Describes what a company needs to know to take advantage of e-commerce in the local market and covers prominent B2B websites.
The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically accelerated eCommerce adoption in Mexico. According to the Mexican Online Sales Association, the domestic eCommerce market was valued at USD 15.8 billion in 2020, representing an 81 percent increase over 2019. There were 50.7 million Mexican eCommerce users in 2020, a 9 percent increase over 2019. Women represented 53 percent of Mexican eCommerce users in 2020. Experts predict that Mexico will have over 77 million eCommerce users by 2025 due to improvements in connectivity, enhanced financial inclusion, streamlined logistics, and increased digital literacy. Still some challenges remain, particularly in rural areas where less than 50 percent of the population uses the Internet. According to Mexico’s National Institute of Statistics and Geography (Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Geografía or INEGI), 55 percent of the Mexican employed population is informally employed and 52.9 percent of total population does not have a savings bank account, with unemployment and labor informality rates increasing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Current eCommerce Market Trends
In 2020, food delivery led online purchases, followed by fashion and beauty items. Online pharmacy and supermarket purchases increased by 41 and 40 percent respectively. Debit cards and personal credit cards continue to be the preferred methods of payment. However, many online retailers offer payment alternatives such as cash payments at convenience stores. According to the Mexican Online Sales Association, impediments to increased eCommerce usage include cybersecurity risks, with 80 percent of eCommerce users noting concerns over electronic fraud and 74 percent lacking confidence in providing banking information online. An estimated 98 percent of online purchases are conducted through Smartphones, with two out of 10 buyers making purchases on SmartTVs. Products sold online are covered by Mexico’s Federal Copyright and Industrial Property Law.
Domestic eCommerce (B2C)
Online marketplaces such as www.mercadolibre.com.mx, and www.amazon.com.mx are widely used in Mexico. Mercado Libre was the most visited eCommerce site in 2020, with 128 million visits per month, followed by Amazon, with 64 million visits per month (Statista). Additionally, some brick-and-mortar retailers have been very successful in expanding eCommerce sales. In 2020, Walmart Mexico’s online sales increased by 13 percent and Liverpool’s online sales grew by 26 percent. As a result of eCommerce growth in Mexico, in 2020 Amazon announced a USD 100 million investment to open two new distribution centers and 12 delivery stations.
In 2019, 50 percent of Mexican online shoppers purchased from international retailers, with 64 percent of those purchases coming from U.S. sites. In 2020, purchases made on Latin American sites increased by seven percent. Mexico’s current de minimis level is USD 50, much lower than the de minimis of USD 800 in the United States. Goods valued from USD 50 to USD 117 are charged a 17 percent tasa global (overall rate) upon importation. Goods valued from USD 117 to USD 1,000 are charged 19 percent, and goods above USD 1,000 are charged 20 percent.
Social Media and Digital Marketing
The use of social media is widespread in Mexico. Facebook is the most-used social network, followed by WhatsApp and Instagram. Mexican buyers are highly influenced by social networks when making purchases. Conversational Commerce or C-commerce (selling via Facebook or WhatsApp) is expected to represent 40 percent of the total eCommerce sales in Mexico by 2025.
Major Online Buying Holidays
Retailers report the highest number of eCommerce sales during the December holiday season. The second-largest online shopping event is ‘El Buen Fin,’ a weekend promotion adopted by most Mexican retailers in mid-November. The next largest events are Black Friday and ‘Hot Sale,’ a Mexican Association of Online Retailers initiative where eCommerce vendors offer significant discounts in late May/early June. Other major buying holidays are Cyber Monday and Mother’s Day.
The U.S. Department of Commerce has developed an eCommerce portal (www.trade.gov/ecommerce) offering resources to support U.S. exporters in improving their online business presence, including a free consultation, website review, and list of eCommerce service providers. For more information, please contact your local International Trade Specialist: U.S. Commercial Service - Domestic Offices.