B2C E-Commerce growing rapidly in Latin America

(PresseBox) ( Hamburg, )
The recent "Latin America B2C E-Commerce Report 2013" by Hamburg-based secondary market research company yStats.com provides information about consumer purchases of goods and services online in Latin America. Total regional B2C E-Commerce sales in Latin America was close to EUR 30 billion in 2012, with a double-digit growth expected this year and further growth projected in the period for the next several years.

Latin American B2C E-Commerce fuelled by emerging middle class and growing Internet use

The new yStats.com report reveals that the middle class in Latin America has grown significantly in the last decade. The rising middle class has grasped the Internet as a connection to the world - Latin America is the leading region worldwide in Internet usage growth, with an increase of over 10% in March of this year compared to a year ago. The Latin American region is expected to rank fifth out of five world regions in B2C E-Commerce sales this year, but by 2017 it is forecast to rise to fourth place in total sales, passing Central and Eastern Europe in terms of market share.

Brazil is the largest market in the region

There were over 40 million online shoppers in Brazil in H1 2013, with the number expected to top half a hundred millions by the end of 2013. The B2C E-Commerce market grew by a two-digit percentage in 2012, with higher growth expected in 2013, to reach a small two-digit number in EUR billion. Internet penetration encourages further growth of E-Commerce; over half of the population is expected to be covered by Internet access by the end of this year. Price comparison websites were popular among internet users, with the highest ranking site having more visitors than the sites of top retailers. The leading product category among purchasers in Brazilian B2C E-Commerce in 2012 was household appliances, however, in the first half of this year fashion and accessories went to the forefront in sales.

Among the noticeable trends on the growing B2C E-Commerce market in Brazil are M-Commerce and cross-border shopping. In the first half 2013, the mobile channel almost tripled its share on total B2C E-Commerce sales, and the penetration of smartphones and tablets continues. Moreover, cross-border online shopping was popular in Brazil. The most purchased product categories in cross-border B2C E-Commerce in 12 months to July 2013 were computer hardware and personal electronics; the most popular countries to shop from were the USA and China. Regarding delivery options, over half of the B2C E-Commerce orders placed in 2012 were with free delivery. Of the payment methods, credit card was the most used, followed by Boleto Bancario, a local interbank payment system.

Brazil based merchants such as online marketplace MercadoLibre, B2W Digital with several E-Commerce platforms and Buscape, a price comparison website, had strong positions on the B2C E-Commerce market. These local players were increasingly challenged by international companies, such as Wal-Mart and EBay, which were attracted by the market potential, especially in anticipation of the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics.

As the B2C E-Commerce industry has become more significant, the Brazilian government saw the need to update its regulations: since May 2013, online shops in the country are obliged to provide a registration number and full contact details for the customers' convenience. Even though the rules for E-Commerce have changed and there are logistics and payment challenges to overcome, merchants and consumers both are increasingly comfortable with online retail sales.

Online shopping grows in other markets in the region.

In Mexico, B2C E-Commerce is boosted by growing Internet reach, credit card penetration, mobile usage, and cross-border shopping. A yearly double-digit growth rate in B2C E-Commerce sales is expected to persist throughout 2016. "Music and Films" was the most popular category in Mexican B2C E-Commerce in 2012. The most used payment method was credit card, accounting for over a half of all transactions in 2012. With regard to delivery, a majority of shoppers in Mexico would add items to their cart in order to qualify for free delivery. Mexican shoppers are the most engaged in M-Commerce of all Latin American countries.

In Argentina B2C E-Commerce sales also grew by a double-digit percentage point in 2012, with still more growth to come. Online shopper penetration on Internet users, already the highest in the region, is still increasing, expected to account for almost a half of Internet users by 2016.

The trend toward E-Commerce acceptance and use continues in other markets of the region. In Chile, both online shopper penetration and frequency of online shopping increased in 2012, while M-Commerce was yet to catch on. In Colombia, one of the factors spurring B2C E-Commerce is increasing trust of customers to online payment methods and widening banking coverage. Colombian B2C E-Commerce market is dominated by foreign players, accounting for over a half of the sales in 2012, but local firms are projected to expand. In Ecuador B2C E-Commerce is not yet spread due to low Internet penetration, which is, however, gradually changing, as more people gained access to the web, increasingly so via mobile devices. In Paraguay, most of the relatively small B2C E-Commerce sales were generated in foreign online shops in 2012. Internet penetration is still relatively low in Paraguay also, but is growing every year. In Peru, wider credit card and Internet penetration can boost B2C E-Commerce, which in 2012 was dominated by foreign retailers.

As one of the best faring countries in the region, Uruguay has a great potential for B2C E-Commerce, already driven by the trend of mobile device use. The number of mobile Internet subscriptions has grown by a half every year since 2010. Improvement in the quality of online retailer offerings and logistics are thus needed to boost sales further.

Finally, the yStats.com report points to development of an online payment system and new regulations regarding online payments in Venezuela, which, along with the increasing Internet penetration are expected to positively affect E-Commerce in 2013 and stimulate growth.
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