While there are still many developments to be made and steps to be taken, Bolivia has made significant strides in the realm of eCommerce. As shopping online becomes more efficient and more people in Bolivia gain access and the ability to purchase products and services using the Internet, eCommerce is steadily rising in Bolivia.
With a population of over 11 million and a thriving economy, Bolivia has the chance to become a major eCommerce player in the future. As the challenges facing eCommerce growth are addressed, and the developments in eCommerce continue to increase, we can expect a significant increase from the Bolivian eCommerce market in the next few years.
Here are some ways that eCommerce in Bolivia has grown in recent years:
eCommerce Growth in Bolivia
While just over 44% of the Bolivian population uses the internet, this is a significant increase from 39% one year prior or 10.5% a decade ago. As Internet access and use increases in Bolivia, so does the amount of e-Commerce.
As Bolivian consumers become more familiar with the Internet, and a rising popularity of mobile devices and computers, Bolivians are finding it easier to search for products and services online. In recent years, trust in the online marketplace has increased, and more people in Bolivia are willing to purchase items online.
Moreover, the lack of stock in local stores, better prices, and delivery speed are pushing Bolivian consumers to look towards eCommerce in favor of traditional businesses. These consumers are specifically turning to online markets for electronics, streaming services, books, movies, and other forms of entertainment. 63% of Bolivian eCommerce consumers purchase electronics online, and 53% use Internet platforms to pay for their music, movie, and game streaming services.
Shopping and paying for products online has also become easier, which has helped boost eCommerce in Bolivia. Consumers can link debit cards to PayPal, easing the difficulty make purchases online in Bolivia. As these changes become more mainstream, eCommerce will continue to increase in Bolivia.
Obstacles that Hinder eCommerce Growth in Bolivia
While the consumers’ ability to buy online and their interest in making purchases online is steadily growing, there are many challenges and obstacles that stand in the way of eCommerce growth.
Banking is a key indicator of eCommerce growth, and only 42% of the Bolivian population has a bank account. Of that small percentage of people with a bank account, roughly 6% have a credit card. Although the potential for eCommerce growth is high, the lack of people with a bank account or credit card to use for online purchases is a significant roadblock.
If a business goes through all the proper channels, shipping a product to Bolivia can be costly. A product purchased on Amazon and shipped to Bolivia can have a price increase of as much as 56-86% because of hefty tariffs, taxes, and customs procedures. This can make purchasing items online less cost-effective for buyers in Bolivia.
In addition to the cost in shipping, there can be challenges finding places where products can be picked up or sent out for delivery in Bolivia.
Because Internet use is so low, there is a lack of education surrounding eCommerce in Bolivia. Many people simply do not know how to buy items online, and they do not receive information that can help them learn about the safety of purchasing on the Internet, contributing to a general lack of trust.
This lack of eCommerce education also means that some eCommerce retailers do not know the best ways to market and advertise to their target consumers. When business owners are not aware of multi-channel marketing, or when there is a lack of channels on which to market, there is missed potential for growth.
Developments in eCommerce in Bolivia
Although there are many challenges hindering eCommerce growth in Bolivia, there are several developments that will help address these issues and help increase eCommerce in Bolivia. As the ability to make online purchases continues to increase, consumers in Bolivia will boost eCommerce in this country.
Laws like The Bolivian Telecommunications Law of 2011 have helped increase the amount of Internet users in Bolivia. The Agency for the Development of the Information Society has also played a major role in promoting e-learning and eCommerce in Bolivia.
Platforms like TuMercadazo have helped bridge the gap between American retailers and Bolivian buyers by allowing consumers to buy products no matter where in Bolivia they are located, shop through multiple channels, and pay using several different means of payment including cash. With the development of eCommerce platforms like this one, people in Bolivia are able to make secure purchases online even if they do not have a debit card.
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