Brazil is known for its vibrant music culture, love of soccer and for being the largest country in Latin America in terms of both population and geography. The nation has other notable — if less conspicuous — distinctions, however: a widespread embrace of smartphones and a rapidly developing digital payments infrastructure.
These conditions help explain why the pandemic-driven digital shift that is transforming retail in advanced economies around the world has been a catalyst for major changes in Brazil as well. The nation’s consumers, much as those in other markets, have sought to avoid crowded stores and engage in safer, more efficient and more satisfying ways to shop. The share of Brazilian consumers who consider digital channels to be their preferred means of shopping has grown by more than 30 percent since the pandemic began and now accounts for 46 percent of its consumers overall.
These are among the key findings revealed in the Global Digital Shopping Index: Brazil Edition, a PYMNTS and Cybersource collaboration based on survey responses from more than 2,000 consumers and 500 merchants in the country. The series — which previously examined digital retail trends in Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States — offers an in-depth look at how consumers are turning to digital technology to improve their shopping experiences and how merchants are meeting demand for these types of experiences.
The changes taking place in Brazil stand out, as income levels and access to digital technology are more limited there than they are in the other markets we studied. Yet, our research also documents the rapid adoption of digital commerce in developing economies like Brazil’s, with these developments being fueled by the growing adoption of smartphones and robust networks to support them. Here are some of the key takeaways from our research.
Large shares of Brazilian consumers have turned to digital shopping capabilities to overcome the frictions associated with in-store shopping.
Shopping at brick-and-mortar stores is unsurprisingly more prevalent in Brazil than it is in the other markets we studied. Sixty-five percent of Brazilian consumers made their most-recent retail purchases at brick-and-mortar stores, for example, compared to the 52 percent of U.K. consumers who said the same. The pandemic has triggered a significant digital shift in Brazil, however, with the share of consumers who prefer in-store shopping declining by 17 percent since the pandemic’s onset while the share who prefer digital channels has surged by 33 percent.
Mobile has been a key enabler of these digital shifts. Twenty percent of Brazil’s consumers reported using mobile devices to make their most recent purchases — twice the share of those who reported using computers to do so. The portion of Brazilian consumers using mobile channels has climbed 36 percent since the pandemic began, representing a strong contrast compared to the other markets we studied, where mobile channel use has declined relative to online channels.
Young and affluent consumers are leading Brazil’s digital adoption.
Younger consumers with higher incomes are the most prolific adopters of digital shopping channels and features in Brazil. Fifty percent of young high-earners — those under age 40 in the highest of three income brackets — used mobile or online channels for their most recent purchases, 1.7 times the share of other consumers. This gap is far narrower in other markets: There’s only a 3 percentage-point gap between young high-earners and other consumers in terms of digital purchasing in Australia, for example, while the gap between the two groups is 7 percentage points in the U.K.
These insights illustrate just a few of the top-level findings detailed in our research. To get the full story, download the report.
Read More: Tracking The Digital Shopping Shift In Brazil