In Payments

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 7.6% in 2021, and by 3.5% in 2022, reaching the pre-pandemic levels of 2019.

As for e-commerce, Colombia follows the same path as its regional partners, Chile, Brazil, Mexico and Peru. According to Americas Market Intelligence (AMI), from 2019 to 2020 there was a 4% growth of e-commerce penetration in comparison to total retail. Below we provide the latest e-commerce available data for Colombia.


The LatAm E-Commerce Datapack, 2020-2024

The LatAm E-Commerce Datapack, 2020-2024

Strategic data on market volumes, purchase habits, payment methods, demand drivers and more for 11 countries


Market Overview

A recent report entitled BlackIndex: Reporte del Ecommerce en Colombia by the firm BlackSip forecasted a 28% growth of 2020 total online sales in Colombia, allowing it to reach a volume of 27 trillion Colombian pesos (US$6.9 billion).

Another report from the Cámara Colombiana de Comercio Electrónico (Colombian Chamber of E-Commerce or CCCE per the Spanish-language acronym) forecasted a 20% growth of 2020 total e-commerce sales in comparison to 2019. Unfortunately, CCCE didn’t provide data about the online total volume of sales for the whole of 2020 in Colombia.

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 2020, the e-commerce market in Colombia produced more than US$16 billion in sales.


Projections for Colombia E-Commerce

By the end of 2021, the CCCE expects that e-commerce volume in Colombia will grow by 16% over 2020. There are already some data for Q1 2021 in Colombia in which the CCE reported 8.56 trillion Colombian pesos in e-commerce sales (US$ 2.2 billion), 44.3% more than the same period of 2020, and 72% more than 2019. This growth could evolve as government initiatives like the day without VAT take place.

According to AMI analysis, the e-commerce market in Colombia will grow by 20% in 2021 to reach US$18.8 billion. Also, e-commerce in Colombia will have a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 21% between 2020 and 2024, so e-commerce volume in Colombia will reach US$34.5 billion by the end of 2024.


The Top-Selling Products in Colombia E-Commerce Market

The CCCE reports covers the top-selling categories in Colombia’s e-commerce market month over month. However, is difficult to determine the market share by category from the graphic. The CCCE also includes both services and products as part of their calculation. That said, the most popular product/services categories purchased via a direct online payment are (as of June 2021):

  • Financial services
  • Another servies
  • Travel and tourism*
  • Technology*
  • Retail*

It is important to note that in the Colombian market, online sales account for about 10% of total e-commerce market, while collection transactions (such as public services and taxes) account for the remainder of online transactions.

*Note: The report doesn’t provide a definition about what these categories cover.


The BlackSip 2020 report cites data from Nielsen that indicates the following categories as the biggest sellers in Colombian e-commerce:

  1. Electro (31.2%)
  2. Textile (16.1%)
  3. Home and seasonal products (15%)
  4. Pharmacy (7%)
  5. Groceries, drinks and perishables (3%)

Also, according to a study by Mercado Libre, these were the biggest-selling products on this e-commerce platform during 2020:

  1. Surgical Masks
  2. Antibacterial gel
  3. Health Care
  4. Headphones
  5. Suplements
  6. Disposable gloves
  7. Board games
  8. Videogames
  9. Hair Clippers
  10. Fitness equipment

The Most Common E-Commerce Payment Methods in Colombia

The most recent data from the CCCE, which is from Q2 2021, show that these are the preferred payment methods in Colombia for e-commerce:

  1. Debit from a bank account (62.4%)
  2. Credit and debit cards (32.9%)
  3. Cash on delivery (4.7%)

Alternatively, a study by FIS indicates that the preferred payment methods for e-commerce in Colombia during 2020 are as follows:

  1. Credit card (32%)
  2. Debit card (20%)
  3. Bank transfer (16%)
  4. Digital wallet (13%)
  5. Cash on delivery (11%)
  6. Postpaid (4%)
  7. Prepaid card (2%)
  8. Other (1%)
  9. Charge card and deferred payment (1%)


AMI uses a different methodology for these analyses. As per AMI, the most common payment methods used for e-commerce shopping in Colombia during 2021 (forecasted) were:

  1. Credit cards (43%)
  2. Bank transfers (28%)
  3. Debit cards (17%)
  4. Cash vouchers (6%)
  5. Wallets (5%)
  6. Other (2%)

6 Megatrends in Latin America Payments for 2021 and Beyond

6 Megatrends in Latin America Payments for 2021 and Beyond

How to leverage the large-scale changes in the market


Main Devices Used for E-Commerce Purchases in Colombia

According to Estudio del consumo, percepción y comportamiento del Comercio Electrónico en Colombia 2020 by Juan D. Camargo in 2020:

  • 72% of Colombian e-commerce shoppers purchase with a mobile phone or smartphone
  • 28% of Colombian e-commerce shoppers purchase with a computer or laptop

Also:

  • 37% of Colombians prefer to make online purchases through social media (Facebook, Instagram)
  • 41% of Colombians prefer to make online purchases through webpage (online stores)
  • 22% of Colombians prefer to make online purchases through a mobile app

AMI uses a different methodology to determine this and its data indicates that:

  • During 2020, 64% of e-commerce purchases in Colombia were made with a mobile device
  • During, 36% of e-commerce purchases in Colombia were made with a desktop

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

Colombia E-Commerce Consumer Insights

Finally, according to Camargo’s study, some key factors to consider regarding Colombian e-commerce shoppers include (survey-based data):

  • 60% of Colombian women prefer to buy online through social media. On the other hand, 60% of Colombian men prefer to buy through web pages.  
  • Key factors important to Colombians when buying online:
    • Site speed
    • Product videos and photos
    • Delivery speed
  • 58% of colombian e-shoppers consider free shipping as an extra motivation to buy.
  • Main reasons people buy online in Colombia:
    • Comfort (25%)
    • Impulse (23%)
    • Due to someone else’s recommendation (21%)
    • To find a better price (15%)
    • To find more options and compare (7%)
    • To support the brand (7%)
    • To access exclusive products (2%)
  • 61.9% of Colombian e-shoppers would value an online store that would sell 100% Colombian products.
  • Only 16.1% of Colombian e-shoppers made online purchases from foreign websites during 2020.

The LatAm E-Commerce Datapack, 2020-2024

The LatAm E-Commerce Datapack, 2020-2024

Strategic data on market volumes, purchase habits, payment methods, demand drivers and more for 11 countries


Going Further

#1 Our 2020-2024 E-Commerce Datapack contains extensive data on Colombia. Click here to find out how to order a copy.

#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 Colombia, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Peru.

Recommended Posts