Describes what a company needs to know to take advantage of e-commerce in the local market and covers prominent B2B websites.
eCommerce has experienced positive growth over the last decade due to Chile’s rapid and continuing technological infrastructure development, the launch of 5G service in December 2021, and the popularity of eCommerce since the beginning of the pandemic. In 2021, B2C eCommerce sales reached $11.6 billion, a 23 percent increase compared to 2020, and 2022 eCommerce sales are predicted to increase by the same rate reaching $14.3 billion. In addition to the influence of the COVID-19 pandemic on eCommerce growth, other contributing factors are pension funds withdrawals and the government financial stimulus.
In a study conducted by Americas Market Intelligence (AMI), eCommerce is forecast to grow by 28 percent for the period 2020-2024, reaching $35 billion in sales. The number of eCommerce users is expected to grow by 11 percent to 13 million users by 2025.
According to eCommerce DB, the number of Chileans who buy online is 63 percent compared to 46 percent in 2017. The factors driving this growth are an 86 percent internet penetration rate in 2021, and incentives provided by discounts and massive events such as Cyberdays. The demographics of online shoppers are evenly divided between men and women. The largest demographic using eCommerce is 25 to 34 year olds (28 percent); followed by 35 to 44 year olds (24 percent); 45 to 54 year olds (19 percent); 18 to 24 year olds (17 percent); and 55 to 64 year olds (13 percent). Most buyers have a high household income (37 percent), followed by low income (33 percent) and middle income (30 percent). The top five eCommerce product categories are clothing (75 percent), shoes (73 percent), consumer electronics (65 percent), food and drinks (58 percent), and household appliances (55 percent).
Legal & Regulatory
Online retailers, as well as physical retailers, must comply with Law 19,496 on Protection of Consumer Rights. This law regulates the relations between suppliers and consumers, establishes infractions, and indicates the applicable procedure in these matters. Retailers also must comply with Law No. 19,628 on the Protection of Personal Data, which regulates the treatment of personal data by financial institutions and by public and private organizations.
On June 1, 2020, Chile enacted a 19 percent VAT on digital services provided by foreign suppliers, which are required to register with the tax authority. In January 2021, Chile signed a Digital Economy Partnership Agreement with New Zealand and Singapore that creates a common framework for data protection, establishes common rules on digital trade and removes digital barriers for business.
On March 24, 2022, new eCommerce regulations were enacted. The regulations will strengthen the transparency and quality of the information delivered to consumers on eCommerce platforms, including the characteristics, essential benefits, price of products and services that are offered, and all other relevant information to encourage informed decision-making and strengthen the right of consumer free choice.
The Santiago Chamber of Commerce (CCS) has a Manual of Best Practices for eCommerce. This code serves as a guide to ethical behavior for eCommerce providers and operators for the benefit of consumers and users.
According to a study done by Statista, the leading categories in cross-border e-commerce in Chile during 2020 were clothing (59 percent), technology (51 percent), and shoes (39 percent).
In the first 3 quarters of 2021, the top eCommerce platforms for cross-border purchases were: AliExpress, Amazon, Wish, Shein, and eBay.
The online food delivery segment in Chile dominates the eCommerce market with approximately 4.5 million users followed by dating services with 1.3 million users. According to AmericaEconomia, from January to September 2021, PedidosYa led the market with 28.9 percent of the transactions, followed by Uber Eats (22.9 percent), Rappi (18.4 percent), and Uber-owned Cornershop (12.6 percent).
The most popular B2C sites in Chile are:
- Mercado Libre: Online platform in Latin America for buying and selling goods
- Falabella: Largest Chilean department store with presence in Chile, Argentina, Peru, Colombia, Uruguay, and Brazil
- Ripley: Chilean department store chain
- Paris: Chilean department store chain and part of Cencosud Holding
- Yapo: Online marketplace focused on C2C eCommerce
- AliExpress: Online retail service based in China, owned by the Alibaba Group
- Lider: Largest Chilean supermarket chain owned by Walmart
- Amazon: In April 2021, Amazon began offering free shipping to Chile for purchases of over $49 on eligible products
- Easy: Home improvement chain part of Cencosud that sells construction items and home and garden products
- BuscaLibre: Online bookstore.
Online payments in Chile are made in Chilean pesos. According to Statista, as of January 2021, approximately 58 percent of online purchases in Chile were paid by credit cards, 12 percent by bank transfer, and 10 percent by E-Wallets such as MercadoPago, Servipag, and webPay.
Chilean customers mainly use smartphones (58 percent) to connect, search, and buy, followed by desktops and laptops (41 percent).
Intellectual Property Rights
The U.S.-Chile FTA, implemented in 2004, addresses eCommerce in Chapter 15 (PDF), which highlights the importance of eCommerce between the United States and Chile and the need to work together to overcome obstacles. The chapter notes the importance of sharing information related to regulations on data privacy, cybersecurity, and intellectual property rights.
Digital Marketing & Social Media
Digital Marketing campaigns in Chile are done through e-mail marketing, social networking sites, search engine optimization (SEO), and banner advertising on search engines
CyberDay, organized by the Santiago Chamber of Commerce (CCS), is a three-day event in Chile to promote online shopping. In 2021, CCS organized three online shopping events. The first CyberDay of 2021 was held on May 31 and generated $640 million in sales, a 57 percent increase from the $368 million in sales during CyberDay 2020. More than 15 million units of products and services were sold. CyberMonday 2021 was held on October 4 and featured 749 online stores, and generated $433 million in sales, 44 percent more than the same version the previous year. CCS and the Chilean Chamber of Shopping Centers organized Black Friday 2021 from November 27 to December 1, a combined sales event at 1,168 physical stores and over 500 eCommerce sites. The event reached almost 10 million transactions for more than $500 million.
CyberDay 2022 was held on May 30 and generated $498 million. This lower sales figure was expected by CCS due to the lifting of pandemic restrictions leading to a return to in store shopping. However, the travel and tourism and entertainment and cultural categories still saw large increases.
eCommerce Day 2023, Dates TBD, offers conferences and seminars to exchange ideas, share experiences and best practices. This event is organized by the eCommerce Institute and the Santiago Chamber of Commerce.
The eCommerce Innovation Summit will be held on October 20, 2022 and is organized by the eCommerce Committee of the Santiago Chamber of Commerce and brings together new technologies, innovations, and trends in eCommerce.
For more information, please contact the U.S. Commercial Service Chile Commercial Specialist Macarena Marin.