Last year, we introduced our framework for how eCommerce markets evolve: Consumers come online to connect and entertain, then start to engage in eBusiness basics like online banking and travel.** Only later do they tend to start purchasing physical products online, with readily comparable goods like mobile phones, computer hardware and books being some of consumers' first online purchases. The final phase involves consumers buying across a wide variety of categories online, including those with a strong “touch and feel” component to them:
Clients can access our recently updated report on this topic, which includes lots of new forecast data and notes how countries have moved through these phases. Brazil, for example, which was solidly in phase 3 last year, has started moving toward the final phase, where categories like apparel and beauty start to become a much more critical piece of the eCommerce market. A look at the shift in MercadoLivre’s GMV category ranking in 2012 gives one snapshot of this evolution:
Also included in our updated report is a look at how online retailer offerings in each market tend to differ depending on the phase the country is in. This report forms the vision report chapter of our upcoming eCommerce globalization playbook.
** There are, of course, exceptions to this linear progression. In countries such as China and Russia, for example, package-based travel is extremely common and tends to be purchased offline. Online travel has therefore not played as dominant a role in the early stages of eCommerce in these markets as it has in others like Mexico and India.