Exploring E-commerce Dynamics in Guatemala
Latest update: January 2024
This article presents a concise overview of the e-commerce landscape in Guatemala. Drawing upon comprehensive data from our PCMI Latin America Data Library, alongside curated insights from reputable external sources. It aims to equip payments professionals and analysts with a nuanced understanding of this dynamic and evolving market.
The following information is also available in an infographic PDF that you can conveniently download below. You can also check out our other country reports of LatAm by accessing our gallery.
Current State of E-commerce in Guatemala
Guatemala’s e-commerce market is developing. Only half of its adult population (47%) is embracing online shopping, and similarly, only 44% of Guatemalan adults have an account with a fintech or bank institution, according to our data, which is far below most developed e-commerce markets in the region like Brazil or Mexico. Moreover, GS1, a non-profit organization in Guatemala, indicates that only 35% of companies in the country sell online.
Although challenges remain, Guatemalan e-commerce is poised for a surge. PCMI’s data-driven forecast predicts that Guatemalan e-commerce will nearly double from US$2 billion in 2023 to US$3.6 billion by 2026, as shown by its 20% CAGR in e-commerce volume during this time period.
Profiling the Guatemalan Online Buyer
While this overall picture is important, focusing on the consumer behavior delivers a deeper understanding of the market drivers:
Spending. According to PCMI, the Guatemalan e-commerce user spends on average US$119 annually. Furthermore, data from the Guatemalan Chamber of Commerce (CCG) indicates a high level of user activity, with 60% of online consumers making at least one purchase per month.
Motivators. “Saving time” emerges as the primary motivator for online purchases in Guatemala, cited by 61% of e-shoppers, according to CCG.
Guatemala E-Commerce Payment Methods and Devices
According to PCMI’s E-commerce Data Library, the primary payment methods for e-commerce in Guatemala, by share of volume, are:
- Internationally-enabled credit card — 68%
- Debit card — 16%
- Bank transfers — 11%
- Digital wallet — 3%
- Other* — 2%
*Includes gift cards, pay-on-delivery, and other miscellaneous payment methods.
Note: the total may not sum up to 100% due to rounding.
It is also important to track the device:
- 62% of e-commerce volume in Guatemala comes from purchases in mobile devices
- 38% of e-commerce volume in Guatemala comes from purchases in desktop
Top-Selling Categories in Guatemala and Top Online Stores
This is the ranking of the best-selling products online in Guatemala:
- Food and beverages
- Cosmetics and personal care
- Medicines and health products
- Telephony and phone accessories
That data is based on consumers who purchased these products the most from local online stores in 2022, according to the CCG.
As for the top online stores in Guatemala, Semrush, a provider specialized on online visibility, identifies Cemaco as the top online store in Guatemala based on November 2023 traffic volume data. Max, Pacifiko, Walmart Guatemala, and Aliexpress follow closely behind.
Key Insights into the Guatemalan E-commerce Market
Lastly, there are some key insights about e-commerce and payments in Guatemala:
According to the CCG, over half (54%) of online shoppers in Guatemala still opt for cash on delivery, suggesting a continued reliance on informal payment methods.
PCMI estimates that e-commerce currently contributes only 2% to Guatemala’s GDP. This figure, however, reveals substantial potential for growth.
Also, according to PCMI, foreign stores currently account for and impressive 73% of total e-commerce sales in Guatemala, emphasizing the need for local businesses to bolster their online visibility and competitiveness.
The e-commerce cross-border market in Guatemala is projected to grow by 16% in 2024.
The PCMI E-Commerce Data Library
The data provided in this report is part of PCMI’s Latin America E-commerce Data Library. The Library covers not only Guatemala but also 14 other countries in Latin America, featuring e-commerce market data such as:
- Historical volume of Guatemala’s e-commerce market for 2022, 2021 and further back
- Projections of Guatemala’s e-commerce market volume for 2023-2026
- Breakdowns by merchant vertical for e-commerce in Guatemala: retail, travel, ride-hailing, digital goods and services like streaming
- Data on both cross-border and domestic e-commerce purchases in Guatemala for 2022 and projections for 2023 and beyond
- Breakdowns and projections of payment methods used in Guatemala e-commerce (international/domestic credit cards, Buy Now Pay Later, digital wallets and others)
Other key advantages make the PCMI E-commerce Data Library for Latin America a uniquely powerful tool for companies that seek a fuller understanding of e-commerce in the region:
- It’s customizable to client needs: you can obtain additional data you need for your company’s specific business concerns, beyond what the Library offers
- It’s budget-friendly: while detailed reports are available for 15 Latin American countries, you can just buy data on just 1 or save money by purchasing a country bundle
- It includes personalized guidance: every purchase of the Library entitles you to a free 1-hour consultation about the data with one of PCMI’s industry experts
- It offers unlimited sharing: there is no single-user license with the PCMI E-commerce Data Library for Latin America, so you can share it freely with your organization