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E-commerce in Latin America: Chile, Brazil and Peru lead online sales
Wednesday, June 26, 2024 - 18:40
E-commerce. Foto: Andina.

The most active categories are electronics, home and telephony. In addition, Asian online platforms (Aliexpress, Shopee, Shein and Temu) have gained a significant presence in transactions in the region.

E -commerce in Latin America is in a phase of rapid growth, especially compared to offline (physical) commerce . Although they do not follow the same pace, the region as a whole shows an improvement in its performance of 9.5% for the mass consumption category ( Fast Moving Consumer Group , FMCG), and 12% in the modern trade sector . Additionally, online retail sales have increased by 4.1%.

The figures, which compare the year 2023 with 2022, suggest that there is a great market potential that has not yet been fully exploited in Latin America, which represents opportunities for businesses and entrepreneurs, said José Miguel Cruz Fernández, founder and commercial manager of the global consumer intelligence company, NielsenIQ, during ' E-Commerce Day 2024 ' in Peru.

“[In the e-commerce world ] for every US$100 traded, four come from Latin America,” Cruz added.

Now, the results of the NielsenIQ study indicate that Chile and Colombia lead the growth of e-commerce in the FMCG category with 6.7% and 6.1%, respectively. They are followed by Peru (5.2%), Brazil (4.2%) and Argentina (3.3%). And, in terms of transaction volume, the most active categories are electronics, home and telephony.

Likewise, it stands out that sales from the online channel captured 73% of the assortment available in the physical channel (+13 pp), and where 26% were made under promotion, reflecting an increase of 1.8% compared to 2022.

“It is a mistake to think of online as a projection of your physical business model,” Cruz commented. “They are different models and strategies.”

In that same line of thought, he described as “interesting” the fact that there are three exogenous elements to the industry that provide it with a value attribute and explain why consumers prefer to buy online . These are: promotions and price (70%), fast delivery (60%), and free delivery (60%).

“It is marketplace sales that drive the online channel in Latin America,” he noted.

Once again, Chile leads with 40% of its sales made online , of which 10.5% come from the marketplace. Brazil is positioned in second place, with a total of 29.4%, of which 15% comes from the marketplace . And, closing the Top 3 is Peru, with 25.8% of online sales , of which 8.7% come from the marketplace.

Finally, given that e-commerce facilitates global competition between various actors, the study highlighted the participation of Asian platforms in e-commerce transactions in Latin America. During the first quarter of 2024, platforms such as Aliexpress, Shopee, Shein and Temu (in Mexico and Chile) have gained a significant presence in the region, since 38% of the transactions made in Brazil belong to them, followed by Mexico with 32%, Chile with 29%, Colombia with 17% and Argentina with 5%.


Peru went from being the sixth digital economy in Latin America in 2019 to the fourth currently. This is due to the phenomenon that was the massification of digital wallets led by Yape and Plin, said Jaime Montenegro, Head of the Digital Transformation Center of the Lima Chamber of Commerce (CCL).

And before the pandemic, the level of banking coverage barely exceeded 20% and, of the 100% of card operations, only 13% were for online transactions . Already in 2023, not only did digital payments surpass card payments in physical establishments, but also the level of banking services exceeded 57%, a goal that the Digital Transformation Center estimated to achieve in 2027.

“The transactions add up to an annual value of US$5,195 million annually if digital payments made in physical establishments are considered,” commented Montenegro.

Although today three out of every four Peruvians who buy online do so at least once a month, the socioeconomic and political context of the country caused the purchase of high ticket products to fall, such as household appliances (38.9%), the same sector that The NielsenIQ study points out as the most benefited.

Groceries (56.4%) are those that lead the importance in the internet market in Peru.

“But this year it looks different,” he said positively.

The point with which Montenegro and the study agree is the fact that marketplaces will continue to lead this transformation, while omnichannel and unified commerce are consolidated as essential strategies for success in e-commerce .

“The digitalization of the Peruvian industry continues to advance, with business models such as B2B ( business-to-business ), D2C ( direct-to-consumer ) and B2B2C ( business-to-business-to-consumer ) gaining ground,” he explained. .

Developing talent in disruptive technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and tools like ChatGPT are crucial to maintaining the pace of innovation. Furthermore, he continued, infrastructure presents a golden opportunity, with significant projects such as the Chancay Megaport and the New Jorge Chávez International Airport. These improvements position Peru favorably to bet on cross-border e-commerce , taking advantage of its connection with the entire world.

“We must continue promoting the digital economy in the country,” concluded Montenegro.



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