Despite the ongoing dot-com shakeout and the common perception that Latin America is not ready for e-commerce, a new report released by Greenfield Online reveals that Mexican Internet users are buying goods on the Web in increasing numbers.
According to the data, 36 percent of the survey’s respondents reported making an online purchase in the previous 90 days, while 55 percent planned on buying a product over the Internet within the next 12 months.
Of the 36 percent who made an online purchase, over 10 percent had bought more than four items online over the last few months.
Liz Paul, who heads Greenfield Online Mexico in Mexico City, told the E-Commerce Times that convenience, availability, and the larger variety of products available online are the drivers behind Mexico’s e-commerce growth.
Mexican Internet users “are not having a negative experience online and more people would be interested in buying in the next year,” Paul said.
“While there is a common misconception that the Internet is only for the upper classes in Mexico and/or Latin America, the big news is that 40 percent of the respondents were from the Mexican middle class,” Paul added.
Although nearly 60 percent of the Mexican population is under the age of 30, over 50 percent of Mexican Internet users are between the ages of 24 and 44.
“About half of the people online were middle age, it wasn’t just a bunch of teenagers and college kids online,” Paul said.
Gender Gap Expected To Close
Seventy percent of the Internet users who responded to the Greenfield survey were men, while only thirty percent were women. The largest group of women found online were 25 to 34 years old and single.
However, Paul expects Mexico to follow the same pattern as the United States, where the divide closed to virtually even over five to six years.
“What draws women online are the chat/communication functions,” Paul said. “It’s only a matter of time before Mexico follows the U.S. pattern of a more even representation of men and women online.”
Time and Money
Hardware/software, CDs, and books were the top three product categories Mexican surfers researched online. When asked which factors motivated them to browse or shop online, over half the respondents listed “saving time” as the major influence.
Finding more information about a product came second, followed by convenience and the ability to buy products that are difficult to find or obtain.
“I think the companies that will succeed [online] will be the ones with the best distribution system who can deliver the best customer satisfaction,” Paul said. “There’s interest, if companies can assure speedy delivery with comparable prices. If they build it, they will come.”