the businesses using WhatsApp, some 43 percent use it to sell products and services, the research says. The high adoption rate of WhatsApp within SMEs is attributed to its accessibility and lower cost.

Only 27 percent of the SMEs surveyed have their own website. This, according to SEBRAE, is due to the need for upfront investment in the creation of the online presence and then in search engine optimization (SEO).

Facebook is also a relevant platform to the segment and is used by 40 percent of the companies that took part in the survey.

Additionally, the research shows that 90 percent of the SMEs polled use mobile phones as a key device to do business and 51 percent believe that Internet and social networks will be the most promising channels in terms of business expansion within the next five years.