Mobile e-commerce has enjoyed exceptional growth in 2021, albeit from a low base. Prior to the pandemic, structural problems meant that only a limited number of websites offered effective mobile phone sales; the fact that many consumers have limited access to formal banking and digital payment made the development of mobile e-commerce a low priority for many retailers.
Most social media browsing in Costa Rica is conducted through phones, and the pandemic saw more people conducting their social lives through these sites as a result of lockdown. As a result, 2020 and 2021 saw a surge in ads from all types of retailers across social media and in particular Facebook, Instagram and Tik Tok), as they sought to reach consumers who were no longer visiting stores.
Electronic payment use is seeing rising penetration in Costa Rica, but there are still difficulties in expanding the base of consumers with access to them. The Ley de Usura law, passed in 2020, has put a limit on interest rates that can be charged by financial institutions; this is clearly a good thing, as it protects lower income households from the frequently very rates charged by credit companies.
Digital goods such as downloadable music, apps and games are expected to continue seeing growth over the forecast period. Several consumers made purchases in this way through their phones for the first time during the pandemic, and they are perceived as a gateway for further use over the forecast period.
Costa Rica has the most active mobile phone accounts in the world, with a penetration of 169%. Although not all consumers have smartphones that allow for online shopping, smartphone use is growing in the country and as a result, mobile shopping is expected to grow.
Although mobile e-commerce has increased rapidly in 2021, distrust is still widely present among consumer cohorts who prefer not to enter their credit card data on their phone. While consumers who pay successfully once through their mobile are thought to diminish this, making this jump is difficult for many.
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Mobile Internet Retailing includes sales through mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. Please note that these sales are also included in the Internet Retailing Channel. Mobile Internet Retailing is also known as m-commerce.See All of Our Definitions
This report originates from Passport, our Mobile E-Commerce (Goods) research and analysis database.
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