In 2018 Uruguay was technically the leader in m-commerce in Latin America: 49% of the country’s e-commerce transactions were done with mobile devices, versus 51% with desktop computers. However, Mexico—Latin America’s #2 e-commerce market with a volume approaching $30 billion—is not far behind Uruguay: in 2018, 45% of e-commerce transactions done in Mexico were with a mobile device. Curiously, Chileans made purchases with mobile devices much less frequently in 2018 despite the high penetration of smartphones in the country.
This data comes from a highly detailed analysis of Latin America’s e-commerce market that Americas Market Intelligence conducted this year. While we started with publicly available data, we quickly recognized that this type of data is limited because often what constitutes “e-commerce” can vary widely from organization to organization, not to mention that different organizations can use different methodologies to arrive at their conclusions.
Our approach went much deeper, not only using public data but also relying on research done with payments processors, gateways and other entities to get at actual transactions conducted, as opposed to just consumer surveys.
That’s how we were able to find out that Colombia leads LatAm in using bank transfers to shop online, that Chile and Argentina are very similar in their percentages of cross-border e-commerce transactions (though both trail Mexico) and that Peru will lead Latin America in 2019 e-commerce growth.