COVID-19 has exacerbated the economic vulnerabilities of Colombia, but there seems to be a bright spot for the country’s economy. According to The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Colombia’s GDP will grow by 6.1% in 2022, and by 2.1% in 2023. Private consumption will be the main driver of its recovery, driven by a gradual uptick in employment.
As for e-commerce, Colombia follows the same path as its regional partners, Chile, Brazil, Mexico and Peru. According to Americas Market Intelligence (AMI), Colombian e-commerce will represent 18% of total retail in 2022.
Below we provide the latest e-commerce available data for Colombia.
As a complement to this article, we recommend reading our Infographic: How Colombians Buy Online.
Colombia E-commerce Market Overview
The final 2021 report by Cámara Colombiana de Comercio Electrónico (Colombian Chamber of Electronic Commerce, or CCCE per the Spanish-language acronym) indicates that 2021 e-commerce sales in Colombia were 39.9 trillion Colombian pesos (US$10.7 billion), an 40.2% increase from 2020.
At Americas Market Intelligence (AMI), we calculate e-commerce market size year over year. We work in all merchant verticals, PC, mobile and in-app purchases, cross border e-commerce transactions using a locally issued card and all card-not-present transactions, such as recurring payments.
As such, AMI analysis indicates that in 2021, the e-commerce market in Colombia produced more than US$22,4 billion in sales, 26% growth over 2020.
Projections for E-Commerce in Colombia
By the end of 2022, the CCCE expects that e-commerce volume in Colombia will grow by 15% over 2021. There are already some data for Q1 2022 in Colombia in which the CCE reported 12.2 trillion Colombian pesos in e-commerce sales (US$ 3.12 billion), 47.6% more than the same period of 2021, and 109.5% more than 2020.
However, the CCCE indicates that “perspectives on the consumption of goods in Colombian households and, in particular, through the digital channel have a high degree of uncertainty.” The above is mainly due to the shortage of semiconductors, the interruption in global logistics chains due to COVID-19, and the deflationary pressure on the Colombian peso because of the monetary policies of the central banks of the United States and the European Union.
On the other hand, according to AMI analysis, the e-commerce market in Colombia will grow by 26% in 2022 to reach a volume of US$28.3 billion. Also, AMI forecasts that e-commerce in Colombia will have a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 26% between 2021 and 2025, so e-commerce volume in Colombia will reach US$56.8 billion by the end of 2025.
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The Top-Selling Products in Colombia’s E-Commerce Market
The CCCE covers the top-selling products in terms of market share, month over month. These would be the best-selling products in Colombia as of February 2022:
- Other retail products (it doesn’t specify what kind of products)
- Fashion and beauty
Note: The CCCE reports don’t provide a definition of what kind of products these categories include.
It is important to note that the CCCE classifies the Colombian e-commerce market into two types of transactions: online sales and collection transactions (such as public services and taxes). That said, during Q1 2022, collection transactions accounted for 88.7% of the e-commerce market in Colombia, while online sales accounted for only 11.3%. But as for number of transactions, both online sales and collection transactions had a share of ~50 %.
The Most Common E-Commerce Payment Methods in Colombia
The most recent data from the CCCE, which is from Q1 2022, show that these are the preferred payment methods in Colombia for e-commerce:
- Credit and debit cards (54.8%)
- Debit from a bank account (39.6%)
- Cash on delivery and other ways of cash payments (5.5%)
Alternatively, a study by FIS indicates that the preferred payment methods for e-commerce in Colombia during 2021 were as follows:
- Credit card (35%)
- Debit card (19%)
- Bank transfer (17%)
- Digital wallet (14%)
- Cash on delivery (10%)
- Postpaid (5%)
- Buy Now Pay Later (1%)
AMI uses a different methodology for this analysis. According to AMI, the most common e-commerce payment for e-commerce purchases in Colombia in 2021 were the following:
- Bank transfers (34%)
- Credit card (31%)
- Cash vouchers (17%)
- Debit card (9%)
- Digital wallets (4%)
- Buy Now Pay Later (1.6%)
- Otros* (3%)
*Includes gift cards, cash-on-delivery, direct carrier billing, and other miscellaneous payment methods.
Main Devices Used for E-Commerce Purchases in Colombia
The BlackSip 2021-2022 e-commerce report cites data from Hootsuite and We Are Social regarding device use among Colombians; however, it doesn’t specify whether these devices were used to make online purchases. According to this report:
- 52.9% of Colombians use mobile devices to access the internet
- 46.2% of Colombians use computers or laptops to access the internet
- 0.9% of Colombians use tablets to access the internet
- 0.04% of Colombians use video consoles and other kinds of devices to access the internet
AMI uses a different methodology to determine the main devices used for e-commerce purchases, and its data indicates that:
- During 2021, 69% of e-commerce purchases in Colombia were made with a mobile device
- During 2021, 31% of e-commerce purchases in Colombia were made with a desktop or laptop
By 2022, the percentages will shift even further in favor of mobile devices, according to AMI projections:
- 72% of e-commerce purchases in Colombia in 2022 will be made with a mobile device
- 28% of e-commerce purchases in Colombia in 2022 will be made with desktop or laptop
Colombia E-Commerce Consumer Insights
According to the CCCE, there are some key factors to consider regarding Colombian e-commerce market:
- “For the second half of 2022, the new government will have to face a high fiscal deficit that may carry out a new tax reform or a change in Colombia’s fiscal and monetary policies. In the first case, this may cause a contraction in household spending, while in the second, it can cause spending growth in the short term, with the increase in inflation in 2022“.
- According to a CCCE survey, most Colombians consider that “the progress in vaccination and the return to normality will not have major effects on online commerce.” People declare they will keep buying online and in brick-and-mortar stores.
And according to BlackSip 2021-2022 report:
- “Payment methods in Colombia have got diverse across time. Grupo Bancolombia indicates that PSE is the most preferred payment method for Colombians when making an online transaction.”
- Delivery apps (iFood, Rappi, others) have a high growth potential in 2022. It is expected that new services come to life within these kinds of apps.
#2 For more specific data, AMI specializes in research and market intelligence for the Colombian and LatAm e-commerce markets in a number of key areas:
- Identifying the major payment methods used in Colombia’s e-commerce market to help merchants with strategic planning, market entry and market expansion
- Helping merchants understand the cross-border e-commerce potential in Colombia and the practices that can increase cross-border sales
- Using artificial intelligence and machine learning to help e-commerce merchants focused on Colombia to analyze their customer data for a deeper understanding of e-commerce shopper behavior and tendencies so as to refine their marketing tactics, messaging and consumer outreach
Contact us if your company has specific data, market research or market intelligence needs regarding the e-commerce market in Latin America or in specific markets such as Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Peru.