16th March 2014

Selling to the Brazilian market speakers is a massive, growing and lucrative global ecommerce market.

There are over 240m Portuguese speakers  around the world including 201m in Brazil, 2.25m in Mozambique , 18m in Angola and 10m in Portugal.

It is clear that the Portuguese language is not isolated to Portugal which only accounts for 41% of the Portuguese speaking population worldwide. Localising to Portuguese is an excellent path to driving global ecommerce: Portuguese is an official language in 11 countries and spoken on 4 continents7 and ranks at number 6 on the list of the world’s ten most spoken languages.

Projections estimate the Portuguese speaking population has the most potential growth as an international language in southern Africa and South America. According to UNESCO, the population will increase to 335 million people with more than 10% of these speakers being from Africa.

Brazil’s ecommerce market place is expected to be the 4th largest e-commerce market by 201610 and accounts for more than 50% of the ecommerce sales in Latin America.

Brazil’s internet penetration equates to 107.7 million users which represents more than 50% of the population. More importantly, for ecommerce, there are currently 40 million buyers online13 and will increase to 18.0 million in 2018.

Key Trends

Key trends in penetrating Brazil include:

Brazilians prefer finding products and brands online – 80% of Brazilians surveyed by Ipsos use the internet to look for new brands and products.

Upcoming events will upgrade Brazil’s transportation infrastructure – The 2014 World Cup alongside the 2016 Olympics will mean that Brazil needs an aviation and ground transportation expansion because of tourists. This is likely to affect Brazil’s ecommerce due to the simplification of shipping goods and infrastructure upgrades.

The younger generation make up the majority of consumers with the average age of population being 30 in Brazil.Demographics show that 79% of young people with high income living in large cities buy online.

Fashion and accessory shopping online is big in Brazil – The fashion and accessory industry in Brazil is growing, and equates for over 12% of online retail sales. Additionally, this industry attracts first time buyers due to lower prices online.

Smartphone users doubled from 9% in 2011 to 18% in 2012 and the country is the number one app developer in Latin America thanks to the nationwide entrepreneurship boom.

Shift in customer care happening in Brazil –While telephone customer care still remains the most popular type of customer care in Brazil, customer care via e-mail, on-site (such as live chat), and social networks continues to rise – especially with consumers under the age of forty.

Opportunities and Challenges

Domain name. The .br country-code top-level domain name (ccTLD) is an extension that represents Brazil. This is a good investment for those who want to reach the growing number of internet users.

In Brazil, given the regional recognition and web presence, you will need a local contact for registration and this will need to be renewed yearly.

Web Design – Brazilian shoppers care about product quality, customer service, ease and security and this should be emphasised. Brazilian women controlled 66% of Brazilian family consumption in 2010, so it’s ideal to target a female audience. When optimising your site, localise links and content to Brazilian Portuguese.

Marketing Digital adverts are also a good idea, according to eMarketer digital ad spending in Brazil will surpass $4 billion by 201612 and 47% say that online ads are very influential in their purchase decisions.

Payment Types – Brazil has a fragmented payment culture with only a small penetration of credit and debit cards. Brazil ranked as one of the countries reporting the highest percentage of consumers experiencing card fraud as of Q3 2012, according to ACI Worldwide. Instalment payments are very common in Brazil which allows consumers to purchase even simple household products online and pay for them over time. For those who don’t have credit cards or bank accounts, Boleto Bancáriois is the leading payment method. It is a small slip that customers can print out and pay at a bank.


Brazil’s has a high mobile phone penetration. Mobile devices are the second most used way in Brazil to go online, and 79% of consumers in Brazil use their mobile phones in at least part of the purchasing process.

Mobile payments represent a significant opportunity in Brazil, as mobile phone penetration is much higher than credit card use.

Crystal ball

The proliferation of internet users and need to spend means that the Brazilian market will continue to grow, and this will be aided by the fact that mobile payments are expected to become another factor in the continued growth of E-Commerce in Brazil.

Businesses in Brazil are combining different methods of purchasing to employ tactics like click-and-collect to make it easier for the consumer to get what they want.

Portuguese remains a globally powerful language which will drive ecommerce and allow retailers to tap into locations of great opportunity, one being those locations being the African continent.