E-commerce chamber eyeing growth exceeding 40% this year

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Colombian e-commerce chamber CCE expects online purchases in the country to grow more than 40% this year compared to 2010, considering they have grown at a rate of 40% since 2009, local paper El Colombiano reported.

According to the chamber, more than 1mn people in Colombia are currently buying products and services online, with an average of 25,000 daily transactions.

Based on a study by magazine América Economía and CCE estimates, online consumption in Colombia reached US$609mn in 2010 and is expected to reach US$900 by year-end.

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Though results indicate that the country is advancing in e-commerce, Colombia is still behind compared to other countries in the region.

E-commerce is expected to move US$34.4bn this year in Latin America, according to América Economía, and Colombia would contribute only 2.6% of that total. In comparison, Brazil and Mexico together are expected to account for more than 70% of all e-commerce sales in the region.

"The internet boom in Colombia arrived late, in 1999, though today it's the third country with the highest growth in users connected to the internet. There's still a lot of room to grow in e-commerce. That is to say, we're not good, but we're on the right track," Latin American e-commerce firm MercadoLibre's (Nasdaq: MELI) manager in Colombia and CCE vice president, Ignacio Caride, was quoted as saying.

One obstacle hindering e-commerce growth in Colombia is the low penetration of banking services and credit cards, which is the main payment method used in online transactions.

In addition, while low connectivity in some areas of the country continues to be an issue, there are still some companies that have not fully harnessed internet as another marketing and payment services channel, according to Caride.