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The Future of E-Commerce in Latin America

While it’s obvious that Latin Americans don’t buy online at the same huge volume of Americans or Europeans, it’s also obvious that the region’s e-commerce commerce market is no longer tiny and limited to just a wealthy few. According to a recent story from América Economía magazine, e-commerce sales in Latin America totaled $10 billion in 2007—and tripled to $30 billion by 2010. In 2011 e-commerce sales hit $43 billion and according to the magazine’s projections, online sales in Latin America will total $69 billion by 2013. While nowhere near the $161 billion in e-commerce spending of the United States in 2011, Latam has come a long way from the $1.6 billion in e-commerce sales it posted in 2003.

Brazil is the Biggest
It’s not surprising that the region’s largest country would be the biggest e-commerce market: currently Brazil accounts for 59% of the e-commerce sales in Latin America. In addition,  América Economía also notes that there are 173 million credit cards in Brazil, where the population totals 195 million. While this doesn’t necessarily mean that over 80% of Brazilians have credit cards, it does reveal one important factor that drives the size of the country’s e-commerce market. Another is the e-commerce division created by Correios, the country’s national postal firm, which currently has 40% market share in a shipping market with nearly 30 competitors. The country has also encouraged e-commerce by reducing taxes, interest rates and permitting free returns for products bought online. Given this, it’s no surprise that Wal-Mart, Apple and Amazon all have plans to open offices in Brazil this year.

Beyond Brazil
Mexico is #2 in e-commerce in Latin America, with 14.2% of the sales. The Caribbean is third at 6.4%, followed by Argentina (6.2%), Chile (3.5%), Venezuela (3.3%), Central America (2.4%) and Colombia (2.3%). The Asociación Mexicana de Internet released a study about e-commerce in Mexico for 2011 that covered buying habits and top-selling products. You can find it in our Resources section.

Recently, the Cámara Argentina de Comercio Electronico (Argentine Chamber of E-Commerce or CACE) released a study of the country’s online shopping market that showed growth of 49.5%.  Other interesting figures from the CACE study include:

• 29.5% of Argentina’s Internet users engage in e-commerce—9 million shoppers
• 57% of dotcom businesses have implemented an m-commerce option to handle the growing amount of shoppers who use their mobile phones to shop online
• The e-commerce market in Argentina will grow 41% in 2012 to reach a total of 16 billion pesos
• 75% of Argentina Internet users research products online before buying them offline
• 89.6% of Argentine online shoppers use local firms for e-commerce and the most popular is Mercado Libre, while 10% use foreign firms like ebay and amazon
• 63% of Argentines who buy products through the Internet use a credit or debit card, 49% pay cash and 6.7% use bank transfers

Find out more here.

Other Factors in Latam E-Commerce
In its coverage of e-commerce in Latin America, America Economía noted that the original projection was sales of $35 billion in 2011. To explain why sales ended up being greater ($43 billion), the magazine cited several contributing factors:

• The launch of newer firms like Geelbe like Cuponaso to supplement larger firms like Peixe Urbano and Mercado Libre
• Social gaming sites like Vostu and Mentez that contribute to e-commerce via the sales of lower-cost online games
• Other forms of social commerce via immensely popular sites like Facebook
• Companies offering customers the option to purchase products online but pick them up at the stores, which saves both money and time for them
• The explosion of Latin America’s mobile market, which has led to users making purchases via smartphones and tablets

To read the complete América Economía story, click here.

To find out how you can reach this growing market of Latin American consumers, please contact us.

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Brazil best sellers

Brazil’s Best Sellers

Despite conservative macroeconomic projections, it seems like Brazilians are shopping more than ever. A study from the firm IPC Marketing Editora projects that consumption in Brazil will surpass US$2.7 trillion in 2012, with household spending exceeding GDP. Classes B and C account for half of what is consumed in Brazil, though Class B seems to show the strongest purchasing power.

We’ve observed some strong spikes in sales of a number of products in Brazil. Here’s a look at what grew the most in sales in 2011 and what’s selling strongly so far in 2012.

Autos
Car sales in Brazil grew by 2.9% in 2011, according to the Associação Nacional dos Fabricantes de Veículos Automotores (National Association of Automakers). The Volkswagen Gol was the biggest selling model in Brazil in 2011, followed by the Fiat Uno. Chevrolet’s Celta and Corsa Sedan ranked #3 and #4, respectively, in sales. Overall, Fiat sold the most cars in Brazil in 2011: 273,000. In 2012, the Federação Nacional da Distribuição de Veículos de Veículos Automotores (National Federation of Motor Vehicle Distribution), predicts car sales will go up 4.5% in Brazil.   

Computers
Research firm IDC reported recently that computer sales in Brazil went up by 12% in 2011 to reach 15.4 million units sold. According to the Getulio Vargas Foundation (FGV), a Brazilian higher education and research institution, sales of computers in Brazil will reach 17.9 million in 2012, an increase of 16%. FGV’s study indicates that currently there are 99 million computers in Brazil, roughly one computer for every two Brazilians. According to Fernando Meirelles, who led the research team from FGV, by 2017 there will be one computer for every Brazilian.
Notebooks and tablets are among the hottest types of computers among Brazilian consumers. Sales of notebooks grew by 60% in 2011 to reach 5 million, according to Gfk Consumer Choices, with 800,000 units sold in December 2011 alone.
Tablets posted comparatively modest sales of 450,000 units in 2011, but research firm Navegg predicts that Brazilians will buy 1 million tablets in 2012.

Cosmetics
Brazil’s cosmetics industry logged US$14 billion in ex-factory sales in 2011, 7.9% higher than in 2010, according to Associação Brasileira da Indústria de Higiene Pessoal, Perfumaria e Cosméticos. According to projections from Euromonitor International, in 2013 Brazil will overtake Japan to become the #2 cosmetics market in the world, just behind the United States.

E-commerce
The most recent report from market research firm e-bit indicated that in 2011, the e-commerce market in Brazil reached US$10.1 billion in sales, up 26% compared to 2010, when e-commerce sales totaled US$8 billion. In 2012, e-commerce sales in Brazil should reach US$12.6 billion, 25% higher than 2011, projects e-bit. Over 9 million new customers bought a product online for the first time in 2011, and overall around 32 million Brazilians have engaged in e-commerce. Top products for Brazilians who shop online include appliances, computers, electronics, health/beauty items and clothes/accessories.

Mobile Broadband Connections
According to Anatel, the country’s national telecommunications agency, there are now 54.3 million mobile broadband connections in Brazil, which means an overall 28% mobile broadband penetration rate. Forecasts from Teleco—an organization that tracks telecommunications in the country—suggest that Brazil will have 73 million mobile broadband connections by the end of 2012 and 124 million connections by 2014 when it hosts the World Cup. As mobile broadband connections have grown, so have the number of mobile phones with 3G services: currently 20% of the cell phones in Brazil have 3G.

Pharmaceuticals
According to IBOPE, sales of pharmaceuticals in Brazil will grow by 13% in 2012 and be four times more than the Gross Domestic Product. Classes B and C will account for 80% of the sales, spending 23 billion and 27 billion reales, respectively. A number of companies are benefiting from this surge, including Bayer HealthCare and Pfizer, which experienced increases of 13% and 14%, respectively, in their 2011 Brazil sales.

Smartphones
According to a projection by IDC, smartphone sales in Brazil will increase by 73% in 2012. In total numbers, this means that Brazilian shoppers will buy 15 million smartphones this year, whereas in 2011 they bought 8.9 million. This is a huge increase compared to 2010, when 4.8 million smartphones were sold in Brazil. IDC considers phones with operating systems, like iPhones or Blackberrys, to be smartphones. According to the firm, over 50% of the smartphones in Brazil use the Android operating system.

Videogame Consoles
According to market research firm GfK Consumer Choices, sales of video game consoles in Brazil shot up by 53% in 2011 to reach 935,000 units, up from 642,000 units in 2010.

To find out how we can help you reach Brazil, Latin America or U.S. Hispanics via a strategic campaign across all media, please contact us at info@usmediaconsulting.com.

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