E-commerce sales have seen significant growth in 2021 as a result of the pandemic. Online sales are well developed in Costa Rica in regional terms, but in global terms remains immature.
The pandemic has forced leading retailers to act quickly and rather than develop proprietary websites, many leading players have used marketplaces and third party delivery companies to accelerate their e-commerce strategies. In April 2020, for example, Mango, Gap, Old Navy, Women’s Secret, Adolfo Dominguez, Max Mara, Pedro del Hierro, Cortefiel, Banana Republic, Springfield and Crate and Barrel all began to offer online shopping through the online portal shop lineuprewards.
Historically, leading big box stores like Prismar de Costa Rica SA’s PriceSmart and Wal-Mart Centroamérica SA’s Walmart have struggled to keep down average transaction times in-store, thanks to their sales model, which focuses on large average purchases. Consumers have therefore viewed these outlets as an option for monthly shopping only.
The pandemic accelerated growth in e-commerce, and consumer adoption of online shopping is set to continue growing over the forecast period. The country is well positioned in regional terms for this – although household penetration of payment cards is low, it is still better than neighbouring countries, meaning that the e-commerce can become a permanent habit for consumers in Costa Rica.
E-commerce is set for solid growth over the forecast period, helped by rising internet and smart phone penetration rates. Currently, sales are dominated by foreign e-commerce brand operators, with many domestic retailers either unwilling or unable to enter the channel, despite the clear opportunities and untapped growth potential revealed by the pandemic.
E-commerce has opened up Costa Rica to international marketplaces, and there is strong demand for cross-border e-commerce form wealthier middle class consumers. Retailers like JetBox, VIP and Casilleros have seen an influx of new consumers during the pandemic as result of limited travel.
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Sales of consumer goods to the general public via the Internet. Please note that this includes sales through mobile phones and tablets (i.e. m-commerce). E-commerce includes sales generated through pure e-commerce websites and through sites operated by store-based retailers. Sales data is attributed to the country where the consumer is based, rather than where the retailer is based. The definition of e-commerce is agnostic as to where actual payment takes place; if an order is initiated online, it is considered to be an e-commerce transaction, even if the order is ultimately paid for in-store (or elsewhere). As a result, all ‘click-and-collect’ and ‘collect-at-store’ transactions are counted as e-commerce sales. E-commerce excludes sales of: (a) Consumer-to-consumer (C2C) and business-to-business (B2B) sales, although please note that sales between businesses and consumers (i.e. B2C sales) on sites such as eBay are included; (b) Sales of motor vehicles, motorcycles and vehicle parts; (c) Tickets for events (sports, music concerts, etc.) and travel; (d) Sales of travel and holiday packages; (e) Revenue generated by online gambling sites; (f) Returned products/unpaid invoices; and (h) Internet sales from direct selling companies, as these are tracked in Direct Selling market size/shares. Example e-commerce brands include Amazon.com, Zappos.com, Apple.com, iTunes, Rakuten, Tesco.com, Dell.com, Coles Online, etc. 3rd Party Merchant sales through online marketplaces, such as Amazon.com, eBay.com and Walmart.com, are included and split out in shares. 3rd party merchants are the summation of sales that come from businesses that are present on an online marketplace (e.g. Amazon, Alibaba). Marketplaces are websites that allow multiple merchants to sell on the marketplace website, with the marketplace operator processing the transactions, but many marketplaces provide offer other services as to help with shipping, handling, payment, and product storage. The marketplace is not the merchant of record legally, but for the sake of shares, sales from 3rd part merchants are attributed to the marketplace brand operator.See All of Our Definitions
This report originates from Passport, our E-Commerce (Goods) research and analysis database.
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