Latin America and the Caribbean, with 650M+ people, still presents vast opportunity for e-commerce brands

 · 1 min read


Amazon might have taken its name from the world's largest river but, ironically, it is far from dominant in Latin America, the home territory of the Amazon River. The number of site visits to Amazon in Latin America is a fraction of the visits to the dominant marketplace: MercadoLibre.

From an e-commerce perspective, Latin America in 2023 looks like North America in 1997. Wheres in 2021 97% of people in the United States had access to high-speed internet service, in 2022 only 78% of people in Latin America enjoyed regular internet connectivity and only about 50% had high-speed internet access. The Latin America e-commerce marketplace is estimated to achieve $509B in 2023 and $923B in 2026; that is massive growth!

And more importantly, there is not yet a single dominant e-commerce marketplace in all of Latin America. Amazon has been very reluctant to invest heavily in Latin America and MercadoLibre has a lot further to go before it can be as dominant in Latin America as Amazon is in North America. For e-commerce brands, Latin America remains a white slate opportunity for growth if you can master how to operate in more than one e-commerce platform.

Into this white space an MIT alumni launched an e-commerce marketplace founded in Guatemala and Costa Rica: Pacifiko. What caught our eye is how Pacifiko embodies the "customer obsession" ethos of Amazon in solving customer problems every day:

"For one thing, it offers cash payments on delivery and bank account transfers, since fewer people have credit cards. Pacifiko also offers one- and two-day motorcycle delivery through a mix of its own services and local logistics companies."

If you're a brand looking to incrementally increase revenue and expand your contribution margins, you should look very hard at alternative marketplaces like Latin America and learning how to operate on a mixture of very different e-commerce marketplaces.