Top online marketplaces in South America

September 3, 2021 by
Sanne Leenders
South America

South America has a diverse online marketplace landscape with many competitors in the game reaching remarkable GMV amounts and growth figures. The Argentinian player MercadoLibre, for example, is currently in rank seven in the comparison of the biggest online marketplaces by GMV in the Americas. Even though it is only active in Latin America.

The three online marketplace giants

Online marketplaces play an increasingly important role in global e-commerce. In 2020, online marketplaces were responsible for 63% of digital spending globally. China’s Taobao and Tmall are head-to-head in the race for the world’s biggest marketplace. In addition, both lead by quite a margin over other competitors in the international comparison of online players in the third-party e-commerce business in terms of total GMV in 2020.

The only non-Asian online marketplace which plays in the same league GMV-wise is Amazon. Together, these current top three online marketplaces with the highest GMV in the world generated over US$1.6 trillion in 2020. In comparison to this enormous figure, other competitors in the field of online marketplaces seem very small.

MercadoLibre is the biggest online marketplace in South America

By total GMV, MercadoLibre is the biggest online marketplace in South America. In 2020, it generated a GMV of US$19.7 billion. This corresponds to a remarkable GMV growth of 50% when comparing it to 2019.

Although MercadoLibre is the biggest South American marketplace, it is beaten by others in terms of growth. Casas Bahia, which is the smallest marketplace by GMV in this comparison, grew by a tremendous 128% between 2019 and 2020, reaching a GMV total of US$2.0 billion. Casas Bahia is from Brazil and only active in its home country.

Americanas grew the slowest

Magalu, another Brazilian competitor, reaches the second-highest growth in this comparison, increasing GMV by 82% year-on-year to US$4 billion in 2020.

Americanas grew slowest. The Brazilian online marketplace increased its GMV by “only” 14% between 2019 and 2020, reaching a total of US$3.8 billion. For 2021, there are forecasts of more solid growth for all four players. Americanas will probably increase its growth rate in the current year.

Small e-commerce region

South America is a rather small e-commerce region in terms of total revenue. US$45 billion were generated in e-commerce in South America in 2020. North America, for example, produced US$588 billion in 2020. With this in mind, the GMV figures of South America’s online marketplaces do not look so small anymore, not even compared to international giants.

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