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8 Insights about E-Commerce in Latin America

It’s pretty obvious that e-commerce has taken off in Latam and in fact, in July we reported that online sales in the region will reach US$69 billion in 2013.

However, what may be more relevant to professionals in media, advertising and marketing is how Latin Americans are buying online. Recently comScore published a study about this—focusing on online consumers in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Peru and Venezuela—and below we highlight 8 key insights to consider.

#1:       MOST RESEARCH ONLINE BEFORE BUYING
According to comScore, every week 8 of 10 Latin Americans search for and research products online before buying. This figure isn’t exactly surprising, since it dovetails with other studies that have reported similar results. For instance, a study from Google, IAB Europe and TNS Infratest indicated that between January and May of this year, 57% of online consumers in Mexico and 63% of online consumers in Brazil researched products online before buying. And according to the  Cámara Argentina de Comercio Electrónico (Argentine Chamber of E-Commerce), 75% of Argentines research products online before buying.
In addition, another study done by Google and D’Alessio IROL in 2011—focusing on more than 3,500 online shoppers from Peru, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Costa Rica, Panama, Ecuador, Colombia and Chile—indicated that 6 out of 10 shoppers first become interested in a product after finding it online and the same amount said they ended up buying a product after finding it via an Internet search.

#2:       THEY SPEND A LOT
Of the Argentines surveyed by comScore, 75% said they spent between US$100 y US$1,000 in online purchases during the past 3 months, with the majority (31%) spending between US$100 and US$250. For their part, 66% of Brazilians spent between US$100 and US$1,000 in online purchases in the past 3 months, with 14% spending more than US$1,000. It’s also worth noting that 17% of Venezuelans reported that they spent more than US$1,000 through e-commerce in the past 3 months, with 73% reporting that they spent between US$100 and US$1,000 in the same period. The same high percentage reports spending in the latter range in several other countries, including Chile (76%), Colombia (69%), Mexico (78%) and Peru (78%). That said, in Chile, Argentina, Colombia, Mexico and Peru, most people reporting spending between US$100 and US$250 on e-commerce purchases in the past 3 months.

#3:       MOST USE CREDIT CARDS
Despite the relatively low penetration of credit cards in Latam, in comScore’s study, 74% of the Latam Internet users surveyed said that they use credit cards to buy online. Among the other payment methods they reported using were electronic funds transfer (41%), debit card (41%) and cash on delivery or COD (26%).

#4:       WHAT THEY BUY THE MOST ARE CLOTHES AND ELECTRONICS
The comScore survey found that 43% of Latin American online consumers buy clothes and 41% buy electronics. Among the other hot products for Latam e-commerce shoppers are music/movies/videos (36%), appliances (35%), and computer hardware (33%), tickets to shows and events (31%) and apps (31%).
These results are similar to those reported by other sources, including the Brazilian Chamber of E-Commerce, the Argentine Chamber of E-Commerce, the Mexican Internet Association (AMIPCI) and the study from Google/D’Alessio IROL cited earlier.

#5:       ONLINE ADVERTISING INFLUENCES E-COMMERCE IN LATAM
According to the comScore study, there are 4 factors that influence in the online purchase process for Latin Americans. In order of importance, the first is going directly to an e-commerce site, the second is putting in a keyword into a search engine, the third is online advertising and the fourth is recommendations from family or friends.

#6:       MERCADO LIBRE CLOSES MORE SALES
Mercado Libre (known as Mercado Livre in Brazil) attracts 81% of Latin American online shoppers and 55% buy on the site. This makes Mercado Libre the most popular international e-commerce site in the region. While 53% of Latam consumers surveyed by comScore say that they visit Amazon, only 22% buy on it. And while 35% visit Wal-Mart, only 10% buy on it. The same happens with Carrefour: 28% visit it but only 8% buy on it. Based on these results, it seems that Mercado Libre is the market leader for e-commerce in Latin America among international sites targeting the region’s shoppers.

#7:       THEY TEND TO BUY LESS FROM LOCAL SITES
Based only on the purchase rates, it appears that Latin Americans do more of their e-commerce transactions on international sites rather than local sites. For example, even though 55% of Latin Americans buy on Mercado Libre, just 23% buy on Garbarino, an e-commerce site in the Argentine market. And Garbarino seems to have a higher rate of purchase than other local Argentine e-commerce sites, such as Fravega (17%), Falabella (17%), Sodimac (3%) and Netshoes (4%). In Brazil, consumers buy the most from Americanas (27%), while in Chile the top local e-commerce site in terms of purchase rate seems to be Falabella (41%). In Colombia, the site with the highest reported purchase rate is Éxito (31%). However, Falabella is the local site that Peruvians most buy from (41%), while Mexicans buy the most from Liverpool (25%).

#8:       90% USE THEIR SMARTPHONES FOR E-COMMERCE
Now, it’s important to note that this doesn’t mean that 90% are buying with their smartphones. In fact, only 23% of the Latin Americans that comScore surveyed reported making online purchases with their smartphones. However, Latin Americans are using their smartphones in other parts of the e-commerce process. For example, 60% use them to take photos of products, 56% send text messages to family or friends about products, 42% look for nearby stores, 40% read comments about products from other consumers and 39% use their smartphones to compare prices. In addition, 34% click on mobile ads and 24% scan QR codes to compare prices.

To learn more about how we can help you with a media campaign in Latin America, please contact us.

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E-Commerce in Latin America Spikes by Nearly 43%

According to a recent study done by América Economía Intelligence and Visa, e-commerce in Latin America grew by 42.8% between 2010 and 2011 to reach $43 billion, double the amount in 2009, which was $22 billion.

The study indicates that Brazil is the leader in e-commerce in Latin America: in 2011, it accounted for 59% of e-commerce sales in the region. Mexico is #2 in Latin America in e-commerce, with 14.2% of sales. The Caribbean is in third place, with 6.4% of sales, closely followed by Argentina, with 6.2%.

Overall, the study projects that e-commerce in Latin America will increase by 26% in 2012 and then by 28% in 2013.

Why It’s Growing
The study’s authors cited a number of factors for the growth, including:

• Increase in credit card usage, as well as debit cards: both bring more purchasers into the e-commerce marketplace
• Social media and group shopping sites: discounts online attract more shoppers
• Increased online security for safer transactions: this inspires greater consumer confidence
• A larger amount of e-tailers: more Latam companies are innovating online purchase platforms to reach customers via their Web sites
• Advances in banking: lower socioeconomic classes are becoming more involved with online banking, which in turn allows them to shop online more easily

One factor not cited is an additional payment method. In Brazil, buyers can use boletos bancârios, which are vouchers they print from e-commerce sites. They take these boletos to their banks, pay for the product in person and then go back to the Web site to finish the transaction. A similar system was recently introduced in Mexico on a limited scale.

The study also noted another possible factor that could drive e-commerce growth in Latin America: mobile commerce or m-commerce. The study indicated that smartphone and tablet penetration could reach 50% in Latin America by 2015, making mobile a significant platform for e-commerce in the future. Some recent data suggest this could be true. In April e-commerce site Mercado Libre reported that in the past 9 months, it’s registered 2.5 million downloads of its mobile apps and that mobile now represents 3.5% of its traffic.

Growth in Major Markets
Argentina. According to the Cámara Argentina de Comercio Electrónico (Argentine Chamber of E-Commerce or CACE), total e-commerce sales in 2011 were 11.5 billion pesos (US $2.6 million), a 49.5% increase from 2010. In 2012, CACE estimates that e-commerce in Argentina will grow by another 41% to reach US$3.5 million.

Brazil. Research firm e-bit reported that e-commerce sales in Brazil reached US$10.1 billion in 2011. The firm also indicated that 53.7 million purchases were made over the Internet by Brazilians in 2011. In addition, in 2011 there were 9 million new e-commerce customers making a purchase for the first time online, and 61% of them were from the emerging Classe C middle class.

Mexico. In 2011, Mexico’s e-commerce sales totaled US$3.6 billion, according to AMIPCI (Asociación Mexicana del Internet or Mexican Internet Association). This represented 28% growth compared to 2010.

Colombia. There were nearly US$1.2 billion in e-commerce sales in Colombia in 2011, according to Alberto Pardo, president of the Cámara Colombiana de Comercio Electrónico (Colombian Chamber of E-Commerce). It’s projected that sales will grow by 100% in 2012 to reach US$2 billion.

Popular Products
Each market seems to favor different products when it comes to buying online. For Mexicans, for example, plane/bus tickets are the most popular group of products for  e-commerce purchases. Tickets to shows rank #2, while hotel reservations rank #3. Rounding out the top 5 are electronic equipment and clothes.

For Brazilians, appliances are the #1 product bought via e-commerce, followed by computers, electronics, health/beauty products and clothes/accessories.

For Argentines, top products to buy online include smartphones, women’s clothes, car accessories, men’s clothes and decorative items for the home.

For other Latin American markets, relatively little has been published about the top products purchased via e-commerce. However, a 2011 study done by Google and D’Alessio IROL that focused on other markets—including Puerto Rico, Ecuador, Panamá, Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic—showed that top e-commerce products in those countries included mobile phones, clothes, CDs/DVDs, Internet connection services and computers.

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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shopping online

Almost 60% of Latin American Internet Users Are Buying Online

E-commerce is clearly growing stronger in Latin America. A recent survey of Internet users in Latin America shows that 59% report buying products online in the past year.

Research firm Tendencias Digitales did the survey, which included 18,000 Latin American Internet users in 13 countries. It’s important to note that the survey did not include Brazil, which research indicates is the top Latin American country for e-commerce. However, the survey did research the habits of Internet users in large markets such as Argentina, Mexico, Chile and Colombia.

The chart below breaks down the percentage of Internet users in each country that reported buying a product online in the past year. Argentina is clearly the leader at 71%, tied by Chile.

While this is just one survey, the results show some interesting parallels with other research into e-commerce in Latin America. For instance, Argentina’s e-commerce market spiked by 50% in 2011, while the head of Colombia’s Chamber of E-Commerce projects 100% growth for 2012. In Mexico, research from the Asociación Mexicana de Internet (AMIPCI) indicated that 8 out of 10 Mexican Internet users had made an online purchase. AMIPCI also projects a 28% increase in e-commerce in Mexico in 2012.

Beyond these 3 countries, other Latam markets are showing strong e-commerce growth. This may be why eMarketer estimates $15.2 million in e-commerce sales for all of Latin America (except Brazil) in 2012 and then a powerful jump to $28 billion in sales by 2015.

What are these Latam shoppers buying online? Well, the Tendencias Digitales survey suggests that these are the hot products:

  • Tickets for entertainment or travel
  • Computer accessories
  • Clothing/footwear/accessories
  • Books

Other research we’ve covered has shown a slightly different list for Latin America and specific countries, such as Argentina and Mexico.

To learn more about how we can help you reach Latin American shoppers all over the region or in specific countries, contact us at info@usmediaconsulting.com.

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E-Commerce Explodes in Brazil

According to eMarketer, Brazil’s B2C e-commerce sales will total $18.7 billion in 2012—a jump of 21.9% compared to 2011. And the growth goes on from there. By 2015, eMarketer projects that B2C e-commerce sales in Brazil will reach $26.9 billion, with 31.6 million Brazilians making at least one online purchase that year.

According to eMarketer, a number of factors are driving the growth:

Multiple payment options. While 63% of Brazilian online shoppers used credit cards to make their purchases in 2010, the remaining 37% used boletos bancários. These are slips that a buyer prints out from the merchant’s Web site and takes to their bank to physically make the payment for the item. The buyer can also use the boleto bancário to make a payment via online banking. Either way, it’s a secure purchase method for buyers who don’t have credit cards.

Online security. Many potential e-customers in Brazil and Latin America have been hesitant to buy online because of security concerns. However, a 2011 survey from the Câmara Brasileira de Comércio Eletrônico indicates that 70% of Brazilian Internet users feel that online security has improved in recent years.

Further Factors
However, other changes happening in Brazil could very well impact e-commerce in 2012 and beyond.

>>>More users. First, projections suggest that 70% to 80% of Brazilian households could have Internet access by 2015—which means Brazil could go from having 78 million Internet users in 2011 to over 140 million by 2015.

>>>More mobile. The deep Internet penetration projected for 2015 refers to traditional PC connections. However, mobile phone penetration is at over 100% in Brazil and in fact, mobile devices are the #2 way for Brazilians to access the Internet. In addition, a 2011 survey from the Mobile Entertainment Forum revealed that 79% of Brazilians use their cell phones in some phase of the purchase process. Putting these two facts together suggests that mobile commerce (m-commerce) could soon start to take off in Brazil, further growing the country’s e-commerce market.

>>>More credit. According to  the Associação Brasileira das Empresas de Cartões de Crédito e Serviços, credit card ownership among Brazilians went up in 2011. The organization surveyed 4,000 Brazilian consumers and found that 72% had either credit or debit cards, up from 68% in 2010. The survey also showed that nearly half of the class C Brazilians who responded had credit cards, up from 38% in 2010. Obviously, credit cards make e-commerce a lot easier, and if this trend continues, even more Brazilian buyers could enter the country’s online marketplace.

To find out how we can help you reach the Brazilian market with an innovative crossmedia or online campaign, please contact us at info@usmediaconsulting.com.

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4 Predictions about Latin American Media in 2012

Although we’re not quite Nostradamus, after reviewing a number of different studies on the Latin American media market, we have a few predictions for 2012.


#1 Print Will Become Stronger
In in a recent media study, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) predicted that daily newspaper revenue in Latin America will grow by 4.7% per year through 2015; in that time frame, Latam’s daily newspapers will take in a combined total of $9.2 billion. Top Latam print markets in the near future include Argentina (set to grow by 32.7% per year until 2015), Brazil and Mexico. These future predictions are in line with the present. Last year magazines in Brazil broke a record for revenues, newspaper circulation in Latam is up 5% since 2005 and print media adspend continued to increase in 2011 in the region’s main markets.


#2 Brazil Will Overtake Mexico in Pay TV
In May 2011, the Latin American Multichannel Advertising Council reported that Mexico had 10.5 million homes subscribing to pay TV, ahead of Brazil (9.8 million) and Argentina (7.9). But in October, Brazil’s Agência Nacional de Telecomunicações said that 12.2 million households in Brazil were subscribing to pay TV. The quick increase and annual growth rate of 25% suggests strongly that Brazil will become Latin America’s biggest pay TV market in 2012.


#3 Online Will Surge Impressively

Until recently, online ad spend has been modest in Latam. But 2010 saw some spectacular rises, and those continued in 2011. For instance, the Cámara Argentina de Agencias de Medios reports a 86% increase in online ad spend in 2011 for Argentina. IAB Colombia and PwC reported in late 2011 that in Colombia, online ad spend grew by 69% between the third quarter of 2010 and the third quarter of 2011. And just recently, IAB Brasil announced that online ad spend went up 25% in Brazil in 2011.
These increases—as well as 40% projected Internet penetration for all of Latin America in 2012—suggest that this year will bring even more spectacular growth for online media in the region. 


#4 Mobile Will Take Off as an Ad Platform
A number of factors seem to be in place to allow for mobile ads to take off in Latin America. First, phone quality is improving: Latin Americans are buying more multimedia and smartphones. In fact, IDC research predicts an 80% increase in smartphone sales in Latin America in 2012. In addition, other mobile-friendly factors are falling in place. Brazil ranks #5 in the world in mobile Internet usage and other countries are catching up, including Mexico and Colombia. In addition, comScore’s December 2011 Device Essentials report notes that mobile devices (including phones and tablets) accounted for an average of 12.6 percent of all web browsing in 10 major Latin American markets. Brazil has 39.9% of its mobile web traffic coming from tablets, which accounted for 38.9% of Colombia’s mobile web traffic. Tablets are also important for accessing the mobile web in Ecuador (30% of traffic), Mexico (27.8%) and Costa Rica (27%).

To find out how we can help you reach the Latin American media market with a precisely targeted campaign, please contact us at info@usmediaconsulting.com.

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shopping online

The Hottest Markets in Latam E-Commerce

While the overall picture of Latin American e-commerce is encouraging, certain markets clearly show more surge than others. Here’s a breakdown of the big-money markets in Latin American online shopping:

>>>Brazil: $11.5 billion in e-commerce sales in 2011, up 45% from 2010. Forrester’s research projects e-commerce sales will top $22 billion by 2016, a 178% increase from 2010.

>>>Mexico: E-commerce grew by 25% in 2009, by 31% in 2010 and is projected to reach $3.4 billion in 2016, a 209% increase from 2010.

>>>Argentina: E-commerce grew by nearly 50% in 2010 and is projected to grow by another 43% in 2011.

>>>Colombia: E-commerce grew by only 13% in 2009 but is expected to grow by 100% between 2011 and 2012 to become a $2 billion market.

>>>Chile: Its e-commerce volume was $550 million in 2010 but per person, e-commerce sales in Chile total $152 per person, more than in the United States ($44 per person).

Who’s Buying What
The data is still fairly limited on what Latin Americans are buying overall, and it’s even harder to find out the favorite products of online shoppers in different countries. However, we were able to discover surveys that cover 3 of the biggest e-commerce markets in Latin America.

Brazil
According to a survey done in 2010 by the research firm e-bit, for Brazilian online shoppers the most popular products are:
#1 Home appliances
#2 Books/magazine & newspaper subscriptions
#3 Health/beauty/medicine products
#4 Computer products
#5 Consumer electronics

Mexico
A 2010 e-commerce study done by the Asociación Mexicana de Internet and Visa revealed that the retail products that Mexican online shoppers buy the most are:
#1 Computers
#2 Cell phones
#3 Consumer electronics
#4 Clothes and accessories
#5 Video games and game consoles

However, an article by Daniel Latev from the consumer research firm Euromonitor International states that in Mexico, tourism-related products account for 3 times as many online sales as retail products.  No specific study data was cited, but the implication appears to be that Mexicans shop more online for plane tickets and hotels than for retail products.

Argentina
A 2010 survey by TGI Net of IBOPE Media indicated that the most popular retail products for online shoppers in Argentina are:
#1 personal technology, i.e. digital cameras, MP3 players and portable video game consoles
#2 Cell phones
#3 Books
#4 Tickets to events (concerts, etc.)
#5 Home technology, which means TVs, DVD players and video game consoles
#6 Computer hardware
#7 Clothes and jewelry
#8 Airline tickets
#9 Food
#10 Toys & games

To learn more about how we can help you reach Latin American shoppers all over the region or in specific countries, contact us at info@usmediaconsulting.com.

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Following the Money with Latam’s E-Commerce

We know that e-commerce is growing nicely in Latin America, up 24% between 2009 and 2010 to hit $12 billion and that it may go up by 58% in 2011.

We also know that Brazil is home to the biggest online buyers, followed by Mexico and Argentina, and that Colombia and Chile are up-and-coming e-commerce markets.

But what Latin Americans are actually buying online is what shows the true impact of e-commerce in the region.

A November 2010 comScore study showed that the retail categories with the biggest reach are consumer electronics, computer hardware and software.

A study released in June 2011 by Google and D’Alessio IROL of Latin American online shoppers showed 5 top categories:

  • Cell phones
  • Clothes (including shoes and accessories)
  • CDs/DVDs
  • Internet connection services
  • Computers

Researching Online, Buying Offline
While both survey results offer good news for advertisers in those categories, they’re not the only ones who can benefit from Latin America’s e-commerce boom. In the comScore study, the most popular retail category for Latin American online shoppers—ahead of the ones already mentioned—is comparison shopping.

The Google study showed similar results: 52% Latin American online shoppers report that after researching a product online, they buy it offline.

Other surveys suggest why this happens: many Latin Americans are still cautious about shopping online. They’re worried about consumer data safety, scams and in certain countries the import tariffs also seem to be a factor. Delivery is another concern.

However, these circumstances potentially offer the best of both worlds for advertisers. Reaching customers with a message online can either lead to an online purchase or drive traffic to stores if they’re just researching before buying. In fact, this could explain why online ad spend has gone up so much around Latin America, spiking upward by as much as 56%.

To learn more about how we can help you reach Latin American shoppers all over the region or in specific countries, contact us at info@usmediaconsulting.com.

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The Boom Within the Boom

It’s not news that Latin America is hot. Tons of stories cover how the region boasts a spiking GDP and how Brazil is the number 7 economy in the world. There’s also the overall ad spend in Latam, up 21 percent in 2010. But the news media seem to have skipped over themselves in covering this story. Meaning this: right now, Latin American media are surging more powerfully than they ever have before. Here are 4 quick takeaways about the state of Latam media right now—and in the future.

 

Print Has Power
While newspapers and magazines in the U.S. and Europe took some severe hits in circulation and ad revenues in recent years, Latam newspapers and magazines grew impressively. And they’re going to keep growing.
Here’s a look:

 

Online Surges Strongly
The Latam media boom’s biggest blast may be happening with this sector. For years, online advertising was the region’s ugly duckling, but one big swan is now emerging. The numbers say: 


TV Still Looks Good
The region’s leading medium is still on top—and breaking records. Crunching numbers reveals: 

 

OOH Gets Out More Often
Out-of-home (OOH) advertising is another power performer in the Latam media market, boasting its own share of impressive numbers. 

  • Big and getting bigger: In 2011 the overall OOH ad spend in Latam is $1.2 billion, projected to double to $2.3 billion by 2016
  • Eye on Brazil: Despite restrictions on outdoor advertising in cities like Sao Paulo, the country still has a $464 million OOH market
  • Digital doings: Digital OOH is growing rapidly in several Latam markets but is hottest in Brazil, spiking 58% in 2010 and set to grow by 60% in 2011

  
To learn more about how we can leverage this media boom for your company, contact us at info@usmediaconsulting.com.

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