July 24, 2012
We just published our new Latin American Online Retail Forecast, 2012-2017 which forecasts growth in Brazil, Mexico and, for the first time, Argentina. In the report, we analyze the B2C and C2C online retail markets in these three countries, and note that:
Brazil remains the largest eCommerce market in Latin America by a wide margin. Despite the economic slowdown in Brazil, eCommerce continues to charge ahead in the country, surpassing USD 12 Billion this year. Unlike the other two markets we forecast in the region, Brazil’s eCommerce market is heavily driven by mass-market consumers: Our surveys indicate that over half of metropolitan online users whose monthly income is less than BRL 4,000 (around USD 2,000) shop online in Brazil. Online shoppers in Brazil are also starting to diversify their purchases beyond early adopter categories such as books and media, consumer electronics and computer hardware.
eCommerce revenues in Mexico are growing rapidly off a small base. In contrast to Brazil, eCommerce in Mexico remains at an early stage, with small but growing revenues. Online buyers tend to be relatively affluent, but per capita online spending remains quite low. As the online buying population expands and starts to encompass a broader demographic, eBusinesses will need to take into account the large percentage of consumers in Mexico who do not have credit cards and who access the Internet outside the home or office.
In Argentina, eCommerce is driving forward, but import restrictions give global brands pause. Like other markets in the region, Argentina is seeing its online retail sales increase by a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of close to 20%. The eCommerce market in Argentina is similar in size to that of Mexico, despite Mexico's much larger population and economy. However, Argentina's stringent import restrictions currently present hurdles to global eBusinesses interested in selling online in the country.
Note that our forecast does not include online travel sales, a category that can help lay the groundwork for online retail sales to take off (we discussed this trend in our recent research on How eCommerce Markets Evolve).