As e-commerce shopping continues to grow across Latin America, Colombia is one of the countries in the region experiencing the most growth in e-commerce shopping. Coming into 2020, over 55 percent of internet users in Colombia have made an online purchase and there is expected to be a 3% growth in the GDP of the country this year, according to the Economist. To add to this information, by 2025, total expenditure by e-commerce shoppers in Colombia is expected to reach US$105 billion, a significant increase from US$29 billion in 2015. With such a promising future in Colombia, it is becoming difficult to ignore the country if you are in e-commerce, so let's take a deeper dive into what e-commerce will look like and how you can be successful in your digital marketing efforts within Colombia for your e-commerce business in 2020.
What is Driving the Growth of E-Commerce in Colombia?
E-Commerce in Colombia has experienced significant growth over the years and it is due to several different factors and changes occurring within the country. As we mentioned before, the growing economy has and will continue to play a significant role in the success of e-commerce in Colombia during 2020. This improving economy of Colombia not only means that there will be more spending dollars in the country, but it also means that there will be significant improvement in the infrastructure in Colombia. According to Export.gov, Colombia has already begun investing more in its infrastructure and passing several measurements to improve its efficiency, transparency, and legal security. In 2020, airport and maritime infrastructure are both expected to grow by over 2%, while roads and bridges will grow by nearly 6%, and railroad infrastructure is expected to grow by a whopping 20%. These advancements in infrastructure will allow products to be moved throughout the country in larger quantities and at faster rates.
Advancements in technology have played a major factor in the growth of e-commerce in Colombia. According to research done by Hootsuite, Colombia has an internet penetration of nearly 70%, with around 35 million users. Along with this significant internet penetration, mobile internet penetration in the country is at 64%, creating more accessibility to online shopping. Fin-tech companies across Latin America have also given the Colombian population access to credit and the ability to conduct digital transactions, something that many people in Latin American countries did not have access to prior to the expansion of fin-tech companies across the region.
A shift in attitude in Colombia towards e-commerce has also resulted in the Colombian people to be more receptive towards purchasing products and services online. As mentioned before, mobile internet penetration in Colombia is at 64% and more Colombians are being exposed to online shopping. According to Americas Market Intelligence, mobile devices are beginning to be viewed as a method of conducting digital transactions in Latin America, and this is contributing greatly towards the growth of e-commerce. In 2010, internet penetration in Colombia was only at 36.5%, meaning the internet is still a relatively new concept for many in the country, and like with most things, it takes time to get accustomed to something new such as online shopping. Fortunately, Colombia has begun to adopt the concept of online shopping relatively quickly and it is now growing in popularity across the country.
E-Commerce Consumer Shopping Trends in Colombia
According to a study done by Nielsen, 40% of e-commerce shoppers in Colombia are millennials (25-34 years of age). Online shoppers are pretty balanced in terms of gender, with 51% of shoppers being female and 49% being male. This trend in online shopping demographics is very important to take into consideration because e-commerce businesses selling towards millennials or a general audience may do well, but if what you sell is specific towards an older audience, you may encounter struggling sales in Colombia. Although millennials currently make up 40% of e-commerce shoppers in the country, e-commerce is growing in popularity and the demographics of e-commerce shoppers will begin to shift, resulting in an increase in the amount of shoppers that are of older ages, which is what we expect to see in 2020.
It has also been found that consumers spend an average of around 4 minutes on e-commerce websites, visiting around 4 pages of the website per visit. Of all online shoppers in Colombia, 61% of visitors came via mobile devices. With this being said, a well optimized mobile site is going to be needed. Make sure that your mobile website provides users with a great experience and includes suggestions to other products when shopping around so that you increase the likelihood of customers making more purchases on your site when they visit those other pages.
Some of the top household goods purchased online in Colombia during 2019 included, foods, refrigerated goods, cleaning products, baby products, beverages, sweets, and alcoholic beverages. For those e-commerce businesses selling these types of products, expect to see growth in demand during 2020 as urbanization continues to grow in Colombia and online shopping continues to normalize in the country. The most commonly purchased products/services online in Colombia are entertainment and technology. Clothing, beauty products, and travel, are also amongst some of the more popular purchases in the country. With the increasing popularity of e-commerce, it is expected that other products and services will be purchased online more frequently as well coming into 2020.
One of the the main causes of Colombians avoiding purchasing products and services online is their belief that online shopping is not safe. If you can create a secure e-commerce shopping experience and effectively promote that your site is safe to shop on, you may eventually win over the percentage of users that avoid shopping online. With time, this fear of shopping online in Colombia will pass as it becomes a norm in the country.
Digital Marketing for E-Commerce in Colombia (2020)
When it comes to doing digital marketing for an e-commerce business in Colombia, there are quite a few differences from doing digital marketing in the United States. There have also been some recent changes in digital marketing that can impact your efforts. With this being said, we have included some of the changes to look out for in 2020 within your digital marketing efforts towards Colombia.
To start off, we'll focus on voice search. Voice search is increasing in popularity in Colombia, with currently 36% of internet users using it in the country for every day searches, according to research done by Hootsuite. With voice search becoming popular, you will need to optimize each page on your website for voice. This will be a very tedious task for those e-commerce sites with hundreds of pages, but it is very important to do so, as voice appears to be the future of how internet search will be conducted. The best way to optimize for voice is to consider how someone in Colombia would use voice search to find whatever product/service it is that you are selling, and include that as the keywords in your site. Keywords for voice search will tend to be long-tail keywords, meaning they will be more specific. This may be a little difficult if you do not know the Spanish language, so it is recommended that you find someone who knows Spanish well enough to do your voice search optimization.
When it comes to social media, the platform you should choose to dedicate time to should depend on your target audience, however, for an e-commerce business in Colombia, your best bets will most likely be Facebook and Instagram. You can also use messenger apps such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger to replace emails and even use them for customer service purposes. Latin Americans find it normal to communicate via messaging apps professionally and actually prefer to communicate through these apps rather than through email, according to a study done by HubSpot. In 2020, we recommend avoiding influencer marketing as it is going in a downward trend and with the changes made by Instagram that prevents others from seeing likes on videos and pictures, it may complicate how you analyze your results and the availability of influencers you have on social media.
Whether it be video or blog article content, content will remain highly important in 2020. For businesses doing digital marketing in Colombia, we recommend creating more video content, as 62% of Latin Americans prefer video content and only 22% prefer blog articles, according to the same study done by HubSpot that we mentioned earlier. Consumers in Latin America have a really strong preference for informative/educational video content, therefor, we suggest creating this type of content and publishing it on channels such as Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram to attract a greater audience. Although a smaller percentage of those surveyed said they prefer blog articles, don't shy away from written content. Having diverse content allows you to be found in different places and in some situations, your audience may actually prefer to read blog articles rather than to watch video content, so it is good to create both.
Traditional search engine optimization for content is also changing due to the significant amounts of content being created. With so much content being created, Google has had to change the way content ranks, which alters the way you should now be doing search engine optimization for your content. Google is focusing on creating a better experience for users and helping them find answers quicker without having to click on search results, therefor, your meta description should answer the question that your blog article addresses in order to have your content rank higher.
As we always mention in our articles, remember to incorporate the culture and the language of the country you are selling in within your digital marketing efforts, as this is one trend that will never go away and will always help you stand out. If you need help with any of your digital marketing efforts towards the Colombian market for your e-commerce business, feel free to contact Selva Digital. Selva Digital specializes in helping businesses with their digital marketing efforts in Latin American countries and enables them to achieve better results through effective strategies and a wide variety of services. Contact us today to see how we can help you with your efforts in Colombia.