The Latin American consumer: now connected.

Author:De La Portilla, Fabiola

In line with worldwide trends, Latin Americans also are changing the way they buy things. E-commerce is positioning itself as an attractive alternative that gives consumers access to more products more easily. The multi-channel experience is the new reality in retail.

Marketing consultancy Nielsen, in its most recent Global Study on Connected Commerce, takes a close look at the current buying habits of more than 13,000 Internet users from 26 countries worldwide, including Latin American cybernauts in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Mexico.

Although internet penetration in the region is still low, the potential for online buying is growing by the day, to the point where trends such as showrooming--looking inside the store and later finding the lowest price online--and webrooming--researching online and then buying in a physical store--are commonly practiced by users.

In fact, eight of every ten Latins surveyed said they have bought something online at least once, more often durable goods rather than consumables. The most popular purchases are clothing (44 %), travel (43 %), tickets for events (41 %), and electronic equipment (37 %).

According to the findings from respondents around the globe, the frequency and volume of online sales of durable and consumable goods operate similarly to purchasing in physical retail stores: people buy consumable products more often, and Latin America is not the exception. However, in all countries surveyed in Latin America, online shopping for consumable goods is below the global average.

Among those who buy consumables online, Mexicans are the number one buyers of fresh groceries such as fruits and vegetables (1.3 times per month). Colombians are the most frequent buyers of restaurant or meal deliveries (1.3 times per month), and Chileans are the top buyers of packaged grocery food, including ready-made meals and microwave meals such as pasta and soup (once a month).

Brazilians have the highest propensity for e-commerce (96 % of participants had made at least one purchase online), followed by Mexicans (83 %) and Chileans (82 %). In their searches for both consumables and durables, Argentines do the most showrooming, followed by Colombians. In the case of webrooming, Chileans and Colombians are the most frequent participants, and they use the technique mainly for buying durables.


Buyers engage in a variety of consumer research activities prior to making their purchase, and...

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