Describes what a company needs to know to take advantage of e-commerce in the local market and covers prominent B2B websites.
E-commerce in Honduras continues to grow and is recognized as a smart way to buy or sell a product online. However, there are still many challenges for small businesses to integrate reliable platforms into a strategic consumer centric business plan. In Honduras, ecommerce is mostly focused on imports of non-essential goods such as consumer electronics (26%), home and houseware products (17%), and online vehicle purchases (8%). At present, there are several private sector ICT initiatives to develop local solutions for SMEs to be able to offer their products to the local and international markets.
Current Market Trends
E-commerce in Honduras is not yet widely used, but the potential is high. The lack of knowledge and tools to create, drive and maintain a solid e-commerce structure are among the main challenges for local retailers and service providers.
In the aftermath of Tropical Storms Eta and Iota and the negative economic impact of the COVID pandemic, an informal e-commerce sector has grown exponentially, utilizing social media to promote and sell goods in a country where e-commerce solutions are still cost prohibitive for startups.
Domestic eCommerce (B2C)
Banking institutions are a good example of well-established B2C structures offering online transaction services at the Personal, Corporate and SME level. Honduras has experienced significant growth in domestic E-commerce brought forth by initiatives in its two main city centers to promote technological entrepreneurship. Mobile application development has experienced tremendous demand in urban areas of Honduras. A prime example of this is the rise of online delivery services.
SMEs and end users are at the forefront of Cross-Border eCommerce in Honduras. Most Honduran companies are too small to purchase goods and services from overseas manufacturers and tend to deal with international distributors with eCommerce platforms that enable them to buy small quantities from the seller’s eCommerce site. Most of the Cross-Border eCommerce into Honduras comes from China and Mexico with the United States as the third largest supplier of goods and services via the internet.
Some regional low-cost retailers have established a successful B2B e-Commerce structure in which companies both large and small can register to become suppliers and manage transactions with the retailer.
eCommerce Services in Honduras are still in its infancy. There are local and international companies offering business analytics and data storage services that are mostly focused on large national and multinational companies operating in Honduras.
eCommerce Intellectual Property Rights
On January 21st, 2015, the Honduran Congress passed the Honduran Law on Electronic Commerce. With more than 20 articles, the bill was drafted in accordance with the model legislature put forth by the United Nations Commission for International Trade Rights. Honduras is one of the first subscribers of the convention for utilization of electronic communications and international contracts which entered into effect in 2013 under national law decree 149. In August 2014, a law titled Efficient and Transparent Purchasing through Electronic Media came into effect under congressional decree number 36-2013. A full copy in Spanish of the eCommerce Law can be found here.
Popular eCommerce Sites
Honduran eCommerce sites are few and underserviced. The vast majority of the population engaging in ecommerce transactions utilize Amazon or eBay.
Online payments are conducted almost exclusively via bank transfers, credit cards or PayPal.
Honduran banking institutions and mobile telephony service providers are good examples of well-established B2C structures with mobile applications that enable users to conduct commercial transactions.
Digital marketing is limited and is mostly conducted through banking institutions, credit card companies, and mobile telephony service providers. Social media is also a preferred tool for SMEs to promote their products and services.
Major Buying Holidays
Christmas and the New Year holidays are the mayor buying holidays in Honduras followed by Easter week when retailers stock up on outdoor and recreational related consumer goods. Under Honduran law an extra salary is paid to the Honduran labor force during the month of June. Retailers will often offer discounts and promotions during this month as an incentive to consumers to use this bonus on anything from general consumer goods to electronics. In recent years, Honduran retailers have adopted the concept of Black Friday and several retailers advertise significant promotions during the month of November.
With a population of over 9,568,688 inhabitants, the percentage of users active in social media represents 38.6% of the population with 3,700,000 active users of Facebook, Twitter, and other social media applications.
Local Business Service Providers - There are many firms throughout Honduras offering professional services to foreign firms. As an additional resource, the U.S. Commercial Service office facilitates a BSP Directory designed to help U.S. companies identify professional service providers to assist in the assessment, completion, and/or financing of an export transaction. To learn more about the program, U.S. companies can visit https://www.trade.gov/honduras.