As goes Brazil, so goes Latin America. That’s true for ecommerce, as well as for the region’s economy as a whole.
2018 was a year of economic recovery in Brazil after a brutal recession, as total retail sales grew by 2.3%, according to government statistics, a five-year high. The country’s online retailers grew much faster: The 236 Brazilian companies ranked in Internet Retailer’s Latin America 300 increased their total online sales by 12.6% to $12.5 billion.
Brazil: Latin America’s biggest ecommerce market
Given that Brazilian retailers represent nearly 80% of the total sales of the Latin America 300 retailers, that improvement had a big impact on the overall results of the region’s largest web merchants. As a whole, the Latin America 300 grew their online sales by 13.8% to $15.776 billion in 2018 from $13.865 billion in 2017. That was a big improvement over the 3.8% year-over-year growth in 2017.
The other two major ecommerce markets in South America also posted strong growth. The 26 Latin America 300 companies based in Chile registered total growth of 20.2%, while 25 retailers from Argentina increased their cumulative web sales by 18.6%.
Brazil dominates the top spots in the Latin America 300, boasting seven of the Top 10 retailers, with the three others coming from Chile. However, the No. 1 retailer in the Latin America rankings, web-only merchant B2W Digital, grew by only 0.9% in 2018. The No. 2 retailer, Brazilian retail chain Magazine Luiza SA, had a much better year, growing by 60.1%, as did Chilean store and web retailer SACI Falabella, whose online sales grew by 27.9%.
Argentine ecommerce grew $13.4 billion
The Latin America 300 ranks by online sales for the retailers based in Latin America—not counting Mexico, which Internet Retailer counts in its North America rankings, the Internet Retailer 2019 Top 1000. Mexico’s top e-retailers grew in line with their counterparts to the south, increasing their web sales by 13.8% in 2018 over 2017.
To get the full picture of the results of Latin American ecommerce companies, it’s also necessary to add in the region’s largest online marketplace, MercadoLibre. The total value of goods sold on the marketplaces of the Argentine company that operates throughout the region grew 14.0% to $13.4 billion in 2018. (Internet Retailer’s merchant rankings include only retailers selling merchandise on their own behalf; MercadoLibre, like eBay Inc., does not own any of the goods sold on its sites.)
Adding in the sales of Latin America 300 retailers, the 43 Mexican retailers ranked among the 2,000 e-retail leaders in North America and sales on MercadoLibre, the nearly 350 companies based in Latin America that Internet Retailer tracks increased their online sales in 2018 by 13.9% to $30.672 billion from $26.934 billion in 2017.
That means those companies represented 0.9% of 2018 global online retail sales of $3.455 trillion, according to Internet Retailer’s estimates.
Internet Retailer’s Latin America 300 database also provides such metrics as average order value and conversion rate for each ranked retailer. In 2018, the median AOV for Latin America 300 retailers was $89 and the median conversion rate was 1.9%.
By contrast, the median 2018 average ticket was $150 for North American retailers ranked in the Internet Retailer Top 1000, and their median conversion rate was 2.6%.