January 14, 2013

While Argentina’s digital buyer penetration rate trails more developed internet economies, the Latin American country leads the region in the percentage of internet users buying via online and mobile channels. Digital buyer penetration will reach 45.7% by the end of the year, according to eMarketer estimates. The country will exceed Brazil, which has the next greatest concentration of digital buyers, by nearly 10 percentage points in 2013. Argentina will remain the country with the highest percentage of digital buyers in the region through 2016.

In total, eMarketer forecasts that Argentina will have 9.2 million digital buyers this year, rising to 11.8 million by 2016.

Argentina also leads Latin America in the percentage of its overall population that goes online, with nearly 60% penetration this year, though its raw number of internet users remains low. For both Brazil and Mexico, internet penetration stands at about 44%. This means that the higher concentration of digital buyers in Argentina is not a reflection of depressed levels of internet usage throughout the country, but instead indicates comfort with the digital ecosystem among a wider swath of the country.

Argentina grew its digital buyer base last year by 27%—the fastest rate in the region, according to eMarketer. This year, however, the lagging ecommerce market in Mexico will begin to grow faster, with its digital buyer base rising by 16%, compared with Argentina’s 14% growth. In 2016, Mexico’s share of the digital buying population of Latin America will surpass Argentina.

The high percentage buying via digital channels in Argentina is pulling down average spending per buyer, as the country will trail the regional average spend by about $200 this year, eMarketer estimates. While digital buyers in the region will average outlays of $620 per person, consumers in Argentina will shell out only $428 each on average.

Argentina will remain the smallest market in Latin America among the key countries in terms of B2C ecommerce sales, with $3.94 billion in spending this year.

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