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74% of Latin Americans Want to Try M-Commerce

A while back we reported on the 657% growth in mobile commerce that is expected to take place in Brazil this year. However, a new study from Ericsson Consumer Lab suggests that other major markets in Latin America also have potential to grow significantly in terms of m-commerce.

Current Use of M-Commerce in Latin America
Ericsson opened their study with a look at the current picture of mobile commerce in Latin America, showing the percentage of the population in different countries that do transactions with their mobile devices:

Argentina        21%

Brazil               30%

Chile                31%

Colombia         28%

Mexico            31%

Opportunities for Growth
Ericsson acknowledges that there are several key challenges to m-commerce taking off in Latin America, including distrust of financial institutions, a lack of confidence in mobile providers, a reliance on a cash economy, low penetration of credit cards and a significant portion of the population (61%) that is unbanked.

At the same time, however, Ericsson observes certain key conditions exist that offer significant potential for mobile commerce to become commonplace in Latin America. These are:

According to a 2012 Ericsson survey, 74% of Latin Americans are interested in using at least one m-commerce service on their mobile phone. The m-commerce service they are most interested in is mobile banking (66%), with 44% being interested in mobile shopping.

>>>Mobile Penetration
Ericsson notes that mobile penetration is deep in many of Latam’s major markets, including Argentina (145%), Brazil (134%), Chile (152%), Colombia (106%) and Mexico (87%).

>>>Smartphone Penetration
Ericsson also breaks down smartphone penetration in major Latin American markets, with Chile the leader with 25%, followed by Argentina (24%), Colombia (20%), Mexico (20%) and Brazil (15%). While these percentages are not particularly high, we’ve noted the spike in smartphone sales in Latin America and in fact, Pyramid Research estimates 60% smartphone penetration in the region by 2017.

>>>Safety Concerns
For Latin Americans with both lower and higher incomes, m-commerce can help them avoid carrying large amount of cash or credit cards on them, thus making them less susceptible to robbery.

Paying in cash can often involve waits in long lines, whereas mobile commerce helps them avoid this.

Latin American consumers often keep detailed records of their transactions to control their spending and ensure that key bills are paid. Mobile phones can offer them help in tracking transactions by saving verifications and receipts digitally, ensuring bill payments are made on time every month and helping with budgeting.

In some areas of Latin America, bank offices are rather scarce, so m-commerce allows for payments at any time, from wherever, another distinct advantage.


Going Forward
To fully maximize these favorable conditions for m-commerce in Latin America, Ericsson says that consumer needs need to be addressed at all levels via regulation and ensuring important perquisites. Among the concerns are building trust in mobile operators and banks; making sure that m-commerce features are transparent and easy to use; services that ensure control, safety and convenience; and regulations that protect consumers.

To find out how we can help you reach Latin Americans via media campaigns of all types, please contact us.