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EBay locks in on Latin America to capitalize on growing mobile adoption

EBay is doubling down in Latin America with new versions of the company’s mobile and Web platforms that play up local and tailored content.

The online giant is bringing language-specific content to eBay’s Latin American markets, which will give the company a presence in 19 countries within the area, including Mexico, Brazil and Argentina. The new deal is the latest example showing how eBay is betting on its aggressive push into mobile within developed markets to propel new international efforts.

“Smartphone use is exploding in Latin America,” said Johnna Hoff, senior manager of communications of BRIC and emerging markets at eBay, San Jose, CA.

“EBay made an early investment in mobile to connect consumers to the things they need and love whenever they want, and we believe it’s important in fast growing regions like Latin America to bring that ease, convenience and shopping power to customers anywhere they want it,” she said.

Tapping mobile for local
EBay’s new deal in Latin America will pull local online and mobile information into eBay’s online and mobile platforms.

This tailored content includes local promotions and deals specific to the Latin American market.

For example, South America is gearing up to head into the winter season, so consumers within this region can expect to see more cold-weather products via eBay’s mobile and online platforms than they would in other regions.

World Cup products right now are also more likely to strike a chord with Latin American consumers, so those items are played up on eBay.

Search, browsing and currency information will all be developed in both Spanish and Portuguese languages.

EBay has also rolled out a Brazilian Portuguese version of its flagship mobile app to trigger quick sales, making it available in seven languages now.

Within the U.S., this app was recently updated to include several new image-heavy features that mimic Pinterest (see story).

New markets
EBay’s Latin America deal is only one piece of a much bigger push that the online company is making internationally.

The company’s international and local efforts began in 2012 with Russia, which included a translated app called eBay Moda fashion. This same app was launched in Latin America last year as the company’s first initiative in the region.

Then in April 2013, eBay rolled out a Russian version of

EBay cites data from Groupe Speciale Mobile Association that smartphone ownership in the Latin America region is expected to double in the next few years. By 2017, 44 percent of consumers in the region will own a smartphone, per GSMA’s research.

Additional research from The Integer Group and M/A/R/C Research last year found that 16 percent of Hispanic shoppers in the U.S. use mobile to shop (see story).

The online retail giant says that more than two million Latin American residents already shop eBay in English within the region, indicating that there is already a healthy market for online and mobile shopping in the area.

“Mobile and global are two priority initiatives for eBay’s global marketplaces efforts,” Ms. Hoff said.

“In Latin America, consumers can access eBay as the best place to shop for the best things on Earth online and on mobile,” she said. “The recent localized launches now allow them to shop in a more personalized way, for an easier, more seamless experience across eBay.”

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York