Voice of the Industry

The ecommerce and payment landscape in Latin America

Wednesday 29 November 2023 15:10 CET | Editor: Raluca Constantinescu | Voice of the industry

Renato Lahud, Business Director at PagSeguro, elaborates on the latest trends in ecommerce and payments in Latin America.

With the rocket-fast digitisation brought on by the pandemic and online shopping habits cemented, Latin American ecommerce turns to new verticals while also strengthening the usual market leaders. 

Retail will most likely always be Latin America’s #1 market – not only considering online sales, but for brick-and-mortar shopping as well –, but the bustling post-pandemic scenario turned the market’s attention to new, different verticals. Thus, even if betting has a volume of ‘just’ USD 21 billion compared to online retail’s massive volume of USD 258 billion, it is by far the fastest-growing ecommerce market in LATAM, rising 38% per year until 2026. 

But which exactly are these newly rising verticals? Are they a passing trend or have they come to stay amidst the rich Latin American ecommerce landscape? And what is the cross-border opportunity for each of these industries? This is what I’ll dive into in this article. 

All the data presented throughout is from PagSeguro’s brand new white paper E-commerce and Payment Landscape in Latin America: insights for the retail, travel, betting, gaming, streaming, online education, and cryptocurrency industries, conducted in partnership with Payments and Commerce Market Intelligence (PCMI), a division of Americas Market Intelligence (AMI). This is the fourth study we have released, once again aiming to share brand new data and our almost 20 years of expertise in Latin America with the market. 

This is the first time, though, that we have switched the focus from each of LATAM’s top six markets – Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, Chile, Argentina, and Peru, in order of online sales volume – to the different verticals from the region’s ecommerce market. So, without further ado, let’s dive into them and understand the opportunities and growth behaviours in each one. 


The scenario for the overall ecommerce industry in Latin America 

Latin America was already on the well toward digital revolution even before the COVID-19 pandemic, but the specific conditions posed by it definitely pushed matters much further and much, much faster than expected. Online shopping became the standard, millions of people opened their first digital bank accounts – access to financial accounts rose from 51% in 2017 to 84% in 2023 –, and then Pix came just at the right time to completely change the game. 

Released in November 2020 by Brazil’s Central Bank, instant payment platform Pix helped to cement Brazil as a world-renowned financial innovation powerhouse, and it turned the country’s consumers even more toward quick, easy, and secure payment and shopping experiences. Today, Pix accounts for 29% of the ecommerce volume in Brazil – and for 17% of the online sales volume in Latin America, coming in third among the most used payment methods for e-shopping around the region. 

In Latin America, 82% of the adult population made an online purchase in 2023, almost the same share of people who have access to the internet in the region (83%). These e-shoppers boosted Latin America’s ecommerce volume to USD 509 billion in 2023, out of which 94% came from the top six markets – a total of USD 479 billion. 

Between 2021 and 2022, ecommerce was still huge, growing 27% from one year to the next. For the near future, growth did slow down a bit as shopping habits became more stabilised after the worst of the pandemic was behind us, but the online sales volume in LATAM’s top six markets is expected to rise 22% per year until 2026, when it is estimated to reach USD 870 billion. This is, in part, driven by laggard markets, such as Peru and Mexico, which are now catching up with the countries that registered exponential growth during the pandemic. These two countries alone are expected to grow by 35% and 33% in the next three years, respectively. 

Online sales rise – and cross-border ecommerce grows even more 

Meanwhile, the cross-border ecommerce volume in LATAM rises by 30% per year – yes, even faster than the overall online sales volume. Now coming up to USD 52.5 billion, the total cross-border volume in the region should reach USD 114.6 billion by 2026, when it will represent 13% of the online sales volume in the top six markets. 

Now, let’s take a look at the main verticals shaping Latin America’s ecommerce space. 


The vertical that encompasses online casinos, sports betting, lotteries, and online gambling is the fastest-growing industry in LATAM’s ecommerce market, rising at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 38% until 2026. Three of the top six markets are the biggest drivers behind this extraordinary growth: Brazil (CAGR of 49%), Mexico (CAGR of 40%), and Chile (CAGR of 40%). 

The key factor behind this rise is that this once stigmatised vertical is now seen as a legitimate, ever more popular form of entertainment. In turn, this pushes regulation to keep up with betting’s growth – with Colombia and Peru being the most mature markets in this sense and Brazil catching up quickly. 

Representing 11% of the total betting market, the cross-border volume is now at USD 2.3 billion, rising to USD 6 billion in 2026. 


In the 2010s, crypto appealed mostly to curious and adventurous investors, and now it is being embraced by traditional institutions and financial entities. With five of the top six markets ranking among the world’s top 35 cryptocurrency markets – Brazil in the 7th place, Argentina in the 13th, Colombia in the 15th, Mexico in the 28th, and Peru in the 35th –, Latin America should not miss from the strategic plans of crypto companies. 

The peculiar workings of the vertical – going through ‘bull market’ and ‘bear market’ years (in which crypto value is appreciating in the former and depreciating in the latter) – stop me from stating that it will steadily rise until 2026. In truth, we expect crypto to grow by 22% in 2024, but in the next two years it will probably experience decreases, since 2025 and 2026 are regarded as ‘bear market’ years. 

Digital goods 

Alongside crypto and betting, other verticals that are more established in Latin America will keep making waves in the global ecommerce scenario. Retail, for example, grows faster in LATAM than in other regions, with a CAGR of 21%, versus 15% in Africa and 11% in the US, and will remain the region’s largest online sales volume. 

Post-pandemic recovery, on the other hand, looks different for each vertical. If travel has been able to bounce back after its drastic fall in 2020, entertainment-based industries are now experiencing slower growth rates – even if still rising – than during the COVID-19 pandemic, when so many people turned to gaming and streaming, for example. Now, what we see is a highly competitive scenario in which customers demand different, innovative experiences and agile payment processes from merchants. 

We dive more into this – especially regarding the impact of payments in unlocking all these opportunities – in the full white paper, which you can download here for free. After all, data is key to accessing the flourishing Latin American market, since local-like strategies and a deep understanding of how each vertical works in the region are fundamental to succeed. 


About Renato Lahud 

As Business Director, Renato leads the Account Management team, working to strengthen and improve the relationship with our merchants. With over two decades of experience in developing and managing financial products, he previously worked at major companies such as Loja Integrada, PayPal, Metlife, Citi, and IBI. 



About PagSeguro 

PagSeguro is PagBank's international division and provides innovative payment solutions, automating payments, sales, and wire transfers to boost businesses anywhere, in a simple and secure way. An issuer, acquirer, and provider of digital accounts, PagBank offers complete solutions for online and in-person payments in Brazil and, through PagSeguro, in Brazil and 16 other Latin American countries, besides Portugal, Spain, Turkey, Greece, and Romania.

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Keywords: ecommerce, online payments, cryptocurrency, crypto, cross-border ecommerce
Categories: Payments & Commerce
Companies: PagSeguro
Countries: Latin America
This article is part of category

Payments & Commerce


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