In Ecommerce, Logistics

There are an estimated 128 million Brazilian online buyers (more than 70% of the adult population). Each of these buyers are spending around USD 981 on online purchases per year, according to research by Americas Market Intelligence (AMI).

“Companies that have reacted wisely to the e-commerce landscape in Brazil are currently enjoying a greater competitive advantage,” says Diego Rodríguez, Logistics Practice Director at AMI. “These players have taken the time to identify the Brazilian consumer’s buying journey and have consequently made a strategic investment in improvements that offer greater impact and opportunity for retaining their ideal customer,” he says. According to Rodríguez, regarding e-commerce over the past year, AMI market studies requested for Brazil have focused mainly on the movement of money—open-banking regulation, for example—and on the optimization of logistics services.

With this in mind, at AMI we have identified the buying journey of the Brazilian online consumer, and particularly the inflection points that have led to success for current e-commerce leaders in terms of logistics.

Brazil has the most developed e-commerce in Latin America, contributing 11% to its GDP, according to Americas Market Intelligence. In 2022, AMI studies estimated e-commerce turnover in Brazil at USD 211 billion, higher than all other Latin American countries combined. In fact, Brazil’s share of regional e-commerce is 53%.

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Step 1: the Brazilian online buyer becomes motivated

This is one of the first stages of the Brazilian e-shopper’s buying journey, from which an intention to purchase then develops. In Brazil, “consumer attitudes can be influenced by aspects such as a returns policy or customer service, consumer motivators that go beyond a brand’s marketing or organic positioning,” Rodríguez says. In the beauty and health sector, the option for exchanges and refunds influences the buying decision of 95% of Brazilian consumers, according to a study by Worldpay from FIS. More specifically, nine out of ten Brazilians would be more motivated to buy with an instant refunds policy.

Moreover, cross-border logistics in Brazil are gaining ground. “There is a highly interesting question in Brazil, which is that, despite our studies showing that domestic e-commerce occupies nearly 95% of the current turnover, cross-border e-commerce is fighting for a greater market share, especially from the Asian continent with brands like Shopee and AliExpress,” Rodríguez says. In fact, traffic to Shopee grew by 25% in 2022, equivalent to more than 35 million accesses per month, according to Conversion. Another major player is Amazon, which announced the launch of its Delivery by Amazon program in 2021, to provide logistics services in purchases for Brazil.

AMI estimates the volume of cross-border e-commerce in Brazil will account for an 8% share in 2026. This would represent roughly a 30% annual increase in sales from 2023 onward.

Shopping

Step 2: the Brazilian online consumer buys

The second key step in the Brazilian consumer journey is the purchase. During this step the business has the responsibility to gain detailed knowledge of its ideal customer or buyer persona in order to display the best marketing and communication strategies for its brand. An estimated 58% of Brazilian buyers are women—facts shared in our Brazil e-commerce infographic—but we should keep in mind that on average women spend 30% less than men. Other aspects to find out about the ideal customer include their age, peak buying time, tastes, and interests.

Later, the Brazilian online buyer makes the transaction, but payment methods for e-commerce in Brazil have been evolving. “Pix has become a global benchmark in instant payments,” says Rodríguez. “Our market intelligence estimates that Pix could have almost a 40% market share in e-commerce purchases by 2026. In fact, between 2021 and 2022 alone, there was a huge 97% increase in the volume of transactions settled using this payment method. In addition, according to data from Brazil’s central bank, 10% of Pix transactions are made at stores. And in December 2022, more than 25 million Pix keys were registered by businesses—nearly 5% of all keys—and nearly 11 million by business users (8%).


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In this buying step, logistics are also a key factor:

At least 70% of Brazilian consumers have used or would use free shipping for their digital purchases.[1] Another data point shows that 50% of e-commerce orders during the first half of 2022 included free shipping.[2]

Shipping and storage should be a priority for businesses, and a necessary investment for the logistics chain.

Diego Rodríguez
Diego Rodríguez, Logistics Practice Director
Americas Market Intelligence (AMI)


The trend is even stronger in supermarket shopping. Free shipping is the preferred promotion for 79% of Brazilian consumers. In turn, 42% of Brazilian online buyers prefer shopping through apps that “offer fast shipping,” according to Webshoppers.

For Diego Rodríguez, Logistics Practice Director at AMI, shipping and storage should be a priority for businesses, and a necessary investment for the logistics chain. Top e-commerce players like Magazine Luiza or Mercado Libre have found a way to take advantage of this by creating new business models, as is the case with Magalu Entregas and Mercado Envíos. “These models can handle the inventory of hundreds of allied businesses at their distribution centers. Managing these shipments with their own logistics then equates to reliability for users and allies, cost optimization, and a way of bringing quality to product delivery,” Rodríguez says.

At the moment, Colliers Brasil estimates that 67% of the country’s logistics condominiums are in the states of São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, which is at least related to the higher concentration of e-commerce in the southeast region (see graph). However, there is agreement that decentralization in logistics is a trend in the near term.

Step 3: the Brazilian online buyer receives their product

Another decisive step in the buying journey of the Brazilian online consumer is related to product delivery. According to surveys by Capterra, nine out of ten online buyers have managed to shorten the delivery times of their products, and also expect them to arrive within one to two business days, an e-commerce trend in Brazil known as Quick commerce. Marcela Gava, a content analyst at Capterra, says consumers prefer fast deliveries over factors such as price. “Brazil’s big retailers have even fought over the use of the slogan ‘entregas mais rápidas’ (faster deliveries),” he says.

56% of Brazilian online consumers believe the satisfaction level in their purchases is affected by the delivery service.[3]

Moreover, in Brazil and throughout Latin America the outsourcing of third-party logistics services, or 3PL, is on the rise. More and more people can track the status of their orders in real time through integrations between electronic stores and delivery services, so the firm Latitud reports. This also includes simplified storage services and omnichannel delivery models like Click and Collect. Cubbo, a company that provides fulfillment services—promising to reduce logistics costs by up to 60%—arrived in Brazil in 2022 after acquiring Dedalog, and has received heavy foreign investment from companies such as SV Latam Capital, Gaingels, and Gerdau Next Ventures. In Brazil, the Cubbo platform integrates effortlessly with the e-commerce tools of Mercado Libre, WooCommerce, Shopify, Amazon, and Nuvemshop. Another notable 3PL service in Brazil is Loggi.

Despite this, investor momentum has faded as the delivery delays caused by the pandemic stabilize and the supply chain improves. According to TTR, funding for new logistics companies in Latin America fell by roughly 50% in 2022 compared to 2021. “Startups that focus on last-mile logistics are likely to experience a drop in investments in 2023, as forecasts show rather more modest growth in e-commerce retail sales throughout the region, not to mention a sharp contraction in consumer spending expected as a result of record interest rates in Latin America,” says Rodríguez. He concludes: “The current economic uncertainty will slow down logistics innovation in the e-commerce arena in 2023 and 2024.”

AMI’s team of logistics experts, led by Diego Rodríguez, has also been closely monitoring Mercado Libre, a renowned e-commerce leader in the region. “Mercado Libre has now launched its first Receiving Center in Brazil, designed for more efficient distribution of products to distribution centers throughout the country, and has also been investing in last-mile logistics for several months,” Rodríguez says. In Brazil, Mercado Libre recently partnered with the Gol airline to reduce delivery times to the northeastern region. According to Fernando Yunes, Senior VP of Mercado Libre in Brazil, quoted in the Argentine newspaper Ámbito, “the initial flight destinations will be the cities of Fortaleza, São Luís, and Teresina, where the current four-day delivery period (by land transport) will be reduced to just one day, considering the loads stored in Fulfillment.” He added, “we will reduce delivery times by up to 80%.”

Step 4: the Brazilian online buyer could return their product

The buying journey of the Brazilian online consumer will never be complete without complete certainty of post-sales customer satisfaction, where reverse logistics plays the most decisive of all. “Reverse logistics is responsible for handling the return, refund, or replacement of products, and for correcting delivery errors,” says AMI’s expert. In Brazil, online stores have to consider the seven-day window available to their customers to cancel a purchase after having received their product, and their right to ask for a refund (Article 49 of the Consumer Protection Code).

In Brazil, 47% of customers chose to buy less after experiencing problems with changing products they bought online, according to e-Bit.[4]

According to a 2021 study, in Brazil, there is a greater intention to purchase in the future as a consequence of improved experiences of product returns at online stores. For Rodríguez, “it is essential to offer consumers different return channels, by creating strategic alliances with retailers that offer free collection and consolidation points to reduce the financial impact of this operation.” The importance of this logistics process is becoming more relevant because a bad experience in returns is very likely to make customers decide not to shop on the same website again for fear of experiencing the same problem. Among the new trends the AMI team is forecasting for 2023 is that online stores will start reining in their ultra-flexible return policies and setting limits on the number of returns per month to cut costs as sales growth levels begin slowing down and more emphasis is placed on business profitability levels.

Go further: Reach out to LatAm’s Leading Logistics Market Intelligence Firm

Americas Market Intelligence is an expert in electronic commerce and the logistics chain. Contact us if you are interested in a detailed study about the buying journey of your ideal customer in Brazil or other Latin American markets. Our market studies provide first-hand data and a strategic approach tailored to your growth or investment needs.

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Sources

[1] PYMNTS.com & Cybersource, 2022. The Global Digital Shopping Index, Brazil edition.

[2] NIQ Ebit – Webshoppers 46, 2022.

[3] Capterra, 2022.

[4] Shopify. “Como definir uma política de troca e devolução boa para você e seus clientes”. 16 de jun. de 2022


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