COVID-19 undoubtedly exacerbated the economic vulnerabilities of Colombia, but the country’s economy is gradually improving. According to The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Colombia’s GDP will grow by 1.5% in 2023 and by 1.8% in 2024. 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. Below we provide the latest e-commerce available data for Colombia, drawing from several sources, including Payments and Commerce Market Intelligence (PCMI), our affiliate that specializes in global payments research, including Latin America and e-commerce sector.
As a complement to this article, we recommend reading our Infographic: How Colombians Buy Online.
Colombia E-commerce Market Overview
The 2022 report by Cámara Colombiana de Comercio Electrónico (Colombian Chamber of Electronic Commerce, or CCCE per the Spanish-language acronym) indicates that 2022 e-commerce sales in Colombia were 55.1 trillion Colombian pesos (US$13.6 billion), an 38.4% increase compared to 2021.
PCMI, AMI’s global payments affiliate, calculates e-commerce market size year over year. PCMI works 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, PCMI analysis indicates that in 2022, the e-commerce market in Colombia produced more than US$32,6 billion in sales, 46% growth over 2021.
Projections for E-Commerce in Colombia
By the end of 2023, the CCCE expects that e-commerce volume in Colombia will grow by 14% over 2022. There are already some data for Q1 2023 in Colombia in which the CCCE reported 15.1 trillion Colombian pesos in e-commerce sales (US$3.7 billion), 24.1% more than the same period of 2022, and 83% more than Q1 2021.
According to PCMI analysis, the e-commerce market in Colombia will grow by 30% in 2023 to reach a volume of US$42.3 billion. Also, PCMI forecasts that e-commerce in Colombia will have a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 27% between 2023 and 2026, so e-commerce volume in Colombia will reach US$87.3 billion by the end of 2026.
The Top-Selling Products in Colombia’s E-Commerce Market
The CCCE covers the top-selling products in terms of market share. For the first quarter of 2023, these were the top e-commerce product categories in Colombia:
- Retail (other): 15.5%
- Technology: (14.8%)
- Financial services: 12.9%
PCMI’s data are exhaustive and can be classified into significant verticals, detailing their growth rate in sales volume and their market share. According to PCMI, these would be the main e-commerce categories in Colombia according to the expected growth in 2023:
- Streaming (+68 %)
- Ride hailing and delivery apps (+39 %)
- Retail (+31 %)
- Travel (+29 %)
- Other (+23 %)
- Gaming (+11 %)
The Most Common E-Commerce Payment Methods in Colombia
The most recent data from the CCCE shows that these are the preferred payment methods in Colombia for e-commerce:
- Credit and debit cards (56.5%)
- Debit from a bank account (37.5%)
- Cash on delivery and other ways of cash payments (6%)
- Transfer (18%)
Alternatively, the Global Payments Report 2023 indicates these as the most common payment methods used in Colombian e-commerce:
- Credit card (29%)
- Account-to-account (23%)
- Digital wallet (17%)
- Debit card (17%)
- Cash on delivery (10%)
- Postpay (2%)
- Buy Now Pay Later (1%)
- Other (1%)
PCMI uses a different methodology for this analysis. According to PCMI, the most common e-commerce payment for e-commerce purchases in Colombia in 2023 will be the following:
- Internationally-enabled credit cards (39%)
- Bank transfers (32%)
- Cash vouchers (8%)
- Debit card (7%)
- Digital wallets (4%)
- Buy Now Pay Later (4%)
- Domestic-only credit cards (3%)
- Other (2%)
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
PCMI uses a different methodology to determine the main devices used for e-commerce purchases, and its data indicates that:
- During 2022, 72% of e-commerce purchases in Colombia were made with a mobile device
- During 2022, 28% of e-commerce purchases in Colombia were made with a desktop or laptop
In 2023, the percentages will shift even further in favor of mobile devices, according to PCMI projections:
- 76% of e-commerce purchases in Colombia in 2023 will be made with a mobile device
- 24% of e-commerce purchases in Colombia in 2023 will be made with desktop or laptop
Colombia E-Commerce Consumer Insights
According to the BlackStats Colombia 2023 report from BlackSip, key insights about e-commerce behavior in Colombia include:
- Only 15% of e-commerce sales in Colombia in 2022 were cross-border: the majority of transactions occurred with domestic sites
- In March 2022, Colombian e-commerce merchants had a special day called Día Sin IVA (in which products could be purchased without the impuesto sobre valor añadido or value-added tax), which produced a spike in sales and significant growth for several product categories, such as sporting goods (75%), clothing (57%), computers (38.4%) and appliances (25%)
- The most favored alternative payment methods among Colombians in 2022 were bank transfers (30%), cash (10%), and digital wallets (4%), though Buy Now Pay Later is rapidly gaining ground in Colombia and is projected to reach a penetration of 40.2% by 2028, as per the Latin America Buy Now Pay Later Market Report 2022
- 65.8% of Colombians research brands on social media, higher than any other country in Latin America and much higher than the world average of 43.1%
#2 For more specific data, PCMI 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 PCMI 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.