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Potential for Expansion in Online Retail in Latin America

The recent report by Hamburg-based B2C E-Commerce intelligence company yStats.com, “Latin America B2C E-Commerce Market 2014” reveals details about the current state and the potential of online retail markets across Latin America. As the growing number of Internet users in the region grasp the benefits of online shopping, both foreign and local players compete for a larger share of the booming market.

Latin America is the fourth largest region worldwide by B2C E-Commerce sales. Two of the emerging B2C E-Commerce markets in the region, Brazil and Mexico, rank among the top twenty countries by the size of the online retail market. Together with Argentina, these countries account for almost two-thirds of all B2C E-Commerce sales generated in the region. While Brazil is an unquestioned leader in terms of sales, Mexico is ahead of it by annual growth and Argentina tops both in terms of online shopper penetration.

Latin America_ScreenshotLatin America’s growth potential goes beyond these three evident leaders. Colombia is forecasted to outpace Brazil, Argentina and Mexico in terms of sales growth in the next five years. Another country with an untapped potential is Chile. Internet penetration in Chile is among the highest in the region and online retail is growing rapidly, with demand staying ahead of local supply. In Peru, Internet users only start to grasp the benefits of online shopping, with concerns about safety of online credit card payment and fears that the product will not be delivered hampering faster adoption.

Venezuela and Ecuador lag behind these countries in terms of B2C E-Commerce sales. In Venezuela, the adverse economic situation and restrictive regulations have negatively impacted the development of online retail, but new regulatory initiatives could reverse the trend and increase online shopping to the relatively large population. In Ecuador, less than 1% of households had experience with online shopping, as of 2014, but the spread of Internet penetration, economic growth and decreasing poverty rates facilitate development of B2C E-Commerce in this country.

Mobile commerce is an important trend in this region, as the majority of Internet subscriptions in many countries is now mobile, growing along with smartphone penetration. Mexico is the regional leader in this trend, with mobile shopper penetration being the highest. Furthermore, cross- border online shopping is a significant characteristic of B2C E-Commerce in Latin America.

Mexico_ScreenshotAs online retail in many countries in Latin America is at early stages of development, familiar worldwide online merchants, such as Amazon, eBay and Alipay are popular destinations for online shoppers. Nevertheless, several local leaders have already emerged. The regional E-Commerce marketplace operator, MercadoLibre is the most visited website in the retail category across all of the monitored countries. Brazil-based B2W Digital is another important player, especially in its home market, with online shops such as Americanas, Submarino and Shoptime. NovaPontocom, which became part of Cnova N.V. together with Groupe Casino’s Cdiscount, operates online shops and marketplaces in the region. Brazil-based online seller of sports goods, NetShoes, is another prominent player. Local store-based retailers, including Colombian Grupo Exito and Chile-based Falabella, are also developing their online channels to take advantage of the booming B2C E-Commerce in the region.