Describes what a company needs to know to take advantage of e-commerce in the local market and covers prominent B2B websites.
In 2020, e-Commerce accounted for $6 billion, growing 50% compared to the previous year, driven by the growth of retail e-Commerce (250%). Although 2020 was a difficult year for most industries due to the impact of COVID-19, e-Commerce has shown the highest growth of all economic sectors, even entering industry categories that previously had no online sales.
From a total of 5.2 million formally registered businesses in Peru, only 1.5% sold through an e-Commerce channel prior to the pandemic. With COVID-19, the number of companies entering the e-Commerce market quadrupled, with over 5% of these businesses selling online by the end of 2020. There is, however, a long way to go in terms of digital transformation and e-Commerce solution implementations in the Peruvian business environment. For example, only 10% of the total of online purchases come from provinces outside Lima. There is an opportunity not only to digitalize buyers but also to attract companies to this channel in these other provinces.
Current Market Trends
With the COVID-19 pandemic, consumers have had to adapt to new processes for purchasing products and services. Faced with this, eCommerce, just as in the rest of the world, has become an indispensable tool for small, medium, and large companies.
Domestic eCommerce (B2C)
Several domestic e-marketplaces are taking advantage of eCommerce opportunities in Peru. Some of the most popular sites being those that follow:
- Mercado Libre: Online platform in Latin America and Portugal for buying and selling a wide range of items. It has two types of accounts: free and paid.
- OLX: Classified ad platform present in 114 countries, especially in emerging markets, which puts buyers in contact with sellers.
- Linio: A platform where many different suppliers sell a wide range of products. Available in Mexico, Chile, Argentina, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela and Panama.
- Falabella: Department store with a presence in Chile, Argentina, Peru, Colombia, Uruguay, and Brazil. Belongs to the SACI Falabella group and their main business areas are clothing, accessories, and homeware retail.
- Ripley: Chilean chain of department stores, with presence in Chile, Colombia and Peru. Its main businesses are clothing, accessories, and homeware retail.
- Platanitos: A group that sells fashion, especially footwear and accessories, by Platanitos Boutique and other brands. Available in Peru.
- Wong: Peru’s largest supermarket chain. This website allows for ordering via internet from local and foreign-based consumers for local delivery.
- Rosatel: Rosatel allows online orders of flowers and gift baskets.
For B2B eCommerce, businesses are beginning to use their own custom email domain servers instead of using an informal personal email address (Hotmail or Gmail) to conduct business. This new trend of owning one’s own email domain servers allows Peruvian businesses to legitimize their online presence.
There have been advances in the provision of digital services by several Peruvian government institutions, including the tax collection agency, SUNAT, the public registry, SUNARP, and the Peruvian state-owned bank, Banco de la Nación (which handles the Treasury accounts). Additionally, the National Elections Bureau, ONPE, is testing electronic voting.
The Peruvian consumer generally expects competitive prices and special offers. Consumers are starting to prefer making online purchases over visiting the store. At the same time, they expect variety and simplicity. Additionally, it is important to highlight other benefits that promote online access and electronic commerce purchases. For example, delivery companies and taxi services, as in the United States, have grown exponentially once the technology is adopted and rolled out.
Intellectual Property Rights
Peru is a signatory of the World Intellectual Property Organization Treaty and the 1996 Interpretation and Phonograms Treaty. The PTPA has chapter on Intellectual Property (IP) that includes aspects such as brands, geographical indications, internet domain names, innovation, and technological development. It also seeks to protect the moral and economic rights of the IP owners. The aspects covered in the chapter were incorporated into national legislation through the Law No. 29316 on January 14th, 2009. However, Peru has remained on the U.S. Trade Representative section 301 “Watch List” since 1992 because of continued high piracy rates, inadequate enforcement of IP laws, and weak or unenforced penalties for IP violations.
Online Payment and Government e-Services
The Peruvian government has established a special task force, E-Gob Peru, focused on online payments managed by the Secretaría de Gobierno y Transformación Digital (SEGDI). This office is continuously developing Gov2Citizens solutions for tax payments, and providing information on customs and foreign trade, as well as Gov2Gov transactions to reduce expenses within different agencies. Operational services include a citizen ID service portal and business-assistance services for small and medium-size companies. Additionally, the Peruvian Government is implementing an Electronic Procurement System (SEACE: Sistema Electrónico de Adquisiciones y Contrataciones del Estado) with a goal of improving transparency and efficiency of government purchasing.
A 2020 report from the Peruvian Chamber of eCommerce (CAPECE) notes that Peru has lower smartphone utilization for e-commerce purchaes among the main economies in Latin America. However, mobile eCommerce purchases over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic were 57% of total eCommerce purchases in 2020. The study also remarks that as of January 2021 there were 34.2 million smartphones in Peru, of which 62% were regularly connected to the internet.
Currently the main means of digital marketing in Peru are:
- E-mail marketing
- Social networking sites
- Search engine optimization (SEO)
- Publicity (banners) in search engines
In 2020, 57% of online shoppers reached vendor sites through social networking sites, with Facebook as the preferred online platform for shopping in Peru. However, this percentage has been recently decreasing as local companies are starting to implement eCommerce solutions and tools to formalize their businesses by offering purchase guarantees, terms and conditions of sale, a complaint book, and guaranteed delivery. Additionally, according to recent surveys, the main retail companies plan to develop mobile marketing strategies.
Major Buying Holidays
Since 2012, the Lima Chamber of Commerce has promoted “Cyber Monday” which takes place on the Monday after the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday. The Lima Chamber of Commerce also promotes “CyberMami” held on Peruvian Mother’s Day which is the second Sunday in May. Some companies, like Saga Falabella, a large retailer, also launch their seasonal offers like “Madrugo” which take place at the arrival of a new season. In the travel and tourism sector, tour packages and promotions with pre-determined dates occur around major Peruvian holidays such as the Christian Holy Week, Peruvian Independence Day in July, and the New Year’s Holiday.