UPDATE: Amazon on Wednesday launched a new Marketplace for Electronics in Brazil, allowing any individual and local business to list their items on Amazon’s detail pages, according to an email from Amazon to Retail Dive. Small businesses and entrepreneurs can learn how to sell electronics on Amazon.com.br on the website amazon.com.br/venda-na-amazon. New registered sellers will be able to start selling in up to 48 hours, the company said.
UPDATE: Customers can now find more than 110,000 electronic products and accessories in addition to the already existing marketplace selection on Amazon's Brazilian site. The catalog includes a wide range of electronic items, including smartphones, phone accessories, TVs, laptops, cameras, video games, computers, printers, speakers, tablets, radios, and more from the likes of Sony, Samsung and Motorola.
Brazilian retail stocks took a hit this week when the news first surfaced in a report from Bloomberg, but analysts were mixed in their reactions, with JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s Joseph Giordano and his team saying that the idea that Amazon would significantly capture market share is overblown. BTG analyst Fabio Monteiro called it a "new paradigm for Brazilian e-commerce," Bloomberg said.
E-commerce in Brazil is immensely complicated because of its far-flung communities, dearth of infrastructure outside of cities and relatively low internet use, but it’s also home to a rising middle class and increasing mobile penetration. It’s the only country in Latin America in the top 10 worldwide e-commerce markets, according to eMarketer’s 2014 estimates of all retail sales; despite double-digit growth forecast for Brazilian e-commerce sales through 2018, however, eMarketer expects it to remain in 10th place.
Some 86% of Brazilian online shoppers purchased electronics in 2014, according to eMarketer, followed by apparel and books (75% each), home appliances (70%), services (70%), tickets (65%), music and games (62%), beauty products (59%), sports and outdoor products (49%) and home furnishings (48%).
“We know how much Brazilians love technology, which is why we are thrilled to launch this new category on our website," Alex Szapiro, Country Manager for Amazon in Brazil, said in a statement emailed to Retail Dive. "Since our launch in Brazil, we are constantly obsessed about offering our customers an amazing experience when it comes to buying Kindle devices, print or digital books, and self-publish an eBook.”
Szapiro also said that Amazon is aligning its global expertise of more than 20 years in e-commerce and marketplace with what it's learned in the past years from Brazilian customers, noting the importance of establishing a marketplace in that effort. "Today, more than half of total paid units sold on Amazon worldwide are from small businesses that offer their products through Amazon Marketplace," he said. "Our goal is to provide an amazing experience to consumers, while helping local entrepreneurs to grow, just like we have done with booksellers since we opened our Marketplace for Books [in Brazil] only a few months ago.”
The Brazilian e-commerce market ended 2016 with $13.4 billion (about R$43 billion) in earnings, an increase of 7.4% from last year. Some 48 million consumers there made at least one online purchase last year, a 22% increase over 2015, according to the Brazil e-commerce guide from Export.gov, an agency of the U.S. government formed to help American companies.
High import taxes are also a factor discouraging foreign e-commerce players. Retailers seeking to reach the online Brazilian consumer from their U.S. bases "should proceed with caution," the U.S. government warns. "Direct sales from the United States are subject to customs and duties regulations. Although Brazil has made substantial progress in reducing traditional border trade barriers (tariffs, import licensing, etc.), rates in many areas remain high and continue to favor locally produced products."
Still, Amazon’s sales there are growing just selling books and its Kindle devices: Amazon’s gross merchandise volume grew 65% from 2015 to last year to $63.4 million (about R$200 million), BTG analysts found, according to Bloomberg. Amazon itself touted its experience there, saying that for more than four years, the company in Brazil has sold Kindle devices, print and digital books, in addition to sales from its Marketplace for Books launched earlier this year.
Amazon offers more than 5 million eBooks, including more than 110,000 titles in Portuguese, and more than 13 million print books, including more than 350,000 titles in Portuguese, from both Amazon and marketplace sellers. The company also offers independent Brazilian authors its self-publishing tool, Kindle Direct Publishing, the company said.