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Argentina’s online commerce boosted by COVID-19, says new yStats.com report

Hamburg-based business research firm yStats.com’s new report, “Argentina B2C E-Commerce and Payment Market 2020 & COVID-19’s Impact,” provides insights to the development of online retail sales in the South American nation. The publication reveals that the boost to digital shopping because of the coronavirus pandemic will likely be sustained long term despite underlying weakness in the economy.

Argentine consumers turn to online shopping during coronavirus pandemic

As the Argentine government ordered confinement in mid-March to combat the spread of COVID-19, consumers turned to online shopping to supply their basic needs, eventually expanding shopping to other items. E-Commerce was already on the rise in Argentina, with a sizeable double digit percentage increase in 2019 over the previous year, and the confinement boosted the practice even further, with well over half of consumers buying online, many for the first time, according to a March survey cited in the yStats.com report. Online sales figures were up significantly; for example, the online share of total supermarket purchases more than doubled in April compared to previous monthly figures.

COVID-19 has changed the emphasis of products purchased online

Before the coronavirus health crisis hit Argentina, the best-selling product categories were travel bookings and electronics. The onset of COVID-19 multiplied the sale of electronics in April compared to the previous monthly average, as office workers and students attempted to accomplish their tasks from home. Traffic to supermarket websites experienced a manifold percentage increase, according to figures cited in the new yStats.com report. Other online sectors seeing substantial growth during the coronavirus confinement in Argentina include entertainment streaming and restaurant delivery services.

Argentine E-Commerce sellers see significant growth during the pandemic

Mercado Libre, the leading online merchant in many Latin American markets as well as in its home-base of Argentina, has seen significant sales growth during the coronavirus confinement period, with orders up by over half compared to the same period a year earlier. Other Argentine digital merchants Favega.com and Falabela.com experienced even higher growth rates in the March-May months, as detailed in the yStats.com publication. The boost in distance shopping has challenged delivery services to maintain the standard of less than 48-hour hand over of about half of products, established prior to the crisis. Some analysts question whether the sales boost can be sustained, because of the impact of the COVID-19 confinement on the already weakened Argentine economy.