May 15, 2014, 12:57 PM

eBay enters Latin America

Consumers in Latin America can access the online marketplace’s entire inventory in their own languages and currencies.

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EBay Inc. continues its expansion to emerging markets and launches localized sites in Latin America. Consumers in 18 countries throughout the region will now be able to shop eBay’s online and mobile marketplaces in Spanish and Portuguese using local currencies, eBay announced today.

The company also has launched a Portuguese version of its main mobile app; eBay already has a mobile app in Spanish. EBay’s mobile app now comes in seven languages, including Russian. In September 2013, eBay launched a Portuguese-language fashion mobile app called eBay Moda, but this new site and mobile app enable consumers to access eBay’s entire inventory.

More than 2 million Latin American consumers had already purchased items off in English and using U.S. dollars, the company says. “Latin America is one of the fastest-growing commerce markets, and we are innovating the eBay experience for our customers there, delivering more relevant, engaging experiences—in their local language and currency—to better enable them to shop the world,” says Wendy Jones, vice president of global expansion and cross border trade for eBay.

The move will put eBay in direct competition with Latin America’s largest marketplace, MercadoLibre, which accounted for 15% of total e-commerce sales in Latin America in 2012, according to the Internet Retailer 2013 Latin America 400.

EBay owns nearly 20% of that company. And it has no plans to sell that stake, an eBay spokesperson says, citing the large retail opportunity in the region. “We believe eBay’s nearly unmatched selection of inventory from around the world—at great prices—can bring shoppers in Latin America compelling choice, especially by enabling consumers to shop online and on mobile.” MercadoLibre has a large mobile presence, and consumers downloaded its mobile app more than 10 million times as of the end of March 2014.

The growth of the e-commerce market in Latin America is outpacing the growth in the United States, according to the Latin America 400. In 2012, web sales in Latin America grew 19% year over year compared with 16% in the U.S. Entering Latin America is part of eBay’s plan to expand to emerging markets. In April 2013, eBay launched a Russian-language site, on the heels of launching a Russian-language fashion mobile app in 2012.  

EBay now offers 25 localized sites in countries like Germany, the United Kingdom and Brazil. Of those, 19 are in countries in emerging markets, including the 18 in Latin America.

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