Online shoppers in Latin America are showing an increasing preference for buying from China, strengthening e-commerce payments between the two regions. AliExpress, part of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, has capitalized on this interest and is increasing its presence within Central and South American countries. The cheap prices and variety of products offered by AliExpress and other Chinese retailers are the two predominant factors for why Latin Americans are shopping globally, said BNAmericas.
Renato Pelissaro, marketing director for PayPal Latin America, told BNAmericas that a strong presence from Alibaba has increased consumer confidence in buying from Asia. According to the site, 26 percent of all cross-border online transactions from Latin America within the past year were sent to China. This puts the Asian country slightly behind the United States; the latter country made up 38 percent of purchases.
Even though Latin American consumers prefer to shop from China, Internet Retailer noted that there is a bit of difficulty getting the products to them.
"A Brazilian consumer normally must wait 40 days to receive the products after he or she placed order on Aliexpress.com," Bill Wang, director of emerging market operations at Alibaba, told the site. "It takes one to two weeks to ship the parcel from China to Brazil. But the time for passing through Brazilian customs and delivery inside of Brazil could take a total of 30 days."
China Daily agreed, saying that difficulty within the country's postal service has caused trouble for sellers.
"It takes about two to five months for the end consumers in Brazil to get their order from China," said Brazil-based Chinese businessman Feng Bo. "One of the solutions is build a local warehouse to store up the goods. However, such kind of solution has not been quite successful so far because it adds complication to the taxation system."
Still, Brazilians love AliExpress, and the company has taken steps to make shipping as convenient as possible. According to Internet Retailer, Alibaba has partnered with the state-owned Brazilian postal service to obtain parcel data and decrease delivery time. AliExpress's inexpensive products continue to draw customers, and the store accepts a variety of payment options (including the Brazilian favorite Boleto).
"Aliexpress.com grew fast in Latin America, especially in Brazil, Chile and Mexico," Bill Wang told Internet Retailer.
Launched in 2010, AliExpress is Alibaba's international version, and it's been strengthening its marketing to Latin American shoppers. A Spanish version of the site became available to consumers in 2014, which has sections dedicated to local suppliers that Alibaba has authenticated. Meanwhile, the recently debuted pt.aliexpress.com – a Portuguese version – is the first iteration of the site created to target consumers of an individual country (in this case, Brazil).
Latin American potential
Brazil currently makes up the bulk of Latin America's e-commerce. China Daily wrote that online sales within the country grew 28 percent in 2013 and 22 percent in 2014; Brazil is expected to become the 10th-largest online market by 2018. According to Entrepreneur, Brazil hold's 299 of Latin America's top 500 e-commerce sites, while Latin America as a whole will have 640 million consumers by 2020.
Entrepreneur had several recommendations for international retailers hoping to enter the Latin American market. Despite the high cost, organizations should use local logistics providers in order to make shipping as effective and efficient as possible. They should also provide payment solutions that are popular in the region. Although some Latin Americans still pay cash on delivery. electronic payments such as credit cards and mobile payments are gaining local favor.
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