South & Central America is highly diverse, economically and culturally. To get a feel for the region’s changing e-commerce landscape, we looked at trends affecting the whole region and at some of its leading markets in greater detail. These markets were Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Peru and Uruguay.
According to the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) latest regional update, the Latin American recovery has slowed in recent months due to escalating trade tensions, volatile commodity markets and tighter financial conditions. This has dampened predictions, but the trend is still positive. The IMF growth forecast for Latin America and the Caribbean now stands at 2.2% for 2019.
The Local Payment Culture
The most common means of paying for an online purchase in Latin America is by credit card, used in 62% of all online transactions. Cash has 21% of the online payment market, bank transfers 10%, e-wallets 6%, and other minor payment methods the remaining 1%. Visa is the biggest player in the card market, with a 42% market share, followed by Mastercard (38%), local and other schemes with 18% and American Express with 2%.
The E-Commerce Market
The e-commerce market in the countries selected for detailed study is worth $41 billion and is growing at a rate of 23% a year. According to research by Worldpay, the whole Latin American e-commerce market is expected to be worth $75 billion by 2020. Today, 27% of online purchases are made using a mobile device and the average annual spend per online shopper is $388.
The most popular purchase categories in Latin America vary from country to country. In Argentina, Chile, Colombia and Uruguay travel is the number one category. In Peru it’s clothing, and Brazil electrical goods. The region’s biggest e-commerce player is the Argentine MercadoLibre. The company operates online marketplaces in 19 countries, from Mexico to Argentina, has revenues of almost $1 billion, 3.5 million sellers and over 17 million active buyers.
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PPRO Country Insight Argentina
Argentina is a Spanish-speaking country that stretches over 3,500 km from the tropics in the north to Tierra del Fuego in the south, which is only around 1,000 km away from the Antarctic mainland. After six years of military rule, democracy was restored in 1982.
PPRO Country Insight Chile
From north to south, Chile stretches 4,270 km. The country is a Spanishspeaking, multi-party democracy in which the president is both head of government and head of state. With just 18 million inhabitants, population density is low.
PPRO Country Insight Colombia
Independent from Spain since 1810, Colombia borders on Panama in the north, Venezuela and Brazil in the east, and Ecuador and Peru to the south. Spanish is the principal language. 80% of Colombians are Roman Catholics. The country is a multi-party democracy.
PPROI Country Insight Brazil
Brazil is the world’s largest Portuguese-speaking country, with a population of more than 200 million. It’s also one of the world’s biggest countries. Home to the Amazon, the world’s longest river, and to roughly 60% of the Amazon rainforest, Brazil occupies around half of South America’s landmass.