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E-Commerce Sales in Latin America to Reach $50 Billion

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E-tailers should look to Latin America for expansion as web sales in the region are seeing swift growth.

Market research company eMarketer says e-commerce sales in Latin America will reach $50 billion this year—a 23.9% jump over 2014.

Brazil will lead the charge, bringing in close to $20 billion on its own this year, and Mexico will follow with roughly $5.70 billion in retail e-commerce sales.

But it’s Argentina that has experienced the most rapid growth. E-commerce sales there, according to eMarketer estimates, will jump 40 percent to nearly $5 billion.

Latin America is second only to China in terms of e-commerce growth rate, and savvy sellers know there’s room yet for growth.

“By the end of our forecast period, retail ecommerce in Latin America will reach $84.75 billion, or 3.2% of retail sales in the region,” eMarketer noted. “Growth will still be in the double digits in 2019.”

Alibaba, China’s e-commerce behemoth has already taken heed of the e-shopping trend in the Latin region. The company is working to target the Latin American consumer through its AliExpress site, which sells goods in 40 categories including clothing, footwear and consumer electronics.

Bill Wang, director of emerging market operations at Alibaba, told Internet Retailer, “Aliexpress.com grew fast in Latin America, especially in Brazil, Chile and Mexico. In Brazil, we are already among the top three e-retail sites, in terms of sales or brand awareness.”

Apparel, wedding products, electronics and jewelry have been among the top selling categories in the region.

Delivery there, however, has been a bit of a setback.

In Brazil, as Wang explained, consumers typically wait 40 days to receive the orders they placed on Aliexpress—it takes one to two weeks to ship the goods from China to Brazil, but the time for customs clearance can extend as long as 30 days.

But Wang said the dedicated consumers are still shopping the site for two reasons: the low prices and extended selections, and because they are accustomed to shopping ahead and have the time to wait for their purchases.

Despite that, Alibaba is working to speed the process through a partnership with the Brazilian postal service Correios to share shipment data.

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