In Logistics

Electronic commerce in Argentina has grown to the point where firms like Payments and Commerce Intelligence (PCMI) estimate that 8 out of 10 Argentine consumers shop online. The Argentine Chamber of Electronic Commerce (CACE) is even more ambitious, estimating this figure to be 9 out of 10. CACE also says e-commerce sales account for 49% of the current turnover of Argentine companies. The online turnover of these companies also increased by 87% in 2022. Given this context, it is crucial to analyze the online consumer journey in Argentina, specifically in one of its key aspects: logistics.

Below we describe the steps of the online consumer journey in Argentina and the logistics data with the greatest impact on the success of online sales.

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The Online Consumer Journey in Argentina

Step 1: The Argentine Online Consumer Becomes Motivated

The first step in the online consumer journey is motivation. This is the point at which an intention to buy could develop. In Argentina, 3 out of 5 consumers are motivated to shop online because of free or low-cost shipping, which is the prime motivator, according to TGM Research.1 Other significant logistics motivators are fast shipping and the ease of returning items.

Top 5 delivery methods for e-commerce in Argentina.

CACE also2 surveyed Argentine consumers on the disadvantages of shopping online. Paradoxically, logistics stands out as the second most important factor, behind only the disadvantage of not being able to see a product before buying it. In other words, dissatisfaction with logistics in e-commerce is much higher than the perceived dissatisfaction in customer service, website usability, or payment options.

In Argentina, 1 in 5 consumers are motivated to shop through apps because of the possibility of getting free shipping.

So from a consumer standpoint, in Argentina shipping costs in online purchases are still very high (a perception shared by 2 out of 5 consumers), and this has remain unchanged since 2019. The other complaint is delayed shipping, with 26% of consumers dissatisfied; although, to be fair, this complaint fell by 6 percentage points compared to 2019.

Argentina: complaints in e-commerce.

It is amazing how logistics plays such a key role in motivating online purchases, no less than the first step in the consumer journey, and an opportunity I have unfortunately seen many companies fail to take advantage of. In Argentina, even though it is a market with high penetration, there is still a lack of cheaper and faster shipping options, which are essential for companies to be competitive, and they could attract nearly a million new e-commerce buyers every year.

Diego Rodríguez
Logistics Practice Director

Step 2: The Online Consumer Makes a Purchase

The best-selling products online in Argentina

In Argentina, the products with the highest turnover are: i) food and drinks; ii) cell phones, and iii) white goods, according to CACE.3 Although, in terms of units sold, the top categories are: i) food and drinks; ii) home, furniture, and garden, and iii) tools and construction. This creates fascinating logistics challenges, with relevance to food purchases that require fast shipping, multiple warehouses with controlled temperatures, shipping directly from the point of sale to the customer, and significant last-mile investment, compared to products that allow for longer delivery times but require greater transportation complexity.

For Diego Rodríguez, Logistics Practice Director at AMI, this dichotomy forces companies to rethink, or even reassess, their present logistics models (whether these are outsourced or proprietary), and to set new guidelines that are relevant to their business model. In Argentina, the topic is much more complex for retailers that have a wide range of inventories.

Top online sales in Argentina (by volume of sales and by units sold).

Development of e-Commerce Among Companies in Argentina

The development of e-commerce and logistics by companies in Argentina still has a way to go but is continuing apace. Below are some data taken from Argentina’s Digital Intensity Index (IID):4

  • 41% of companies in Argentina sell through their own website or app.
  • 39% sell through marketplaces.
  • Companies attribute 68.5% of their sales to e-commerce.
  • Of the companies that have websites, just 29% have features for tracking orders.
  • Although the end consumer is important, one third of companies’ online sales are aimed at other companies (B2B) or the public sector.
  • 86.9% of online sales turnover is domestic in Argentina. 5.4% of sales are to Mercosur customers. 5.2% are to customers in other Latin American countries and 2.4% are to the rest of the world.
  • Of the sales to Mercosur, 37% of companies have experienced difficulties due to high shipping costs (the main obstacle to sales abroad).

It is important for companies in Argentina to review their strategy for selling abroad. Our internal data show cross-border e-commerce could rise by 30% in 2023 throughout Latin America, with a projection of +28% by 2024.

Diego Rodríguez
Logistics Practice Director

The credit card is the most widely-used payment method

According to surveys by CACE,5 Argentines pay for 75% of their purchases by credit card. Moreover, just 10% of purchases are paid for in cash, either upon pickup or receipt of the product, or by using tools like Pago Fácil and Rapipago. This low proportion of cash payments has remained stable since 2021. Today, there appears to be no need for logistics operators to accept payment on delivery, as is common in Colombia, except, perhaps, in the case of informal businesses.

Data from AMI affiliate Payments and Commerce Market Intelligence (PCMI) support this argument. According to PCMI, cash payment methods have fallen from 11% in 2018 to barely 2% in 2023. Meanwhile, credit cards have a 54% market share in 2023. PCMI’s data are based on transactional data of online purchases done through payment platforms; including, for example, cash payment by Pago Fácil through PayU. Analyzing these data together with data from CACE, only a very small fraction of Argentine consumers appear to be using pay-on-delivery options to pay for their products.

Top payment methods for e-commerce in Argentina.

Step 3: The Argentine Online Consumer Receives Their Product

The third step is delivery. In Argentina, 1.2 of every 2 online orders are shipped to the doorstep, this being the consumer’s preferred delivery method, according to CACE.6

Nevertheless, companies say a high proportion of orders are picked up at the point of sale. This percentage is 35%, a significant enough figure to consider store infrastructure and the capacity to offer convenient deliveries through counters, pickup lockers, and other click-and-collect methods. According to CACE, companies report that just 2% of their sales are handled through pickup networks. For Diego Rodríguez, the fact that this percentage is so low may be due to insufficient pickup networks rather than a specific preference for point-of-sale pickups.

Top 3 delivery methods for e-commerce in Argentina, from the consumer point of view.

If we analyze the same data from a consumer standpoint, 73% of online shoppers prefer home delivery. At the same time, 44% prefer picking up the product, the top preference being pickup at the logistics operator’s branch, followed by point-of-sale pickup. These data are from surveys where it is possible to choose more than one option. As you can see, the data do not add up to 100%; in other words, the online consumer in Argentina prefers one shipping method more and values the flexibility of choosing the one that suits them best depending on the occasion.

Top 3 delivery methods for e-commerce in Argentina, survey to companies/businesses.

Step 4: The Argentine Online Consumer Could Return Their Product

Interestingly, satisfaction levels for online purchases in Argentina remain high. In 2022, CACE found that 98% of Argentines feel satisfied with their purchases. This represents a low rate of product returns. In this regard, there are no recent public data on returns of online purchases in Argentina. According to recent interviews by the AMI team, it is estimated that 15% to 20% of products purchased online through e-commerce are returned.7 However, rates vary depending on the category, the highest being clothing and fashion; while the lowest is cosmetics and beauty products.

AMI, the Leading Logistics Intelligence Firm for Latin America

Americas Market Intelligence is the leading consulting firm in e-commerce and the logistics chain in Latin America. We offer multinationals and decision-makers advice on the growth potential of customer segments in their country of interest. Our market studies provide first-hand data and a strategic approach tailored to your growth or investment needs.

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  1. TGM Global E-Commerce Survey 2022 ↩︎
  2. CACE, Kantar, 2022. Los argentinos y el eCommerce, ¿cómo compramos y vendemos online? ↩︎
  3. CACE, Kantar. Informe Mid Term 2023 ↩︎
  4. Observatorio de Productividad y Competitividad de la Cámara Argentina de Comercio y Servicios (CAC). Índice de Intensidad Digital. Marzo, 2023. Los resultados corresponden a 2022 ↩︎
  5. CACE, Kantar. Informe Mid Term 2023 ↩︎
  6. CACE, Kantar, 2022. Los argentinos y el eCommerce, ¿cómo compramos y vendemos online? ↩︎
  7. Locad. “Return rates↩︎

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