E-commerce: online progress and billionaire

Market indicators point to a robust rise of e-commerce in retail sales. While the sector as a whole grew 6.7% in the first half of the year, according to the accounts of the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE), internet sales by retailers increased by 31% in the same period, totalling R$ 53.4 billion, according to the Webshoppers survey released in August this year by E-bit/Nielsen. If the purchases in virtual stores overseas, which totalled R$9.6 billion, are computed, the total will reach R$63 billion.

In the first half of 2021, 6.2 million consumers placed orders for the first time online. There were 100 million orders placed, an expansion of 7% compared to the same period in 2020, with an average ticket 22% higher, of R$ 534. In 2020, E-bit/Nielsen calculated at 79.7 million digital consumers in Brazil, who together made purchases in the country of R$ 87.4 billion, a total 41% higher than that registered in 2019.

On international sites, orders totalled R$ 22.7 billion, a growth of 76%. "The covid-19 pandemic accelerated a process of experimentation in e-commerce that, until then, had been taking place gradually", says Marcelo Osanai, e-commerce leader at E-bit/Nielsen. He believes that, in the post-pandemic period, there may even be a slowdown in the pace of expansion of the electronic business, but not enough to reverse the constant growth trend of e-commerce. "People got used to the convenience of digital retail and now make recurrent purchases, with higher prices and in product categories that were not usual, such as food and pet shop items," he says.

Leaders of retail chains share the perception of the evolution of the digital market. "This is a one-way street. E-commerce will double in size by 2025", says Roberto Fulcherberguer, president of Via (new brand of Via Varejo, controller of the Casas Bahia and Ponto Frio brands). Fernando Yunes, vice president of Mercado Livre, follows the same line: "We expect that e-commerce, which today represents around 10% of total retail sales, will reach something like 20% in five years" says. A study by the Getulio Vargas Foundation with 745 companies found that online sales, on average, reached this mark in June due to the pandemic.