September 24, 2012

Latin America has been slow to join the ecommerce culture, and while the region still faces hurdles in convincing consumers in the cash-driven economy to buy online, the online buying population has begun to rise rapidly. In 2012, the region will post the second-highest growth in online buyers worldwide, according to eMarketer, at 26.4%.

For those consumers in Latin America who have already transitioned to buying online, comScore found in July that 68% said they begin the purchase process directly on retailer websites. This suggests that when a consumer in Latin America decides to shop and potentially buy online, they have a sense of what they’re looking for.

And often what they are looking for is apparel and accessories. The clothing and footwear segment constituted the most purchased items among online buyers at 43%. Computer electronics came in just behind, at 41%, suggesting that consumers in Latin America do not have a strong preference for either inexpensive or easily decided-upon goods.

But even if consumers in Latin America are open to higher-end products, they still care about shopping around for the best price. While consumers may begin their purchase journey on a retailer website, that does not mean they will necessarily buy what they see there, even if it may be the desired item.

June data from comScore found that price comparison led the online retail categories, with 25% reach among all internet users. MercadoLibre, an online auction site and eBay partner, is the dominant retail site in Latin America, and the website where much of that price comparing is happening.

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