COVID-19 has significantly altered consumer shopping patterns across Mexico, according to industry insiders. Mexico's largest e-commerce platforms - WalMart, Amazon and Mercado Libre - all reported gains in users and revenue during the second quarter of 2020.
Walmart de Mexico, Walmart's Mexico unit, reported online sales grew 217 percent in the second quarter and now make up 4.5% of total sales in Mexico. Walmart is the largest retailer in Mexico.
"As social distancing measures became more stringent, customers embraced pickup and home delivery services even more, and e-commerce demand tripled," said Ignacio Caride, WalMart de Mexico's head of e-commerce, during a conference call on July 23.
During the second quarter, WalMart de Mexico doubled its last-mile capacity, streamlined its same-day delivery from stores to less than 72 hours, and hired more than 2,600 order pickers to help with the demand, Caride said.
WalMart also opened three fulfillment centers in Mexico City, Guadalajara and Monterrey, as well as two fulfillment/distribution centers in Mérida and Chihuahua City, over the past eleven months.
Mexico also presents one of fastest-growing markets for Amazon. From February to July, monthly traffic to the company's Mexican site (Amazon.com.mx) increased by 36%, from 38 million to 52 million visitors.
Amazon's second-quarter North American revenues increased to $55.4 billion, up 43% from the year-ago quarter. The U.S., Canada and Mexico are included in the company's North American segment.
Mercado Libre, one of the largest providers of e-commerce services in Latin America, reported Monday that second-quarter net revenue in Mexico was $125.9 million, compared to $64.4 million during the same quarter in 2019.
Argentina-based Mercado Libre's largest market is Brazil, which grew to $365 million in net revenue during the second quarter compared to $340 million last year.
Mercado Libre's total payment volume, through its online platform Mercado Pago, reached $11.2 billion, a year-over-year increase of 72%, while unique active users grew 45% to 51.5 million.
"The pandemic generated significant changes in consumer behavior, which translated into a new milestone in the penetration of e-commerce and online payments in Latin America," said Pedro Arnt, the CFO of Mercado Libre Inc.
E-commerce in Latin America is still in its early stages, with online purchases accounting for around 4% of total retail sales in 2019, compared to 11% in the U.S., according to the recent study COVID-19 Impact on Online Sales in Mexico by the Mexican Online Sales Association (AMVO).
From January to July, unique daily visitors to Mexico's e-commerce sites grew by 53%, according to AMVO.
Around 55% of respondents to the study said they prefer to buy online now, because they don't want to leave their home during the pandemic, with 48% also saying they want to avoid crowds at stores.
"In general, the perception of security in online shopping has increased compared to January, where 7 out of 10 shoppers now feel safe shopping online, as well as 7 out of 10 are satisfied with their purchases," according to the AMVO report.