Mobile Commerce in Brazil Slow to Take but Gaining Momentum - eMarketer

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Mobile Commerce in Brazil Slow to Take but Gaining Momentum

Would-be smartphone buyers in Brazil discouraged by poor retail experience on mobile

September 18, 2013

Mobile commerce in Brazil is still taking its first few steps, but the country’s intense mobile uptake and maturing ecommerce space are helping push mobile purchases ahead.

In its June 2013 roundup of the state of mcommerce in Brazil, e-bit, a leading ecommerce data provider in the country, showed mobile purchases accounting for only 3.6% of total ecommerce transactions that month. While still a small share, the June 2013 number represents a substantial leap from the 2010 baseline. e-bit measured growth every six months and found that mcommerce’s share increased by between 100% and 200% during some of these half-year stretches over the previous few years.

Mcommerce as a Percent of Total Retail Ecommerce Transactions in Brazil, Jan 2010-June 2013

The leading obstacles to mobile buying in Brazil seem to be a somewhat mixed bag, with many snags related to retailer investment in the devices. Google’s February 2013 “Our Mobile Planet” study found that long page-loading times were the main barrier to more mobile purchases, cited by 32.1% of smartphone users surveyed. Although this may be partially a reflection of limited mobile networks in Brazil, it is something that could be addressed by retailers creating low-bandwith mobile shopping sites.

Similarly, responsive design solutions could help overcome the small screen sizes on smartphones, which 29.2% of smartphone users cited as a barrier to mobile buying. This could also help with the lack of detailed product or service information, which ranked as the third most cited reason for forgoing mobile purchasing.

Barriers to Mobile Buying According to Smartphone Users in Brazil, Feb 2013 (% of respondents)

Despite the still low uptake of mobile commerce, and numerous barriers slowing down would-be mobile shoppers, smartphone owners who have taken up the practice of buying on mobile seem sold. Google’s study found that 40.8% of smartphone buyers in Brazil made purchases via these devices at least once a week, and 23% did so at least once a day.

Frequency with Which Smartphone Buyers in Brazil Purchase on Their Smartphone, Feb 2013 (% of respondents)

Mobile devices certainly present more digital shopping limitations than computers. But the significant uptake of smartphones in Brazil, along with the growing penchant for ecommerce in the country, should motivate retailers to dedicate greater effort to their mobile storefronts in the hopes of attracting receptive mobile buyers.

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