The Strongest E-Commerce Markets in Latin America

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With a projected CAGR of 21% for e-commerce in LatAm through 2019, e-commerce is definitely growing in the region, but with different rates in different countries.

The challenge in evaluating the progress of different LatAm e-commerce markets is that local organizations measure different aspects of it within these markets—also employing different methodologies.

As a result, it’s difficult to uncover uniform reported statistics that are publicly available for each country. In certain instances different sources may differ significantly as far as sales totals or other metrics. Moreover, some markets do not have a detailed study performed by one specific organization but rather a number of studies that examine certain aspects of e-commerce in a given market but not others. And finally, a good number of markets in Latin America have little available data, if any, for e-commerce.

Working with these limitations, we’ve tried to compile some relevant, publicly available data below for the largest e-commerce markets in Latin America to offer digital marketers and merchants a basic data picture that could be helpful in getting a sense of the trends in each and offering some initial guidance for decision-making.

For a deeper dive beyond what you’ll see below, contact us directly to purchase detailed data packs for all of LatAm and specific markets.

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ARGENTINA

Overview

  • In 2016 total e-commerce billing in Argentina was US$6.2 billion ($102.7 billion pesos), which is 51% growth compared to 2015
  • The amount of online shoppers in Argentina went up by 17% in 2016
  • 63% of Internet users in Argentina (11.2 million Argentines) have made an online purchase in the past 6 months
  • 67% of Argentines who have bought online in the past 6 months are women, 57% are Millennials
Source: Cámara Argentina de Comercio Electrónico (CACE)

NOTE: For a fuller picture of Argentina’s total e-commerce market size, contact Americas Market Intelligence for our Argentina e-commerce data pack.

Hot E-Commerce Products in Argentina

In 2016 the top products among Argentine e-commerce shoppers were:

  1. Travel products (plane tickets, etc.)
  2. Audio/video equipment, consoles and phone products
  3. Home décor (furniture, decoration)
  4. Appliances
  5. Food, drink and cleaning products
  6. Car accessories
  7. Sports clothes
  8. Tickets to shows and events
  9. Cosmetics and perfumes
  10. Products for children (toys, etc.)

Source: CACE

Key Details for Marketers and Merchants 

  • 7 of 10 online shoppers in Argentina pick sites or apps where they have shopped previously
  • 8 of 10 Argentine online shoppers said they paid with a credit card (versus 75% in 2015)
  • 76% of e-commerce shoppers in Argentina said that financing (i.e. installment payment plans) influenced their choice of payment method
  • 21% of the e-commerce sales in Argentina in 2016 came from mobile devices (m-commerce)
  • 60% of the search sessions for e-commerce sites by Argentine online shoppers came from mobile, as opposed to 40% from desktops
Source: CACE

BRAZIL

Overview

  • Overall 2016 e-commerce sales in Brazil were R$44.4 billion (US$14.1 billion), and in 2016 e-commerce sales in Brazil increased by 7.4%*
  • 48 million Brazilians made e-commerce purchases in 2016, a 22% increase over 2015
  • Brazilian e-commerce sales are estimated to grow by 12% in 2017 to reach nearly R$50 billion (US$16 billion) in sales
Source: Ebit, Webshopper 35

*NOTE: Ebit’s Webshopper report contains data ONLY for retail shopping. For a fuller picture of Brazil’s total e-commerce market size, contact Americas Market Intelligence for our Brazil e-commerce data pack.

Hot E-Commerce Products in Brazil

In 2016 the top products among Brazilian e-commerce shoppers were:

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  1. Fashion
  2. Household appliances
  3. Books
  4. Health/cosmetics
  5. Telephony
  6. Home décor
  7. Computer products
  8. Electronic appliances
  9. Sports products
  10. Toys/games
Source: Ebit, Webshopper 35

Key Details for Marketers and Merchants

  • 78.5% of Brazilians used a PC or laptop to make e-commerce purchases in 2016
  • 21.5% of Brazilians used mobile devices to buy products via e-commerce in 2016
  • In 2016 Brazilians spent 17% more on consumer goods purchased from non-Brazilian e-commerce sites, a total of US$2.4 billion
  • In 2016 the top foreign sites used by Brazilians for crossborder e-commerce shopping include Aliexpress (#1), Amazon (#2), ebay (#3), Dealextreme (#4) and Apple Store (#5)
  • Credit cards were the most popular form of payment (62%) among Brazilians who shopped online in 2016 on international e-commerce sites, while PayPal was #2 with 28% and 9% used a boleto bancario.
  • It’s projected that the share of purchases via smartphones in Brazilian e-commerce will grow by 41% in 2017 and may account for as much as 32% of all online purchases
Source: Ebit, Webshopper 35

CHILE

Overview

  • 2016 e-commerce sales in Chile totaled US$3.074 billion, 24% higher than in 2015*
  • In the first quarter of 2017 e-commerce sales in Chile went up by 30% compared to Q1 2016 and totaled US$864 million
  • 2017 e-commerce sales in Chile will reach US$3.7 billion—a 20% increase above 2016
Source: Cámara de Comercio de Santiago

*NOTE: This figure only includes card purchases. For a fuller picture of Chile’s total e-commerce market size, contact Americas Market Intelligence for our Chile e-commerce data pack.

Hot E-Commerce Products in Chile

In 2015 (no data published yet for 2016), the top products among Chilean e-commerce shoppers were:
  1. Tickets for events
  2. Fashion-related products
  3. Travel
  4. Electronic equipment
  5. Videogame products
Source: Nielsen

Key Details for Marketers and Merchants

  • 56% of the visits made to e-commerce sites by Chileans were done with mobile devices**
  • 15% of the e-commerce transactions made by Chileans in 2016 were with a mobile device**
  • In general, more than 80% of Chileans use a PC to shop online*
  • When it comes to online food delivery, however, more Chileans use a smartphone (39%) than a computer (14%)*
  • 69% of Chileans have made cross-border e-commerce purchases, higher than shoppers in Mexico (64%), Colombia (54%), Brazil (44%) and Argentina (42%)*
  • The three most common payment methods among Chile’s e-commerce shoppers are credit cards (62%), debit cards (56%) and direct debiting (52%)*
Sources: *Nielsen, **Cámara de Comercio de Santiago

COLOMBIA

Overview

E-commerce data for Colombia is a bit challenging to parse. For example, the Cámara Colombiana de Comercio Electrónico reported in October 2016 that in 2015, e-commerce transactions in Colombia totaled US$16.3 billion, but this figure also factors in tax payments and B2B transactions, a type of calculation that other entities in other markets do not employ. What was not clear was the amount of purchases made via e-commerce for both the B2B and B2C sectors, setting aside tax payments.

In contrast, a study from Visa and Euromonitor that was cited by Dinero.com indicated that 2015 e-commerce sales in Colombia reached US$3.1 billion, an 18% increase compared to the US$2.6 billion in e-commerce sales in 2014. However, we have not been able to obtain a copy of that particular study to confirm those figures.

Americas Market Intelligence’s own analysis of e-commerce volume in Colombia is available through its data pack, which can be purchased directly by contacting AMI.

Hot Products

In 2016 the top products among Colombian e-commerce shoppers were:

  1. Clothes
  2. Travel
  3. Electronics
  4. Tickets to events
  5. Food
  6. Beauty
  7. Telecommunications
  8. Culture (books and magazines)
  9. Home décor
  10. Sports products
Source: The Cocktail Analysis, survey performed June 2016 for the Cámara Colombiana de Comercio Electrónico and published as part of the Observatorio de Compra Online, Second Wave, Colombia 2016

Key Details for Digital Marketers

  • Credit cards are the method most used for e-commerce payments among Colombians, at 57%*
  • 94% of Colombian online shoppers reported using PCs or laptops to make purchases, versus 49% who used smartphones and 26% who used tablets*
  • 52% of Colombian online shoppers reported no problem with their e-commerce transactions while 48% did have problems*
  • The most common problems with e-commerce transactions cited by e-commerce shoppers in Colombia were delivery delays and products that did not match their descriptions*
  • The prime motivators that get Colombian e-commerce shoppers to purchase are visiting the web site of the physical store (47%), visiting the actual store (47%), visiting the brand’s web page (37%), going on social media (36%) and using online coupons or discounts (31%)**
Sources: *The Cocktail Analysis, **Nielsen

MEXICO

Overview

  • 59% increase in e-commerce sales between 2014 and 2015: a total of US$16.2 billion*
  • 7 in 10 Mexican Internet users surveyed by AMIPCI made an online purchase in 2016
  • Nearly half (48%) of Mexican Internet users surveyed by AMIPCI used three devices to make e-commerce purchases: PC, smartphone and tablet, with 33% indicating they used both computer and smartphone
Source: AMIPCI

*NOTE: AMIPCI’s evaluation of the size of the Mexican e-commerce market differs significantly from Americas Market Intelligence’s market estimates for Mexico. For a fuller picture of Mexico’s total e-commerce market size, contact Americas Market Intelligence for our Mexico e-commerce data pack.

Hot Products

In 2016 the top products among Mexican e-commerce shoppers surveyed by AMIPCI were:

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  1. Apparel and accessories (53%)
  2. Digital downloads (46%)
  3. Event tickets (37%)
  4. Travel (32%)
  5. Video games/consoles/accessories (22%)
  6. Furniture/appliances (21%)
  7. Books and magazines (21%)
  8. Toys/hobbies (19%)
  9. Computer software (19%)
  10. Consumer electronics (18%)
Source: AMIPCI

Key Details for Marketers and Merchants

  • 54% of Mexican online shoppers are male and 46% are female
  • 41% of Mexican e-commerce shoppers are classes AB, 54% are classes C- to C+ and 3% are D+
  • The largest age group is 22-34 (39%), followed by 35-44 (24%), 45-54 (14%), 18-21 (12%) and 55+ (11%)
  • Among the top payment types for Mexican e-commerce shoppers in 2016 are PayPal, debit card, credit card and cash
  • Mexican e-commerce shoppers who use cash for purchases predominantly use Oxxo, bank deposits, 7-11s and cash on delivery as their preferred methods
  • 60% of Mexican e-commerce shoppers did a cross-border transaction in 2016, 3% more than in 2015
  • The U.S. was the region favored most by Mexicans for cross-border transactions (61%), followed by Asia (41%), Latin America (13%) and Europe (9%)
Source: AMIPCI

NOTE: The survey from AMIPCI didn’t ask the survey respondents to rank the payment methods most often used by them, but to check all that applied. This produces multiple responses and makes it difficult to understand which methods are most often used. Americas Market Intelligence has done its own analysis—available in our data pack—that addresses that question.

PERU

Overview

  • In 2016 Peru had more than US$2.8 billion in e-commerce sales, a 198% increase over the past 2 years*
  • The Cámara de Comercio de Lima had a more conservative projection of the total of e-commerce sales in Peru in 2016: US$2.3 billion, which would represent a 15% increase compared to 2015**
  • It’s projected that over the next two years, e-commerce purchases made in Peru via desktops will grow by 30% and that e-commerce purchases made in Peru via mobile devices will grow by 55%*
Sources: *Cámara Peruana de Comercio Electrónico, **Cámara de Comercio de Lima

***NOTE: Americas Market Intelligence’s evaluation of the size of Peru’s e-commerce markets differs significantly from these publicly available estimates. For a fuller picture of Peru’s total e-commerce market size, contact Americas Market Intelligence for our Peru e-commerce data pack.

Hot Products

In 2016 the top products among Peru’s e-commerce shoppers were:

  1. Clothes and shoes
  2. Electronics (cell phones and accessories)
  3. Products for the home (toys and appliances)
  4. Travel products (plane tickets)
Source: Ipsos Apoyo

Key Details for Marketers and Merchants

  • 22% of Peruvian e-commerce buyers only perform cross-border transactions, while 23% only buy from Peruvian sites and 55% use both local and international sites
  • 54% of Peruvian online shoppers have bank accounts
  • 84% of Peru’s e-commerce shoppers own a smartphone, 58% own a laptop and 53% own a PC, while 49% own a tablet
  • Top apps used by Peruvian Internet users surveyed by Ipsos Apoyo were Facebook (95%), Youtube (86%), Whatsapp (85%), Twitter (46%), Netflix (40%) and Instagram (40%)
Source: Ipsos Apoyo

Need to Know More?

Contact Americas Market Intelligence for market intelligence on LatAm e-commerce, proprietary studies to evaluate market share, management consulting guidance for e-commerce and payment strategies in Latin America, competitive intelligence studies to edge out competitors in the LatAm e-commerce space or for access to our detailed data packs (see more below).

Need more on E-Commerce in LATAM?
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