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Country Profile: The Guide to Ecommerce
in Mexico

Everything you need to know about the market, buying habits, and fraud to launch an ecommerce business in Mexico.

If there’s one thing that
transcends nationality,economic
status, and language
in the 2020s,
it’s ecommerce.

The pandemic significantly accelerated the pace of ecommerce sales, and consumers in every region of the world now recognize the convenience of shopping online. Ecommerce and mobile commerce have become the norm.

For businesses in North America, the rapid worldwide growth of ecommerce brings the opportunity to expand into markets where consumers are eager to do business online. Among them, few markets hold more promise than Mexico.

 

 

 

Ecommerce in Mexico: A Market Overview

Latin America has emerged as a booming market for ecommerce, thanks to huge growth in internet penetration (74.6%) over the last few years. Americas Market Intelligence (AMI) is tracking ecommerce sales in the region to reach US$611 billion by 2024, equaling an increase of 31%.

Mexico is expected to play a big role in that expansion.

With a population of 130.2 million and a GDP of US$1.07 trillion, Mexico is the second-largest economy in Latin America after Brazil. Ecommerce in Mexico is anticipated to grow by 24% and reach sales of US$114.1 billion by 2025.

What’s making Mexico such an appealing location for ecommerce? A few factors.

Mexicans are mobile and social

Mobile penetration in Mexico has been high for many years, but consumers didn’t quite trust their devices to make transactions.

That’s changed dramatically. Today’s online consumer in Mexico defaults to mobile purchasing; they rely on social media channels and social networks to make purchasing decisions. And even when consumers plan to shop in-store, they spend considerable time online searching for the best products and deals.

Related reading: Ecommerce Market Watch: Peru

Cross-border ecommerce in and out of Mexico is increasing

Before the pandemic, cross-border ecommerce purchases were predominantly made by Mexican consumers buying products in other countries — primarily the United States.

However, as Mexico has grown as an ecommerce presence, more international consumers are buying from Latin American sites, including those in Mexico. The majority of cross-border ecommerce is still focused on countries outside the region, but that trend is slowly changing.

Mexican consumers are becoming more sophisticated

Mexican consumers are also becoming increasingly savvy with their purchases, which means ecommerce businesses need to offer superior CX and be wary of falling into the false declines trap that currently plagues the entire LATAM region.

Let’s take a look at what Mexican consumers are buying online.

Types of Online Markets in Mexico

As was seen in many other regions, Mexican consumers’ shopping habits underwent big changes during the pandemic.

In our original research report, “State of Consumer Attitudes on Ecommerce, Fraud & CX 2021,” we learned that 74% of consumers in Mexico increased the frequency of their online shopping and 49% increased the average amount they spent online.

Top categories

Mexican ecommerce customers say they’re most likely to shop online in the following categories:

  • Clothing/Fashion/Accessories (69%)

  • Home Goods (61%)

  • Consumer Electronics (60%)

  • Beauty Supplies (45%)

  • Sporting Goods (42%)

  • Books (37%)

  • Pet Supplies (35%)

  • Luxury Goods (17%)

These categories are largely consistent across generations, except in the realm of clothing. If including only GenX and under, clothing jumps to 77%, with fewer baby boomers trusting ecommerce for their clothing needs.

Break those generations down by gender, and the data gets more interesting.

Women under 55 are more likely to purchase clothing, beauty supplies and home goods.

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Men under 55 are more likely to purchase consumer electronics, clothing and home goods.

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In AMVO’s (Asociación Mexicana de Venta Online/Mexican Association of Online Sales) recently published Hot Sale 2021 report, food delivery has become a big seller online in Mexico as well.

Top ecommerce sites

The top ecommerce sites in Mexico are (based on estimated monthly traffic):

  • Mercado Libre Mexico, a general online marketplace for the Latin America region.

  • Amazon Mexico, the ecommerce giant’s Mexican presence.

  • Coppel, the ecommerce operation of a Mexican department store chain.

  • Walmart Mexico, the American retailer’s Mexican site.

  • Liverpool, a retail company that operates a chain of department stores in Mexico.

Mexican Consumer Attitudes & Behaviors

Mexican consumers have become more like their northward neighbors. PayPal reports that 70% of Mexican consumers make online purchases or payments at least once a month, and 10% shop online every day.

In addition to being avid ecommerce shoppers, Mexican consumers share particular attitudes about their online shopping — attitudes ecommerce businesses will need to be aware of.

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Mobile commerce adoption is high

In 2021, 72% of ecommerce purchases in Mexico were made with a mobile device, compared to 28% made with a desktop. When we look at the devices Mexican consumers prefer to use, the numbers skew strongly toward smartphones and laptops:

  • 98% of Mexican online shoppers use smartphones

  • 70% of Mexican online shoppers use laptops

  • 37% of Mexican online shoppers use desktops

  • 35% of Mexican online shoppers use tablets

Mexicans are big social media consumers

Social media is widely used in Mexico, so much so that social commerce is expected to account for 40% of all ecommerce sales in Mexico by 2025. This creates opportunities for social advertising and ecommerce businesses.

Here’s a breakdown of the social media channels Mexicans use most often and the ad reach opportunity for each:

  • undefined-Sep-26-2022-02-54-45-32-PM93% of Mexican internet users use WhatsApp

  • undefined-Sep-26-2022-02-55-05-62-PMFacebook accounts for 93.4% of users, with an ad reach of 68.5% of the country’s total population.

  • undefined-Sep-26-2022-02-55-30-21-PMFacebook Messenger users make up 80.5% of users, and the platform has an ad reach of 47.2% of the country’s total population.

  • undefined-Sep-26-2022-02-55-42-16-PMInstagram users account for 79.1% of users, and its ads reach 28.9% of the country’s total population.

  • undefined-Sep-26-2022-02-55-54-08-PMTikTok is also popular in Mexico, with 70.4% of users and an ad reach of 47.5%.

  • undefined-Sep-26-2022-02-56-11-37-PMTwitter users make up 18% of users, and the platform has an ad reach of 10.6% of the country’s total population.

 

Payment methods in Mexico run the gamut

Credit and debit cards are the top payment methods used by consumers in Mexico when they shop online. Digital wallets such as PayPal come in second, and cash-based payment methods such as Oxxo are also popular.

The FIS Global Payment Report ranks the most common payment methods for Mexican ecommerce shopping in 2021 as:

  1. Credit card (35%)

  2. E-wallet (27%)

  3. Debit card (19%)

  4. Bank transfer (8%)

  5. Postpaid (6%)

  6. Cash on delivery (3%)

  7. Other (1%)


This marks a significant shift from just a few years ago, when Mexicans considered cash-on-delivery to be the safest type of payment and most popular. It’s a testament to how quickly the Mexican ecommerce market has caught up with the United States and Canada.

Influences on purchasing behavior

Mexicans are not impulsive in their purchasing. More than 97% of Mexican consumers use the internet to make purchase decisions, often taking advantage of the trend toward webrooming, a common practice that involves researching online and then buying the product at a brick-and-mortar store.

(The opposite practice, showrooming, involves shoppers looking at products in-store before buying online. And yes, Mexican consumers do plenty of that as well.)

Of particular interest is the fact that only 20% of online consumers in Mexico look at only one site to research. What that means for ecommerce businesses is their web presence is critical and their CX has to stand above the rest.

Ecommerce Fraud in Mexico

As the Mexican ecommerce market blossoms, it’s drawing the attention of internet fraudsters around the world.

Our original research revealed that 80% of Mexican consumers have been victims of online fraud, and the same percentage of consumers are very careful about checking the legitimacy of ecommerce websites to avoid fraud.

This isn’t surprising, given that ecommerce fraud has skyrocketed in Mexico – account takeover (ATO) fraud increased 239% in 2021.

As a result, chargeback rates are high, which puts many businesses at risk of paying high penalties and even being dropped by credit card companies.

Faced with alarming fraud and chargeback rates, many Mexican ecommerce businesses respond like their regional neighbors do and tighten the approval criteria used to detect fraud. But low approval rates in Mexico may mask the level of fraud that occurs.

The cost of false declines

Strict approval criteria may indeed prevent fraud, but it also blocks legitimate transactions. A fraud solution is critical for doing ecommerce in Mexico. But it’s just as crucial not to be overzealous about preventing fraud.

False declines happen when a legitimate transaction is mistaken for fraud and denied. Across Latin America, the false decline rate is holding at about 50%.

When you consider that the cost per $1 in false declines is a whopping $13 and that the vast majority of declined transactions are valid customers trying to give you their money, that high of a false decline rate can be a recipe for business disaster.

Again, our 2021 Consumer Attitudes study shed some concerning light on the impact of false declines. When asked if they would shop with an online business again after being falsely declined, 28% of Mexican consumers said no. Even worse, 32% said they would complain on social media.

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To protect against fraud in Mexico, a fraud solution must reliably stop increasingly sophisticated fraudsters while providing a low-friction, frustration-free shopping experience to genuine customers.

How to Prevent Fraud When Selling Into Mexico

Given the high rate of online payment fraud in Mexico and the high level of concern Mexican consumers have about fraud, businesses entering the Mexican ecommerce market need to have a fraud prevention and protection strategy.

What fraud analysts look for in Mexico

Fraud analysts who specialize in the Mexican market understand the behavior of legitimate Mexican buyers, as well as the tricks and techniques of fraudsters, and are trained to differentiate between the two.

Fraud analysts in Mexico watch for:

  • The lack of a second last name. (It’s customary in Mexico to have two surnames.)

  • The use of a very common last name, such as Hernández, González or García.

  • Recently created email addresses that share composition traits with known-fraudulent addresses.

  • Frequent purchase of high-risk products.

  • Fast purchase speed, with changing items and amounts.

  • Delivery addresses located in high-risk areas or areas that don’t exist.

  • Lack of purchase history.

  • Data changing from one order to another.

  • IP addresses that are located in different states from the billing and delivery addresses.

Fraud filters

Fraud filters are usually built into your ecommerce platform and designed to identify potentially fraudulent orders, so they aren’t processed. They include:

  • Velocity filters that limit how many sales can be submitted to your website during a given time period. This prevents fraudsters with lists of stolen credit card numbers from testing all of them by flooding your site with orders.

  • Address verification service (AVS) is a filter that declines or flags transactions when the billing and shipping addresses don’t match. These are intended to keep credit card thieves from having merchandise delivered to another address.

  • Time-of-purchase filters are used to flag or block transactions during a specific timeframe – usually when fraudulent transactions are more likely to occur, such as holidays and special sales.

  • Card verification value (CVV) filters look for errors in the CVV number being submitted.

  • Purchase amount filters flag high-dollar transactions that fall outside a typical transaction amount.

  • IP address mismatches can flag transactions where the customer’s IP address and shipping address don’t match, which is a potential fraud indicator.

Account Takeover Fraud: All That Ecommerce Merchants Must Know

Automated solutions

Automated solutions process all transactions through systems that either approve or decline transactions based on preset parameters and filters.

The systems leverage machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) that use mathematical algorithms and data to identify fraud trends and patterns. Because no humans are involved in this form of fraud detection, machine learning is scalable and consistent. Every transaction receives the same level of scrutiny.

However, automated solutions and fraud filters can put businesses at risk of false declines: Anything that looks suspicious is typically assumed to be fraudulent and automatically declined.

Secondary fraud review

Secondary fraud review involves a team of individuals who review each transaction (or a selection of transactions) to detect fraud.

This approach has powerful benefits: Expertly trained humans are generally better at understanding context than automated fraud filters because fraud experts can look at each situation individually to assess the fraud risk, instead of blindly adhering to preset rules. And they can dig quite deep while investigating — for example, by performing reverse lookup searches on addresses and phone numbers, calling a bank to verify records, and even calling the customer to ask authentication questions.

The problem? Secondary reviews take time. Customers may have to wait longer to have their orders approved.

Additionally, secondary review is only as good as the reviewer. A less experienced analyst may not catch fraud, regardless of how much time they spend reviewing.

An Ecommerce Fraud Prevention Solution for Mexico

At ClearSale, we combine all the options available for fraud protection into a fraud managed solution that offers ecommerce businesses a way to protect themselves from fraud without risking turning away good customers.

A managed services solution does this by blending a fraud protection strategy, chargeback management strategies, and a team of trained fraud analysts. The solution can be used in place of an internal fraud team or to augment an in-house team, especially during times of increased sales volumes or periods of rapid growth.

Here’s how it works:

Typically, as an order comes in, it’s screened in real time using automated technology that may include geolocation, email validation, fraud filters, machine learning and fraud score.

However, even if the order looks like it might be fraudulent, the order is not automatically declined.

Instead, any order that fails to pass the initial screening is sent to a secondary review team for analysis. There, a team of expert analysts reviews the order to see if data is missing, compares the order to that cardholder’s typical ordering or store behavior, and contacts the customer for further authentication if needed.

Here’s why a fraud managed services approach works:

  • No transaction is automatically declined, so you have fewer false declines.

  • Expert fraud analysts quickly spot new fraud trends and flag them for insertion into the AI’s algorithms.

  • Analysts can work alongside a company’s in-house team or in consultation with the client, bringing specific business/industry insight to their fraud screening.

  • Companies can easily scale to accommodate peak sales times, while still ensuring each flagged transaction under goes a secondary review.

 

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Why choose ClearSale?

We have insight into fraud patterns and trends that comes from working with businesses around the world.

Our transaction database is constantly learning as more orders are processed. As we see the impact fraud has on diverse markets, it becomes easier for us to identify fraud trends as soon as they emerge and then use those insights to make more accurate decisions for you.

  • AI-enabled automation evaluates orders based on behavioral biometrics and trends.

  • And our secondary review process adds another layer of accuracy by applying expertise and a human touch.

We also offer an auditing program, which is a safe test environment where random sets of declined transactions are reviewed to see what would have happened if we had approved the orders. This enables us to measure the accuracy of our client’s automated rules and fine-tune them as needed. Those validated, optimized rules give our clients more auto-approved orders, which can then be fulfilled by your team.

For enterprise ecommerce businesses, we can augment in-house teams with our fraud analysts to conduct secondary reviews and even follow up with customers.

Our team also mitigates chargebacks and handles disputes so your team can focus solely on meeting SLAs for approved orders.

Here’s an example of how we help customers fight fraud.

Case study:

ClearSale Helps Motorola Wipe Out Chargebacks and False Declines in Mexico

Iconic mobile phone brand Motorola wanted to make a big splash on Mexico’s two busiest online sales days, Black Friday and El Buen Fin (“the good weekend,” a nationwide shopping event launched in 2011 by the Council of Business Coordination).

But Motorola knew its products would be enticing targets for fraudsters, thanks to strong brand recognition and the small size and high resale value of Motorola’s devices. To make the situation even more challenging, Motorola expected order volume to grow tenfold during these peak sales periods, making it nearly impossible to keep up with accurately screening and flagging suspicious transactions.

Motorola needed a fraud protection solution that would:

  • Integrate seamlessly with its ecommerce platform

  • Provide prompt reviews of transactions

  • Let Motorola quickly and confidently approve orders during high-volume sales periods and year-round

See full case study

With ClearSale, ecommerce companies of all sizes benefit from our services.

Small and mid-sized businesses receive:

  • Simple ecommerce integration. Our fraud protection solutions quickly integrate with all major ecommerce platforms via an easy-to-install plugin.

  • Near-immediate order approvals. Even our human analysts are fast.

  • Comprehensive protection against fraud. ClearSale’s Chargeback Insurance program offers 100% guaranteed coverage of all fraud-related chargebacks.

  • The highest approval rates in Mexico (and anywhere else). Our system will never auto-decline an order.

  • An innovative approach. Our multitiered team approach to fraud prevention lets us continually calibrate our proprietary statistical model as new fraud patterns emerge.

Enterprise retailers can rely on ClearSale’s experienced team of data analysts and fraud experts who leverage machine learning and the ability to spot fraud trends to train and/or augment in-house fraud teams.

With our headquarters in Latin America, ClearSale knows Mexico. We’ve spent decades gathering and analyzing data, understanding fraud patterns, and protecting clients in many of the highest-risk regions in the world.

If you’re expanding the reach of your ecommerce business into Mexico, get in touch with us today to talk about keeping your business, your reputation and your customers safe from fraud.

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Saves a ton of time and headaches!

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"We are in the Durable Medical Equipment supply industry and we use Shopify as our shopping cart. With Covid 19 we have seen a tremendous increase web traffic and online purchases. Prior to Covid 19 we had a number of fraudulent transactions that led to multiple investigations on Local, State and Federal levels all of which produced no returns only because the crooks were faster. This cost us in..."

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