FGV: Technology changes Brazil consumption habits

Friday, January 9, 2004

With technology making its way into Brazilian households, consumption habits have changed significantly in South America's largest nation, local dailies said Friday.

For every 100 reais (US$35), Brazilians spend on average 1.3 reais on rice and beans, the most basic components of the national diet, according to a family budget survey for 2002/2003 conducted by the Getulio Vargas Foundation (FGV).

By comparison, spending on Internet and pay television services average 1.47 reais, with Web access representing 0.57 reais, according to the report.

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The survey also showed that Brazilians are spending more on housing and food and less on healthcare, transport, reading and leisure.

"This is a circumstantial phenomenon, which tends to be reversed in the coming years as the economy improves," said Andre Braz, an economist with FGV, Brazil's leading business school.

Utility rates have the heaviest weight in family budgets, advancing well above the 52.3% consumer inflation rate registered for the period between 1999 and 2003.

In the same period, cooking gas prices soared 220%, while power bills jumped 136% and residential phone rates climbed 75%, FGV said.