E-commerce in Latin America and the Caribbean is booming, with B2C spending up by 43% in 2011 and by at least another 26% in 2012 – well above market expectations. The region’s leading e-commerce marketplace, MercadoLibre, has its headquarters in Argentina and operates in twelve Latin American countries. It is an enormously successful business, attracting more and more users every year. Like eBay, MercadoLibre facilitates the buying and selling of a vast range of goods.
Brazil is the regional e-commerce leader, supported by a burgeoning middle class and driven by innovative solutions such as Peixe Urbano’s group-buying website. The Brazilian government’s plan to provide cheap broadband access nationwide could dramatically increase Brazil’s online population, which would further boost the country’s e-commerce market.
Although m-commerce is still embryonic in Latin America and the Caribbean, it will escalate in the short term. The region is a fertile ground for m-commerce, m-payments, m-banking, m-voting – in fact, for almost any activity that can be carried out over a mobile phone. MercadoLibre has taken up the mobile gauntlet, and Brazil has pioneered the first mobile app for Twitter commerce.
Social networks provide an important opportunity for the development of e-commerce and m-commerce. Seven Latin American countries rank among the world’s top 25 for Facebook users, with Brazil in second place globally in terms of both Facebook and Twitter. Social commerce (s-commerce) – with its subsets popularly known as Facebook commerce (f-commerce) and Twitter commerce (t-commerce) – has been playing and will continue to play a significant role in the escalating growth of e-commerce and m-commerce throughout the region.
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