Describes how widely e-Commerce is used, the primary sectors that sell through e-commerce, and how much product/service in each sector is sold through e-commerce versus brick-and-mortar retail. Includes what a company needs to know to take advantage of e-commerce in the local market and reputable, prominent B2B websites.
Last Published: 8/1/2017

eCommerce

Overview
eCommerce in Colombia is still low compared to other countries in the region. The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) B2C eCommerce Index 2016, which ranks levels of eCommerce based on internet use, secure servers, and credit card penetration, among other factors, ranks Colombia 72nd out of 137 countries, behind other Latin American countries like Uruguay, Chile, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Panama and Ecuador.

Current Market Trends
According to the Colombian Chamber of Electronic Commerce (CCCE), eCommerce grew at an annual rate of 64 percent in 2015 and represented four percent of Colombia’s economic output (GDP).

Table 1: Colombia eCommerce as a Percentage of Annual Gross Domestic Product (GDP), 2013-2015
YeareCommerce as a Percentage of Annual GDP
20132.18%
20142.63%
20154.08%
Source: Colombian Chamber of Electronic Commerce (CCCE)

Despite the slowdown in Colombia’s economy in 2016 and 2017, projections indicate that online retailing is expected to perform well this year and grow at an annual rate of 22 percent. The Colombian government is making massive investments in infrastructure in an effort to improve transportation services, enhance economic competitiveness, and lower the country’s logistics costs, which are among the highest in the world. More efficient highway networks will facilitate delivery services and enhance prospects for increased eCommerce activity.

Domestic eCommerce (B2C)
Despite a general mistrust of e-commerce in Colombia, the growth of internet connections and use of smartphones are allowing for an increase in online transactions. Colombians’ online purchases can be broken down as follows: Government (18 percent), Financial (17 percent), Communications and Technology (15 percent), Transport (12 percent), Other Services (12 percent), Commerce (nine percent), Education (six percent), Public Services and TV Subscriptions (four percent), Health and Beauty (two percent), Housing (two percent) and Enterprise Services (one percent).

eCommerce Resources
Colombian Chamber of Electronic Commerce (CCCE)
Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) Colombia

Cross-Border eCommerce
The United States and Colombia signed an e-commerce agreement emphasizing open and fair e-trade in 2010. At the same time, the development and institution of international standards for electronic signatures and authentication in Colombia is helping to develop a uniform definition of what constitutes a “digital signature” or a valid certificate across jurisdictions.
Colombia, Chile, and Brazil are Latin American countries that rank highly in consideration for cross-border business, given their high internet penetration rates and the size of their economies. Colombian consumers mostly buy from the U.S., China, Mexico, and Brazil.

B2B ecommerce
eCommerce DAY Bogotá
September 14, 2017
Bogotá, ColombiaeCommerce DAY is an initiative of the eCommerce Institute. It takes place in different countries of the region and aims to foster a space where global eCommerce companies can network and advance the digital economy.

eCommerce Services
Despite a general mistrust of e-commerce in Colombia, the growth of internet connections and use of smartphones are allowing for an increase in online transactions. Colombians’ online purchases can be broken down as follows: Government (18 percent), Financial (17 percent), Communications and Technology (15 percent), Transport (12 percent), Other Services (12 percent), Commerce (nine percent), Education (six percent), Public Services and TV Subscriptions (four percent), Health and Beauty (two percent), Housing (two percent) and Enterprise Services (one percent).

eCommerce Services Resources
Colombian Chamber of Electronic Commerce (CCCE)
Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) Colombia

eCommerce Intellectual Property Rights
The main statutory provisions for eCommerce are found in three laws: Law No. 527 of 1999 (the “eCommerce Law”), Decree No. 333 of 2014, and Decree No. 2364 of 2012. The eCommerce Law regulates information that is generated, transmitted, received, or stored through electronic, optical, or other similar means, such as electronic data interchange (EDI), the Internet, and email. The law also regulates other issues in connection with eCommerce.

In line with the precedent set by the original eCommerce Law, Articles 15 and 16 of Law No. 1676 from 2013 establish that documents or agreements that constitute guarantees upon mobile assets can be contained in data messages without losing validity or enforceability to the extent that there is evidence of mutual consent for the establishment of the guarantee on the assets. Similarly, Decree No. 805 of 2013 allows for merchants to keep their business and corporate books in data messages.
Decree No. 2364 of 2012 regulates all types of electronic signatures, whereas Decree No. 333 of 2014 specifically regulates digital signatures and certifying entities. The most significant contribution of these legal norms is to confirm the validity of digitally signed electronic documents, as long as they are verified by a certifying agency or a reliable and appropriate method to identify the signatory has been used.

On April 18th, 2016, the new electronic invoicing model adopted by Colombia officially began operating. This new model is defined by Decree 2242 of 2015, which seeks to expand the use of electronic invoices in Colombia, bringing with it the benefits expected by DIAN (Colombia’s National Tax and Customs Directorate) both for those who invoice electronically and for those who acquire goods and receive electronic documents, facilitating the conditions of issuance and interoperability among all participants.

Popular eCommerce Sites
Linio Colombia SAS, which exclusively deals in e-commerce, leads in internet retailing, selling the products of third-party merchants on sites such as Linio and Linio Fashion. The most prominent Colombian online commerce platforms include Mercado Libre, OLX, and Dafiti. The largest brick and mortar retailers that also offer online shopping include Exito and Falabella.

Online Payment
Colombians’ preferred method of payment continues to be credit card and bank account debit, according to CCCE. However, Cash on Delivery (COD) is a popular e-commerce trend in Colombia and the use of digital payment systems such as PayU is also common.

Mobile eCommerce
Smartphones are ubiquitous in Colombia and internet service is relatively affordable and fast. Wi-Fi internet connections are available at most coffee shops, hotels, shopping malls, and many retail outlets. These factors bode well for purchases made online and the future of eCommerce in the country. Many of Colombia’s major banks, such as Davivienda, are offering online payment apps for mobile phones that allow one-click payment linked to credit cards and bank accounts.

According to the “Mobile Commerce Study” presented by IAB Colombia and Mercado Libre, in Colombia approximately three out of 10 monthly purchases are made through mobile devices.

Internet users in Colombia prefer computers to make purchases by 94% while 49% use smartphones. Only one in four buyers who have a tablet uses it to make their purchases online. The recent trend in “Mobile Shopping” has seen strong growth in Colombia where smartphone penetration is higher than in many other countries in the region.

Digital Marketing
Access to the internet has shown a marked increase in recent years in Colombia and is changing the way companies market themselves. Digital marketing in Colombia has exploded and changed the traditional marketing mix. The changes have been fast and today to reach upmarket and professional audiences the internet is a core part of the strategy. Tools like Google AdWords or social networks such as Facebook Ads are used in Colombia to launch simultaneous campaigns at affordable cost, reaching the people who meet the audience profile to be targeted.

Major Buying Holidays
The development of channels is still in an early phase, and the consolidation of specific events such as Cyberlunes (Cyber Monday) or Hot Sale - where various online stores offer more than 600 products and services during 48 hours at discounted prices- will boost the growth trend.

Social Media
In Colombia, social media is used to promote eCommerce websites and is a powerful tool of communication that some companies use to reach customers and to position brands. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube are the most popular.

Prepared by our U.S. Embassies abroad. With its network of 108 offices across the United States and in more than 75 countries, the U.S. Commercial Service of the U.S. Department of Commerce utilizes its global presence and international marketing expertise to help U.S. companies sell their products and services worldwide. Locate the U.S. Commercial Service trade specialist in the U.S. nearest you by visiting http://export.gov/usoffices.



Colombia eCommerce Industry Trade Development and Promotion eCommerce