Describes what a company needs to know to take advantage of e-commerce in the local market and covers prominent B2B websites.
The number of Panamanians using the internet continues to increase yearly. Roughly 69% of the population, over 2.9 million people, are internet users.
Most financial institutions offer online banking (i.e., Banco General’s “Yappy”) that Panamanian consumers and companies have embraced. Applications like “Mercadito” allow small agricultural producers to reach a more significant number of consumers. Delivery platforms such as PedidosYA, Uber Eats, ASAP, and Glovo have gained considerable popularity amongst Panamanians. Another highly recognized platform in Panama is Degusta, which provides restaurant recommendations. Large retail stores offer online shopping and have seen steady growth in eCommerce revenues. The Colon Free Zone (CFZ or Zona Libre de Colon), the largest free-trade zone in the Americas, recently introduced e-Commerce to be more competitive. The proposed changes include using new logistics platforms to increase efficiency.
Companies looking to conduct eCommerce in Panama need to comply with a series of requirements from The General Directorate of Electronic Commerce of the Ministry of Commerce and Industries. This government entity oversees the application of Panama’s eCommerce laws (Law 43 and Law 51) and acts as a regulator. In Panama, electronic signatures are a legal instrument except for real estate transactions and successions.
The Cortizo administration National Digital Agenda 2020 initiative promotes transparency using technology and innovation. Currently, there are 142 government services online, with a goal to reach 400 by 2020. The implementation of SAP software under the name ISTMO allows electronic payment transfers to suppliers. Similarly, online payment gateways are used by maritime consulates worldwide. According to the United Nations E-Commerce Development Index (EGDI), an index that measures governments’ ability to deliver public services digitally, Panama ranked 84 of 193 in 2020.