Thursday
July 24, 2014

New record

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Electronic commerce grows 48.5 percent in 2013

By Fermín Koop
Herald Staff

Online commerce reached a new record last year by growing 48.5 percent compared to 2012 with 24.8 billion pesos spent in online purchases carried out by 12 million people, the Electronic Chamber Association (CACE) reported yesterday.

The growth of Internet users and companies who sell products online together with a wider variety of products offered, more safety measures and increased user confidence are some of the reasons behind the growth.

Transport and tourism-related tickets continued to top the list of online purchases with 6.6 billion pesos (28.7 percent) spent last year. Electronic goods and accessories were second on the list and reached 1.8 billion pesos in sales (10.9 percent), followed by food and drinks (7.8 percent), mobile phone purchases (6.7 percent) and home supplies (3.7 percent).

“Online commerce continues to grow in Argentina based on last year’s rates. We reached 48-percent growth with 24,800 pesos spent,” Patricia Jebsen, head of CACE, told the Herald. “Our long-term goal is that 70 percent of people who use the Internet buy online.”

The growth in e-commerce has not only lead to more online transaction but also to a change in how people choose their products. Last year, 73.4 percent of Internet users undertook web research on prices and brands before going to a store to buy their desired products. This has led online marketplaces to boost regular store purchases, according to Jensen and the CACE survey.

Online shoppers last year spent an average 2,000 pesos and undertook between two and six purchases. Half of the people surveyed said they chose online transactions for convenience and paid for their purchases with credit or debit cards. The average package sent weighed 2.1 kilos, much smaller size than in previous years, indicating people now choose to buy smaller goods like clothing and not just big domestic appliances.

The survey reported that last year 43 percent of large companies and 36 percent of small and medium companies sold their products online, representing an increase compared to 2012 but still with a far way to go according to Jensen. While 76 percent of the companies used social media networks to communicate information, only 40 percent used them to offer their products. Only 10 percent of the clicks on e-commerce websites were a result of social media networks.

“We have to work on reducing the time taken for a product to be delivered. We would be able to remedy the anxiety of people if we could solve that problem,” Jebsen said. “More companies need to offer their products online, that’s one of the main objectives.”

The AFIP tax bureau’s new restrictions on online purchases and last week’s devaluation wouldn’t put a stop to the growth of e-commerce in Argentina, which is expected at 40 to 45 percent this year, Jebsen said. Nevertheless, the head of CACE criticized the AFIP’s decisions and said they “represent the opposite of how this industry works.”

“Last year, 13 percent of Internet users undertook purchased on foreign websites, mainly due to the rise of Chinese websites. People bought things they cannot find in Argentina or that are cheaper abroad,” Jebsen explained. “E-commerce signfies comfort and the AFIP measures move in the opposite direction.”

@ferminkoop

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