How Marketplaces are Shaping E-commerce in Latin America

Marketplaces shaping ecommerce latin america

The rapid growth of e-commerce in Latin America owes much to the development and expansion of marketplaces. These platforms stand out as the preferred channels for Latin American consumers, driven by factors like convenience and diverse payment options. 

For global brands and retailers eyeing expansion opportunities in Latin America, diversifying their product presence across marketplaces is a strategic move. However, relying solely on one marketplace won’t guarantee success in LatAm, as even the largest marketplace holds only a 22% share. This article explores crucial considerations in marketplace development, the driving forces behind their growth, and the fragmented landscape of e-commerce in LatAm.

Why Consumers Prefer to Buy from Marketplaces

Marketplaces top the list of favorite online purchasing channels in Latin America, with a significant lead. According to a Wunderman Thompson survey, 41% of consumers choose marketplaces as their preferred channel, followed by online supermarket stores with a mere 14% preference. Several factors influence the preference for purchasing from marketplaces. One of them is the ease and convenience of finding all products in one place, eliminating the need to use multiple channels for shopping.

“Consumers in Brazil tend to connect better with marketplaces since it is easy for them to find products in the same place” said Magno Lima, Head of Innovation and Digital at SPC Brasil.

Another factor is the array of incentives marketplaces employ in favor of their consumers, such as installment payments, free shipping, discount coupons, and affinity programs. Similar trends are observed in Mexico. “Marketplaces are revolutionizing how retail is being purchased online,” said Daniela Orozco, Research Manager at the AMVO. “National retailers are modifying their business models to compete with large multicategory sites that have made a significant contribution to the market”.

Why There is No Marketplace Monopoly in Latin America?

One of the primary distinctions between Latin America, the United States, and Europe is the absence of a monopoly dominated by a single platform. Unlike the U.S., where Amazon commands nearly 40% of the e-commerce share, MercadoLibre, the largest marketplace in Latin America, holds only 22% of the total share. This stark difference is a significant indicator of the fragmented nature of e-commerce in Latin America.

According to studies from the Brazilian Retail and Consumer Society, MercadoLibre represents approximately 15% of the e-commerce share in Brazil, closely trailed by platforms like Americanas, Magalu, and Via Varejo. Platforms such as are steadily growing each year but have not yet surpassed the 5% market share. 

Hence, it is crucial to develop a diversification strategy and be present in multiple marketplaces. Selling your products exclusively on one platform won’t secure more than 10-15% of the total market share. Conversely, expanding to multiple platforms allows you to capture a broader market and increase sales. Here’s an article that shares valuable insights on the top 10 largest marketplaces in Latin America.

Which Countries Concentrate the Most Marketplace Traffic?

United Nations ECLAC studied 2,000 websites and around 900 B2C marketplaces in Latin American countries from 2019 to 2021. The findings show that marketplace traffic is concentrated in the region’s largest economies. The six largest economies capture over 90% of marketplace traffic, with this concentration linked to more populous and higher-income countries hosting larger platforms. This suggests that network effects play a pivotal role in shaping platform diffusion in LatAm countries.

Notably, in 2021, Brazil accounted for 54% of the total traffic. Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and Peru collectively represented 43%. This proportion closely aligns with the e-commerce market share, indicating that the volume of marketplace traffic in Latin America is proportionate to the e-commerce development in each country.

Marketplace Traffic Growth Over the Years

The most significant period of marketplace growth occurred between 2019 and 2021, with marketplace traffic increasing by nearly 30%. This growth was attributed to the expansion of existing marketplaces rather than the emergence of new ones. The key drivers behind this surge were the impact of the COVID-19 wave and the lockdown measures in many countries, prompting increased online sales from the comfort of homes. Consequently, in 2020, the e-commerce growth rate in Latin America reached 36.7%, making it the fastest-growing e-commerce region globally. Currently, marketplace traffic continues to grow at accelerated rates, surpassing the 20% mark.

3P vs 1P Sales in Latin America’s Marketplaces

A notable feature in Latin American marketplaces is their support for the development of third-party (3P) seller sales. Mercado Libre stands out as a prime example, operating solely as a 3P platform without sales of its own. Despite this, it achieved a remarkable 23% growth from 2022 to 2021. Similarly, in other marketplaces like Magalu, 3P sales are outpacing 1P sales, with growth rates hovering around 18%. The most significant surge in 3P sales is observed at Carrefour Brazil, boasting an impressive 101% growth. This accomplishment results from strategic initiatives that enhanced seller sales, investments in exposure, and ads, among other factors. In Mexico, Mercado Libre also takes the lead with a 22% growth in 3P sales. Other platforms like Coppel ended the year on a positive note, witnessing a 24% growth in 3P sales.

Is it Worth Selling on Latin American Marketplaces?

If you’re an international brand or retailer aiming to broaden your sales across diverse regions, venturing into Latin American marketplaces is a strategic move. This approach ensures your products are not only visible but also positioned to capture a significant market share in one of the world’s fastest-growing e-commerce markets. To achieve this, it’s crucial to develop a diversification strategy and embrace multiple channels. Relying solely on platforms like Mercado Libre or Amazon won’t fully maximize your market share.

nocnoc empowers global sellers to swiftly expand to over 15 marketplaces in Latin America within 48 hours. Upon signing up and uploading your products, they are seamlessly expanded into nocnoc megastores across major marketplaces.

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