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Research reveals e-commerce habits in Brazil’s southernmost state

Published on 08/29/2019 - Updated on 11/01/2019

According to Ebit|Nielsen, Brazil’s southern region is one of the leading e-commerce markets in the country. The tri-state area generated BRL 5.4 billion in revenue in H1 2019, making the region a profitable target for local and worldwide merchants.

In addition, the southernmost state of Brazil, Rio Grande do Sul, has the third highest nominal monthly household income per capita and the second lowest unemployment rates in Brazil, as shown by the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics – IBGE.

We carried out research in partnership with Segmento Pesquisa that reveals e-commerce consumers’ behavior in South Brazil, specifically in Porto Alegre – capital of Rio Grande do Sul, and home to our head office. Although the research was regional, the interviewees were selected based on the national e-commerce consumer profile. This is what we found.


Who are the e-commerce consumers?

Online shopping is most popular among consumers between 18 and 34 years of age. Income is an important factor that contributes towards their online shopping habits: the higher their salary, the keener they are to buy online. Additionally, products under the fashion and accessories category are also the main preference among e-commerce shoppers, particularly women.

Our research further shows that 45.5% of the population shops online with medium frequency – 19% on a monthly basis and 26.5% every two or three months. And not only are they buying online, but they are also heavy mobile device users: 98.5% revealed they have an account on social media, and three out of four interviewees said they shop online using their smartphones. The number is above the country’s national average, that shows 47% of the population use mobile devices to purchase online, according to We Are Social and Hootsuite. It is important to highlight that our research exclusively considered the population that buys online, which can help justify the difference with the national average.


What are they buying?

The top product categories, according to our research, were fashion and accessories (47.3%), household appliances (45.5%), telecommunications and mobile phones (38.85%), and electronics (38.8%). Women were more prone to purchase products from the top two categories, with 55.2% participation in fashion and accessories and 48.3% in household appliances. Men, on the other hand, have shown more interest in electronics: 47.2% bought an item from this category.

When it comes to age range, fashion and accessories were more popular among consumers aged 18-24 years, while among household appliance shoppers, an astonishing 51.35% were over 50 years old. This data is very close to the national average, that shows that senior buyers represent 42% of consumers, according to Folha de São Paulo.


How are they paying?

Like the national preference, domestic credit cards and boleto bancário are the preferred payment methods among Porto Alegre’s residents. Roughly 47% pay with boleto bancário when purchasing online, and 26.3% prefer this method because they do not have a credit card.

Also, 5.3% do not have a bank account, and this domestic payment option allows them to pay for their purchases in cash. It is important to note that, according to Locomotive Institute, Brazilians’ transactions were over BRL 800 billion in cash nation-wide.

International credit cards, on the other hand, are the preferred method for only 12.5% of the population of Porto Alegre, even though 20% revealed they generally use this payment method to shop online.

Finally, only 5.75% revealed facing any difficulties purchasing online. For 13% of them, the problems were related to slow response in payment confirmation. In addition, 62.8% of interviewees said they purchased online using a boleto at least once – which indicates the reliability of this payment method, even with all the limitations of the traditional boleto.

Our research shows that online shopping behavior in Porto Alegre is close to the national average, especially when it comes to preferred payment methods. This means that, even in a big city located in a leading e-commerce sales region, offering domestic payment alternatives is still important to attract and retain customers.

Paula Martins is a journalist specializing in Marketing. Her areas of expertise include payment methods, digital payments, and e-commerce. Currently, ... View profile

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  • Gir Leiteiro 27 de October de 2019

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    Gir Leiteiro