July 01, 2012

Consumers in Latin America are some of the most active internet users when it comes to entertainment sites and social networks. Online sales, however, are a different story, and retailers are struggling to bring buyers in Latin America online.

eMarketer estimates that only 31.7% of internet users in Latin America will make online purchases this year, putting the region above only the Middle East and Africa (28.6%) by this metric. North America and Western Europe will have the largest penetration rates at 70.5% and 69.2%, respectively.

This year, eMarketer estimates, Latin America will add over 13 million online buyers, reaching 63.6 million. While the number of online buyers is experiencing robust growth, “new online buyers usually start with inexpensive purchases, and they drive the average purchase per user down,” said eMarketer forecasting analyst Martín Utreras. As a result, the average annual B2C ecommerce sales per online buyer is expected to drop to $579 in 2012 from $590 the previous year. By 2013, this average is expected to rebound strongly to reach $593.

Online retail website penetration in Latin America ranks high when compared to other regions worldwide. According to April 2012 data from comScore, Latin America had the third-highest retail website penetration by region (70.6%), trailing North America (88.6%) and Europe (78.1%).

As online retailers in Latin America get ready to tend a growing base of online buyers, they would be well advised to implement flexible payment methods that suit a cash-driven region.

For more information at http://www.emarketer.com

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