13 April, 2020
Covid-19 lifts e-commerce usage in Latin America

As covid-19 drives a surge in e-commerce purchases, digital retailers are facing a unique set of challenges

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By Fabiola Seminario

 

Covid-19 offers a big opportunity for e-commerce, says the Lima Chamber of Commerce, amid a leap in online purchases globally.

Brazilians bought 40% more online in the first two weeks of March compared to the same period a year earlier, according to Statista data. In the USA, online purchases of consumer packaged goods leaped 85% year on year in mid-March as the country adjusted to stay-at-home instructions, growth that Nielsen described as “unparalleled”.

In Peru, e-commerce purchases reached more than PEN10 million, growth of 49%, the first seven days of the country’s quarantine, according to data from Niubiz, formerly known as VisaNet Peru.

As such, this crisis represents an “opportunity” for that sector, Jaime Montenegro, leader of the area of ​​information technology & e-commerce at the Lima Chamber of Commerce (CCL) said during a webinar on the impact of coronavirus on e-commerce.

“The inability to leave home will drive progressively increasing online orders,” explains Montenegro. “This is observed in other countries where COVID-19 has arrived before ours. There is an explosion of online shopping.”

In Mexico, for example, home orders have grown to triple digits, evidently caused to avoid the transmission of the virus.

Jüsto, a Mexican solution that allows you to shop without leaving your home, registered a growth in order demand of 300%.

MercadoLibre sales of household and laundry products in Mexico jumped by 403% in March, according to Statista data.

Statistic: Change in sales of Mercado Libre due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) in Mexico in March 2020, by category | Statista
Find more statistics at Statista

 

Covid-19’s challenges for e-commerce

Although coronavirus is driving a surge in demand for e-commerce, it also come with new obstacles. Among them a potential for shortages, especially of products made in China.

Beyond optimizing the checkout process to maximize sales, Montenegro recommends e-commerce companies prioritize selling items that are well-stocked – to avoid surprises at the checkout if a product has run out – and actively communicate with customers about products available and payment methods.

 

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