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Cellphones, Vaccines, and Hollywood’s Tequila

Latinometrics Weekly
Welcome to Latinometrics. We bring you Latin American insights and trends through concise, thought-provoking data visualizations.
Thank you to the 116 new subscribers who have joined us since last week!
Today’s charts:
  1. Hollywood stars visit Jalisco, Mexico
  2. Costa Ricans own an average of 1.7 active cellphones
  3. South America’s vaccination success story
Make sure you check out the comment of the week at the bottom!

Spirits 🥃
The Rock's Teremana Tequila is an Instant Success
The Rock's Teremana Tequila is an Instant Success
Hollywood has been entering the tequila industry in Mexico.
Tequila is a Denomination of Origin product, meaning that it’s exclusively produced mainly in Jalisco, Mexico. Over 500 years, the drink has evolved from the first distillation process introduced by the Spaniards during the conquest to American college kids making it their drink of choice for their spring break vacation. In 2021, 288M liters of tequila were exported into the US. In the last four years, 700 new tequila brands have been registered to satiate the US’s tequila thirst.
Most notably, there has been a wave of brands started by super-famous celebrities. One of the first instances of this trend came from legendary guitarist Carlos Santana, who in 1997 became part owner of Casa Noble. Santana is from Jalisco, so the business move was a great fit. Since then, athletes and Hollywood celebrities, who have little to do with Mexican culture, have started their own brands — a venture that, in some cases, earns them more than their careers, but that’s criticized as cultural appropriation by some. The most notable names include:
  • George Clooney’s Casamigos
  • Michael Jordan’s Cincoro
  • The Rock’s Teremana
  • Kendall Jenner’s 818
Two of the most successful have been Clooney’s and The Rock’s, now selling close to the amounts of heavy hitters like El Jimador and Don Julio. George Clooney sold his brand for $1B to spirits company Diageo, contingent on hitting 1M sold cases, a goal that has long been passed. The tequila sold over 2M cases just last year. In 2021, Diageo reported a 115% sales increase for Casamigos, placing it above El Jimador’s total sales volume. Diageo also owns Don Julio, and its tequila drinks are far outpacing the growth of any of its other categories.
Teremana by the Rock has been the fastest growing brand and an instant success story, hitting an estimated 600K yearly cases sold in just two years after launching. The Rock worked intimately with a family-owned distillery to launch his brand and familiarize himself with the tequila-making process. One must credit the López family’s genius for recognizing such an incredible opportunity; the Rock’s films have grossed an estimated $10B. With 314M followers on Instagram, he’s one of the most monetizable superstars globally.
Telecom 📶
Costa Rica Has a Lot More Cellphones Than Citizens
Costa Rica Has a Lot More Cellphones Than Citizens
With 169, Costa Rica is one of the countries with the most active cellular phone lines per 100 people. Yes, you read that correctly — people in Costa Rica have, on average, 1.69 mobile subscriptions. They even outnumber the world’s most developed countries like the United States, Japan, and Switzerland in subscriptions per capita. El Salvador, another Central American country, also ranks among the top with 1.5 lines per person, outnumbering most Asian and European countries.
Our chart shows data up until 2019. However, reports say that Costa Rica had 7.5 million mobile phone subscribers in 2020 and a population of just over 5 million. Kolbi (owned by Costa Rican government’s Grupo ICE) is the market leader with 41% of the market share, followed by Movistar (39%) – acquired in 2021 by Liberty Latin America – and America Movil’s Claro with 20%.
The reason behind it? Honestly, we don’t know. Our research didn’t lead us to any great answers. An initial hypothesis was that wireless plans are super cheap, but they’re about the same price as in Mexico, which has about 95 phones per 100 people. The most affordable 30-day 5GB plan sells for $13.4 USD, according to Kolbi’s website. If you can help us solve this mystery, reply to this email and let us know! Another surprising fact is that the world has more phone subscriptions than actual living humans — 109 per 100 people.
Vaccines 💉
South America has led the world in vaccination efforts.
The fight against COVID-19 took many lives in South America through 2020 and early 2021. Bodies were tragically stacked in shipping containers in Ecuador. Brazil saw its death toll rise to the second-highest in the world. With Peru running out of oxygen and Argentina’s health system on the brink of collapse, both countries also had some of the highest death rates anywhere.
But in terms of vaccines, the story is uplifting. In December, South America became the region with the highest covid vaccination coverage. 84% of South Americans have received at least one dose of a covid vaccine. This rate is 9% higher than in the EU and almost four times higher than in Africa.
Several factors have helped fuel the region’s success story. The infrastructure needed to deliver jabs, a distribution of Chinese vaccines, and a history of successful vaccination campaigns, are among them. In Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, more than 99% of adults have received at least one dose, staying true to the common claim that the nation has a “cultura de vacinação.”
Realize Latin America’s Potential 🚀
Hand-selected job opportunities based on what we know about our audience (e.g., industries, job functions).
This week’s opportunity:
  • Platzi is looking for a remote Sales Development Representative
  • Requirements: 2-3 years in a prospecting role, excitement and experience to talk to prospective customers, familiarity with SaaS products
Hiring Managers: Reply to this email if you’d like to feature an open role in our newsletter.
That’s all for this week 👋
Want more?
The comment of the week is not a typical insight on one of our charts. It’s a shoutout we got from Freddy Vega, founder of Platzi - the largest tech school in the Spanish-speaking world. Thanks, Freddy! 🙌
Join the discussion on social media, where we’ll be posting today’s charts throughout the week. Follow us on TwitterLinkedInInstagram, or Facebook.
Feedback or chart suggestions? Reply to this email, and let us know! :)
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