Methodology and definitions
15 core markets
To develop the data on each market, PCMI first compiles all relevant data from publicly available sources including local chambers of commerce, e-commerce associations, local press, market reports and regulator and government statistics, as well as data from the World Bank and affiliated international organizations. The PCMI team analyzes the data with a critical approach, identifying the holes, errors, and inconsistencies in this data to prepare it for primary research. Then, PCMI conducts interviews with local e-commerce industry stakeholders to clarify, deepen, and streamline data collected via secondary research. In the creation of this dataset, we interviewed over 50 e-commerce executives across the 15 markets covered in the 2023 update of the data, including banks, acquirers, payment gateways, payment service providers, merchants, and consultants. Finally, PCMI conducts a rigorous triangulation of the primary and secondary results, leveraging the perspective of our historical data collected since we first began building this dataset in 2015, to arrive at the final results.
How do we define e-commerce?
In this data set, “e-commerce” refers to all online purchases of goods and services, regardless of the device or payment method used. “Online” is defined as processed through a merchant’s online checkout.
Our analysis includes:
PCMI’s e-commerce market sizes are often higher than what is published by other common sources like eMarketer, Statista, and local reports. Here, it is essential to consider the definition of ‘e-commerce’ being used. Many reports only consider retail when reporting e-commerce volume. Others consider only domestic purchasing, and others exclude certain payment methods. PCMI’s e-commerce market size is reflective of all verticals, payment methods and origin, excluding only what is explicitly listed above.
Accuracy and margin of error
While PCMI cannot guarantee an exact margin of error, based on our experience dealing with this data, in the top six markets (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru), PCMI estimates a maximum 10% margin of error. In smaller markets, the margin of error may go up, since there is less public data available, but margin of error should not exceed 20%.
Other technical specifications
Unless otherwise stated, all currency is expressed in US dollars.
Please note that numbers contained in figures and tables may not add due to rounding.