Although the US is by far the largest e-commerce market in the Americas, e-commerce activities in Latin America have been growing strongly over the last several years.

Growth has occurred despite the challenges that the region presents such as lower Internet penetration levels, modest access to banking and credit facilities and lower urbanisation levels that make shipping products less reliable for both buyers and seller.

Smartphones in Latin America

Notwithstanding these challenges, in countries such as Brazil, Mexico, Peru and Argentina – currently the largest e-commerce markets in Latin America – a number of local e-commerce initiatives have managed to adapt to this context successfully, offering creative solutions to facilitate payments and product delivery.

The increasing availability of connected mobile devices, such as smartphones, is one of the main growth drivers for e-commerce activities globally, according to GlobalData.

This trend is stronger in emerging markets, such as Latin America, where smartphones are often the main online tool to access the Internet.

In the US, for instance, e-commerce transactions accounted for 25.3% of the total B2C e-commerce revenue in 2018, while in Brazil and Mexico this share reached 32.9% and 44.4%, respectively.

Smartphone penetration of the population in Latin America stood at 63%, as of year-end 2018, increasing to 79%, in 2023, supporting this trend in the coming years.

Smartphone penetration of the population, 2018 versus 2023

Source: GlobalData

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