Mexico – Ecommerce growing driven by increased internet and mobile usage


Ecommerce in Mexico expanded faster than anticipated in 2012, spurred by widespread increases in internet and mobile usage. In 2012, according to AMIPCI, the Mexican Internet Association Mexico’s e-commerce sales totalled US$6.0 billion. This represented 46% growth compared to 2011. Plane/bus tickets are the most popular items for e-commerce purchases. Tickets to shows are ranking second, while hotel reservations rank #3. Rounding up the top 10 are electronic equipment, clothes, computers, software, books, mobile phones and music and movies.

The number of Internet users reached 47 million in 2012, up 16% compared to 2011. As, according to the Mexican Internet Association AMIPCI, the number of e-shoppers is estimated to be around 46% or 21.6 million, the annual spend per e-shopper was around €279 in 2012.

47% of internet shoppers had realised a purchase using a mobile device, 21% more than in 2011. AMIPCI estimates that the volume of mobile sales will surpass fixed Internet sales by 2014. In 2012 35% of Mexicans only bought on Mexican sites, 46% both on Mexican and foreign sites and 4% on foreign sites only.

According to the regular studies of America Economia Intelligence commissioned by Visa, Mexico is #2 in Latin America in e-commerce after Brazil, with 14.3% of total e-sales in 2012, estimated at around $7.7bn (€6,0bn).

The latest eMarketer report, “Mexico Ecommerce: Delivering Value to a Growing Digital Population” concludes that online purchasing is far less common in Mexico than in other large Latin American markets, and nowhere near maturity, Travel, event tickets and virtual goods are the leading categories of online sales in Mexico. But sellers of physical goods are beginning to make inroads. A study of Google in May 2012, found that travel (36%), financial services (12%) and media & entertainment (12%) were the leading product categories purchased online among Internet users in Mexico.

eMarketer projects ecommerce sales in Mexico will reach $7.98 billion in 2013 and will continue to grow at healthy double-digit rates through 2016, when annual sales will near an estimated $13 billion. Looking forward, eMarketer has increased the estimated compound annual growth rate of B2C ecommerce in Mexico for the 2010–2016 forecast period from a 19% rate predicted in July 2012 to 29%.

According to eMarketer, among the three largest economies in Latin America, Mexico will have the smallest number of digital buyers in 2013 with 8.4 million. By comparison, Argentina, with less than half the population of Mexico, will have 9.2 million digital buyers; Brazil will have 26.7 million. Though the number of e-shoppers in Mexico is relatively small, the amount that those buyers spend is fairly high. The average digital buyer in Mexico will spend $952 this year, more than double Argentina’s $428 per digital buyer and noticeably ahead of the $741 average per digital buyer in Brazil and the Latin American average of $620.

The gap in average consumption per online buyer in Mexico and Brazil may reflect divergent trends in the two largest economies in Latin America: on the one hand, Mexico’s increasingly uneven income distribution; on the other, Brazil’s growing middle class. Change could be on the horizon, though. Low-income individuals are just starting to see viable payment methods being offered for consumers without credit cards. Credit cards have notably low penetration in the country, especially among lower-income individuals. Alternative payment methods include cash on delivery, cash or card payment at a brick-and-mortar or bank branch, alternative payment processing, gift cards and checks. As more internet users from lower socio-economic levels ease into online buying, the use of credit cards to pay for online purchases in Mexico will continue to decrease, though marginally, in favour of alternative forms of payment.

Comments Ecommerce Europe: “Although various studies with different outcome are published about Mexican e-commerce, all studies confirm that Mexico with its 115 million plus population is a highly interesting market and that e-commerce will continue to grow with double digits in the coming years, driven by increased confidence, a growing number of internet and mobile users and e-shoppers”.

European Ecommerce Report 2012
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Sources: Ecommerce Europe, eMarketer, Google Our Mobile Planet and local sources.
The Google study (in English) and the AMIPCI report (in Spanish) are available on request.