How COVID-19 is reshaping consumer habits in Mexico
As the pandemic has shut down non-essential stores and shopping centers in Mexico, consumers are turning to ecommerce. And while this not seem like a big shift to online shopping elsewhere in North America, this represents a new form of shopping for most Mexicans. While ecommerce accounts for around 12% of all retail sales, Mexico’s is far lower at only 3%. A host of reasons contribute to the low ecommerce penetration for Mexico: fears of online fraud, credit card theft, distrust of banks and a strong preference for brick-and-mortar shopping.
But life under COVID-19 has pushed Mexican consumers out of their comfort zone, and many are trying shopping online for the first time. And while necessity may have forced them online—for home office furnishings and supply, groceries and other basic provisions—Mexican consumers’ positive online experiences are likely to change habits for future purchases. Already, this initial wave of once reluctant online shoppers has helped fuel double digit growth—at least for the short term—in the ecommerce sector. Even with the expected contraction of the economy due to COVID-19, ecommerce penetration in Mexico is predicted to rise from 3% before the coronavirus to at least 20%.
Consumers in Mexican may still prefer to shop in person, to touch and feel products, and be assured of warranties on purchases, but more are beginning to embrace online shopping. While ecommerce has a long way to go before it unseats brick-and-mortar as Mexican consumers’ preferred way to shop, it’s clear that as more people get comfortable shopping online, retailers will need to plan for an omnichannel approach to sales—and get creative on how to deliver an online shopping experience that captures that security and comfort they feel in stores.
Luis Bonet is the Country Manager for Mexico and Colombia for T-ROC, a global retail solutions provider. To learn more how retailers and manufacturers can adapt and pivot in response to the pandemic’s impact on retail, you can reach Luis at [email protected].
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