The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) reported that the 2020 edition of the e-commerce index ranked Mexico 93rd out of 152 countries. This study aims to show the facilities that exist in each country for its consumers to make online purchases. The data used to build the index corresponds to the year 2019. According to the report, 70 percent of the Mexican population used the Internet, at least once, during 2019. The weakest point for e-commerce in Mexico is financial inclusion, as the country was rated with 37 points out of 100 in the item that measures the percentage of the Mexican population that has access to a bank account.

Regarding the reliability of postal delivery services and logistics infrastructure, Mexico was rated with a score of 34 points, while the item that considered access to secure internet servers reported 46 points. Thus, Mexico maintained the same position as the 2019 ranking (which takes into account 2018 figures). Regarding 2020, the United Nations (UN) agency noted that the COVID-19 pandemic boosted online shopping in Latin American countries, including Mexico. Available evidence from the region reflected that COVID-19 drove online shopping due to lock-in restrictions and the desire to avoid contact and receive goods at home.

"The number of online shoppers has increased significantly with increased demand for food delivery and healthcare purchases, but a marked decrease in travel services," the report reads. The socio-economic profile of consumers shopping online also changed, with lower-income households showing greater growth during the pandemic. In Mexico, 37 percent of the people who bought a product online during the pandemic did so for the first time, "and 90 percent of them indicated that they will continue shopping online in the future," said UNCTAD. Figures from the MercadoLibre portal confirmed the dramatic growth of e-commerce by COVID-19, as its sales increased by more than 100 percent during the second quarter of 2020.

Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Chile, and Colombia account for more than 90 percent of online shoppers in the Latin American region, as they generated estimated sales of $71 billion in 2019. The first place in the global ranking was occupied by Switzerland, followed by the Netherlands, Denmark, Singapore, United Kingdom, Germany, Finland, Ireland, Norway, Hong Kong, New Zealand, and the United States.

Pandemic drives growth

The growth of e-commerce in Mexico, as well as in many parts of the world, was undeniable in the last year. Since the arrival of the coronavirus, the sales numbers have not stopped and have done nothing but grow. This exponential increase in e-commerce was analyzed by the Mexican Association of Online Sales, as it does annually, in its Online Sales Study 2021, from which they share interesting data on its progress, which although it has been making great strides for a while, of course, the confinement meant the biggest push in the adoption by Mexicans to buy things online.

The Mexican Association of Online Sales highlights at the beginning of its research an estimate of the value of e-commerce in Mexico in 2020 which, according to its calculations, had a growth of 81% compared to 2019. This is based on total sales figures that reached $316 billion pesos (approximately $15.349 billion dollars), equivalent to 9% of total retail. A figure that is very close to the predictions made by the financial intelligence firm, Fitch Solutions that Mexico will exceed 18 billion dollars in e-commerce sales by 2022, so if this year continues with an upward trend could be fulfilled. In the months of confinement in the need to purchase goods, 56% of people reported having purchased online and also 16% of Mexicans began to buy online for the first time.

Also, another fact that stands out is that this year the frequency of purchase grew; so 50% buy products every week, and 42% purchase services at the same pace. Apart from the increased use of the online sales channel, the study highlights that, in some cases, consumers have gradually returned to their routines and isolation is lower than at the beginning of the pandemic, but most of them keep their precautions to go out on the street, which favors digital commerce. According to the Mexican Association of Online Sales, the Mexican consumer who uses the digital channel continues to recognize the benefits of this medium beyond the price they can find. Among the possibilities offered by online shopping combined with the conditions we live in as a result of the pandemic, they found 5 main reasons that make people want to continue shopping this way, contributing to the growth of eCommerce in Mexico.

Among these reasons are, firstly, finding products not available in physical stores (60%); followed by receiving their purchases at home (60%); saving time (57%); avoiding crowds in physical stores (55%), and finally that they can compare prices and varieties (55%). As for the categories of products and services in which digital consumers showed greater interest in January 2021, highlights include food delivery (44%), technology (38%), supermarket (29%), medicines (26%), subscription entertainment services (24%), home care products (23%), food in general (22%), fashion (22%), beauty and personal care (17%).