New online tool on marketplaces to fortify e-commerce for small business in Latin America and Caribbean
International Trade Centre (joint UN and WTO agency), UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, Centre for Market Insights of the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences launch Marketplace Explorer
(Geneva) A new online tool helps small business in the Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) region find digital routes to markets, while it supports policymakers in reading e-commerce trends.
The innovative dataset addresses the lack of comprehensive information about marketplace activity in the region by analysing traffic and characteristics, covering almost 3,000 websites belonging to around 900 business-to-consumer (B2C) marketplaces across 33 LAC countries between 2019 and 2021.
Online marketplace traffic in the Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) region grew almost 30% from 2019 to 2021. However, despite this growth, data remains scarce.
The tool shows that marketplace traffic is concentrated in the largest economies of the region: the seven largest economies occupy more than 90% of marketplace traffic. Mercado Libre is the largest marketplace in the region, concentrating about 30% of marketplace traffic.
The 20 marketplaces with the highest traffic share account for about 65% of total visits. The dashboard reveals that LAC countries with higher GDP per capita or population tend to have higher marketplace traffic per capita and a smaller number of platforms per capita.
The tool was developed by the International Trade Centre (ITC) together with the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (UN-ECLAC) and the Centre for Market Insights of the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, and launched in December 2022. The Forum for East Asia-Latin America Cooperation (FEALAC) also supported its development. It follows previous efforts by ITC to map online marketplace activity in Africa.
‘The future of trade – especially more inclusive trade – will be through e-commerce. This initiative is a big step forward for small businesses growth in Latin America and the Caribbean. Online marketplaces matter for small businesses: they open the door to bigger markets, provide safe payment solutions, and facilitate logistics services. This is so important for women business owners and young entrepreneurs, not just in the region but across all developing countries.’ Pamela Coke-Hamilton, Executive Director, International Trade Centre
E-commerce encourages innovation and contributes to the digital transformation of small businesses. Implementing digital technologies and business practices improves the efficiency and productivity of companies beyond its effects on access to new markets. Despite recent advancements in our knowledge about the extent and positive effects of online marketplaces, data for the Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) region remain scarce.
This study follows previous efforts by the International Trade Center (ITC) to map online marketplace activity in Africa. Applying the same methodology used in the Latin America and the Caribbean dashboard, ITC and the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences built a database of around 630 African online marketplaces.