THE LATIN AMERICA E-COMMERCE REPORT: The region’s top markets, biggest growth opportunities, and foreign retailers making inroads

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Despite the economic downturn, Latin America is a market retailers have to pay attention to. It’s one of the top regions in the world for e-commerce growth, and those retailers that build out their e-commerce operations now will be in the best position to grab market share when the economy rebounds.

In a new report from BI Intelligence, we size Latin America’s biggest e-commerce markets — Brazil, Mexico, and Argentina — and project how online retail sales will rise in these countries. We look at the growth drivers in each market and identify opportunities and challenges for foreign retailers operating there.

Here are some of the key takeaways:

  • Latin America is one of the fastest-growing regions for e-commerce, behind Asia-Pacific. We expect online retail sales to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 17% between 2014 and 2019 to reach $85 billion in sales at the end of the forecast period.
  • Brazil is the largest online retail market in Latin America, accounting for 42% of the region’s $47.4 billion in e-commerce sales. But e-commerce growth is decelerating due to an economic downturn. Between 2014 and 2019, we expect e-commerce sales to rise at a CAGR of 12.5%.
  • Mexico is the second-largest market for e-commerce in Latin America. Mexico currently accounts for 12.3% of the region’s e-commerce, but we expect Mexico’s share to increase to 15.6% by 2019. By 2018, Mexico is forecast to reach $11 billion in e-commerce sales — or just under 2.5% of total retail sales in the country.
  • Argentina ranks third in terms of online retail sales in Latin America, but it will be the fastest-growing e-commerce market of the three countries. The country currently accounts for 8.9% of sales in the region, but by 2019, we expect its market share to increase to 14.6%.
  • US retailers are investing heavily in building out their e-commerce businesses in the region, despite the slowing economy. Walmart recently redesigned its country-specific site in Brazil and is finalising construction of three new e-commerce fulfillment centres in the country — doubling its current fulfillment network. Amazon has been investing heavily in Mexico, launching a Spanish-speaking version of its shopping site under the Mexican domain

In full, the report:

  • Forecasts the strengths and weaknesses of each major Latin American e-commerce market.
  • Outlines the top-selling product categories online in Brazil, Argentina, and Mexico.
  • Discusses what major US retailers are doing in Latin America.

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