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The trends of e-commerce in Latin America in the eyes of MercadoLibre (biggest e-commerce in LatAm)

The platform that in 2018 led to the sale of 270.1 million articles and US $ 11,700 million in transactions shares its vision regarding the moment of e-commerce in our region.

E-commerce has a great opportunity for growth in Latin America, which has the example of what happens in China at the level of trends, said the regional vice president of the company Mercado Libre, Sean Summers.

The director of the company dedicated to Internet commerce said in an interview with Xinhua that “Brazil and Argentina are more developed, Mexico and Chile are a bit in the middle of the curve, and the rest of the countries are a little behind. they are all traveling the same path of development. ”


“The behavior in general (of the consumer) is similar, countries in Latin America are in different places on the same curve in what is the development of e-commerce,” said Summers, who holds a degree in Business Administration from the Catholic University of Argentina.

The company’s representative, who was founded in 1999, asked “to keep in mind that, despite the fact that we and e-commerce in Latin America are 19 years old, we are still in the first minutes of the game”.

“Today the penetration of  e-commerce on retail sales (retail) is between 4% and 5% in the region, which is very low compared to 11% in the United States, 16% in the United Kingdom or 20%. % of China ” he said.

Summers was therefore confident in the potential for expansion of the sector in the region: “We believe that the growth opportunity for ‘e-commerce’ (e-commerce) is still very, very large.”

For Summers, who has a master’s degree in business administration (MBA) from the Business School of Stanford University in the United States, the sector will boost its growth by taking trends in what happens in China.

“We always look outside the region, we are always trying to learn and we are somehow making our way in. There is no road map that one can follow, because it is a very new industry in the world, we always see innovations” , He said.

“We know that markets like China, Korea, are always one step ahead and are advanced, and we look to see what trends are happening there that could be relevant tomorrow in Latin America,” the interviewee added.

He argued that the same is done with Europe and the United States, because “we are always looking outside, to see what the most developed markets are doing, although that does not mean that the same trends will necessarily reach Latin America.”

Last year, the Mercado Libre platform led to the sale of 270.1 million items, with a growth of 49.1% compared to 2016, which resulted in a total of US $ 11.7 billion in transactions on the platform.


In this context, the presence of China grows, with vendors of that origin and as a desirable market for small and medium-sized companies in the 19 countries of the region in which the platform operates.

“The main users are microenterprises, small and medium enterprises that today use our tools locally,” said the regional vice president of Mercado Libre.

“They have managed to operate nationally and I believe that in the future they will be able to use our tools to get out of a national market and be able to sell to the world, to China,” he said.

He also mentioned that “there are today, and we are already seeing, sellers from China, the United States and Europe, who are selling from there in some of our markets, we are seeing that there is a lot of interest”.

“The main challenge we have is how to reduce the delivery times of a product that was bought in the United States, in Europe or in China,” admitted the manager.

He affirmed in that line that there are “several Chinese vendors who are already building businesses in Latin America using our platform.”

“Still a very small part of our sale, but we see that that exists, small ‘traders’ (operators) that have the ability and very good access to many products of very good quality and price in China, and sell from there to the region “commented Summers.

Sales, in those cases, occur because “there is an interest of the Latin American consumer in accessing products that they can not access locally”.

“Chinese vendors have access to these products and it’s a matter of being leveraged to offer a very good shopping experience,” he explained. He completed: “The big challenge is that the experience of buying outside is as close as possible to a local shopping experience.”


At the end of 2018,  the product offering within the platform increased to 114.2 million items listed.

The mobile penetration in turn continues with an increase in relevance, representing 50% of the monetary volume in transactions in the platform in the last quarter of 2018.

In 2018, net sales reached US $ 1,398.1 million, 65.6% more than in 2016, while net income was US $ 13.8 million or 0.31 dollars per share, as Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela , Mexico, Chile, Colombia and Uruguay the main markets.

Also published on Medium.

Published inE-commerce

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