Venezuela flag Venezuela: Buying and Selling

E-commerce in Venezuela


Internet access
By the end of 2017, Venezuela had a population of 32.38 million people, out of which 17.18 million were Internet users, placing the penetration rate at 53.1%. According to America Retail, use of mobile devices in 2017 grew 13% compared to 2016. IPYS Venezuela determined Venezuelans' navigation of the Internet at an average 1.61 Mbps, the slowest speed in Latin America. Overall connectivity problems and low connection speeds are common in Venezuela. There are frequent internet service failures in the country, and poor quality connections hinder reliable Internet access. Additionally, different parts of the country suffer constant service breakdowns that tend to last for several hours. Digital conditions are further aggravated by the Government's attempts to censor dissenting opinions on the Internet, particularly blocking access to Tor, an encrypted network that allows users to browse the web anonymously. As of 2017, Internet in Venezuela is considered "Not Free", due to the growing access obstacles, arbitrary censorship, and deteriorating user rights, which have intensified with the country’s deepening unrest. Casetel warns that the sector may collapse due to the lack of investment to renew the technological infrastructure, the lack of access to foreign currency and user cancellation. As of July 2018, the most popular browser in the country by market share was Chrome (78.3%), followed by Firefox (8.33%), Opera (3.6%), Safari (3.24%), Android (2.82%) and Internet Explorer (1.15%). As for search engines, Google (94.98%) dominated the market, followed by Yahoo (3.38%) and Bing (1.48%).
E-commerce market
While increased Internet penetration would suggest expected e-commerce growth, the economic crisis and government restrictions on foreign exchange for online purchases have had a negative impact. According to Euromonitor International, approximately 60% of the retail stores that existed in 2012 were closed in 2017. Still, even though the country faces high inflation rates and lagging salaries, which hurt the purchasing power of the majority of Venezuelans, people still shop online. According to America Retail, 1.77 million Internet users made an online purchase in Venezuela in 2017, an 8% increase compared to 2016. Many Venezuelans increasingly rely on credit cards as a way of dealing with rapid inflation, making it a popular payment method among online shoppers. The most popular product category among Venezuelans is consumer appliances and electronics. The lack of product availability makes it difficult to generate online grocery sales, and in general there is a notable lack of companies operating in internet retailing. Locatel, FarmaPlus, and Farmatodo developed platforms to track medicines given their scarcity in Venezuela. A significant number of Venezuelans don't have bank accounts, and the country's Internet infrastructure is poor, which are two big barriers for e-commerce growth. Some of the most popular e-stores in Venezuela include Mercado Libre, Amazon, and OLX.

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Latest Update: May 2024