Brazil - Commercial Guide
eCommerce

Describes how widely eCommerce is used, the primary sectors that sell through e-commerce, and how much product/service in each sector is sold through e-commerce versus brick-and-mortar retail. Includes what a company needs to know to take advantage of e-commerce in the local market and , reputable, prominent B2B websites.

Last published date: 2019-10-13

The 2018 yearly average conversion rate was US$1 to (R)$3.6 Brazilian Reais (Hey-EYES). According to the 2019 eEbit Webshoppers report, eCommerce in Brazil grew by 12 percent in 2018 compared to 2017, closing the year with revenues of $15 billion. This is the first time the industry registered double-digit growth since 2015. Brazil shows signs of overcoming its 2014-2016 economic downturn with positive projected growth for eCommerce at 15 percent. Ecommerce is expected to generate $16.8 billion (R$61.2 billion) in 2019. In Brazil, 58 million consumers made at least one virtual purchase in 2018, representing 27 percent of the country’s population and an increase of 6 percent compared to 2017 - making eCommerce a viable sales channel worth exploring.

In Brazil, the average eCommerce purchase (average cart price) for 2018 was $119 (R$434), 1 percent  higher than the previous year. This number is projected to reach $122 (R$447) in 2019. There were 123 million online purchases in 2018, an increase of 11 percent over the previous year. It is estimated that the number of purchases will increase 12 percent  in 2019, resulting in 137 million online purchases.

E-commerce sales in Brazil represent 3 percent of retail sales according to the Brazilian Consumer and Retail Association. This number does not reflect the actual relevance of online sales channels in the consumer’s purchasing process – a recent study conducted by PwC found that that 53 percent of Brazilians use their smartphones to research products, 45 percent  compare prices in different vendors using their mobile devices, and 32 percent use online payments to purchase goods.

Despite continued growth, the eCommerce market in Brazil can be difficult for U.S. companies to navigate due to challenges involving customs, taxes, shipping and payments for cross-border sales, in addition to the application of local consumer laws to any purchase completed in Brazilian territory. The Brazilian eCommerce Association and Brazilian eCommerce Chamber are also resources.
Cross-Border eCommerce
More than 23 million Brazilians purchased goods on a foreign website in 2018, a growth of 3 percent  compared to the previous year, totaling 69.4 million purchases and generating $2.1 billion. The average cart price of these purchases was $30.48 mainly due to Brazil’s de minimis exemption value of $50 – applied only to postal service shipments to individuals.

U.S. B2C firms targeting Brazilian consumers online should proceed with caution. Brazil is a price sensitive market with high import taxes. Direct sales from foreign countries, including the United States, are subject to customs and duties regulations. Although Brazil has made substantial progress reducing traditional border trade barriers (tariffs, import licensing, etc.), rates in many areas remain high and favor locally-produced products.

Brazil is on the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Special 301 Watch List. This designation reflects the agency’s concerns with respect to high levels of counterfeiting and piracy in Brazil, including internet piracy and online sales of counterfeit goods. It is important to be aware of this when buying or selling content online.

Businesses that locate online content infringing on their rights can contact the Internet Service Providers (ISPs) hosting said content to attempt to resolve their concerns. Businesses can also contact Brazilian enforcement authorities to explore potential criminal action. With respect to potential civil actions, businesses should be generally aware that ISPs will not be found civilly liable for damages resulting from content generated by third parties. Therefore, companies should be aware that their civil actions against an ISP, based on online sales of counterfeit goods, may not be successful. On the other hand, ISPs that host content infringing on copyrights or neighboring rights may be found civilly liable if the ISP does not remove content in a timely matter after notice has been given by the rights holder. The legislation in this area is still developing in Brazil, so companies may wish to consult local counsel if they have concerns.

Businesses seeking to market in Brazil also may wish to consider registering their trademark(s) as domain name(s) ending in “.br,” the country-code top-level domain (TLD) for Brazil. Registering trademarks as domain names in country-code TLDs may be helpful in establishing a local market presence. Defensively registering trademarks as domain names also helps guard against cybersquatters i.e., bad actors who register others’ trademarks as domain names in bad faith. Domain names typically can be registered for future use, thus preserving the company’s options for expansion. The .br TLD, unlike some country code TLDs, has an administrative dispute resolution policy for addressing cybersquatting. Court litigation also remains an option for instances of cybersquatting. For more information on e-commerce IPR, please visit the World Intellectual Property Organization website.

Online Payment
Brazilians often pay in installments for high-value eCommerce purchases, while preferring to pay in one payment for low-value purchases. In 2018, more than half (54.2 percent) of e-commerce sales were made in one payment, the remaining 45.8 percent were made in installments. In the same year, 19 percent of purchases were made in two to three installments and 26.8 percent were made in four to 12 installments.

Security continues to be a concern particularly regarding online fraud. Most Brazilians do not carry international credit cards, so international transactions can be challenging for both residents and visitors. While visitors have relatively few problems using credit cards at hotels and tourist venues, the same is not true for online purchases. Those wishing to pay for services such as food delivery or movie tickets online often encounter barriers, as many Brazilian websites do not accommodate international credit cards. The most commonly accepted cards in Brazil are Visa and MasterCard with chip and PIN technologies adopted to avoid misuse of physical cards.

Major Buying Holidays
Brazil has five holidays where retail sales increase: Christmas, Mother’s Day (the second Sunday in May), Valentine’s Day (June 12), Father’s Day (the second Sunday in August) and Easter. There are also five other major retail events: Carnival, Children’s Day (October 12), Consumer’s Day, Black Friday and Cyber Monday (in line with the U.S.).