Internet Shopping in Brazil

Consumers obtain shopping information from a number of sources.  They can react to advertisements seen on television, published in print, or heard on radio.  They can read articles in magazines and newspapers, watch the shopping channel.  They can talk to friends and relatives.  They can rely on their own past experiences.  And now they can even use the Internet.

These different sources of information have different characteristics.  For example, one dimension of classification might be passive-active.  The electronic media (television and radio) are one-to-many broadcasts, so that much of the information may be passively picked up only accidentally and there may be no way to actively search for specific information in most cases (except for specialized programs such as home shopping channels).  By contrast, the Internet permits active, purposeful searching on a large variety of subjects while also offering passive information through banner ads.

We will now cite some data from the TGI Brasil study, which is a consumer survey of 10,103 persons between the ages of 12 to 64 years old in Brazil conducted between 1999 and 2000 by IBOPE Brasil.  In the process of this survey, the respondents were asked to identify which media were good sources of shopping information for them.  The following table shows the various answers.

Television Radio Newspapers Magazines Internet Family Friends Past experience
62% 25% 35% 14% 3% 33% 31% 30%

In this scheme of things, the Internet is rated the lowest among all the sources.  However, this is obviously not a fair comparison due to the relatively small number of people who currently have Internet access in Brazil.  If we now restrict the base to the Internet users only, we obtain this table:

Television Radio Newspapers Magazines Internet Family Friends Past experience
56% 15% 49% 30% 19% 37% 43% 44%

Among the Internet users, the influence of the broadcast media (television and radio) is lower compared to the general population.  By comparison, the influence of the print media is considerable higher, as the Internet users are among the better educated in the population.  While the Internet is rated significantly higher by the Internet users, the absolute level is still only at 19%, moving just ahead of radio now.  

The standard problems confronting B2C (business-to-consumer) e-commerce in Latin America are well-known --- the low penetration of the Internet, the low penetration of consumer credit cards, the lack of confidence in sending payments or credit information over the Internet, the lack of a reliable distribution system, and so on.

Among the group of Internet users, 5.4% of them said that they have made a personal purchase through in the past 30 days, and another 4.1% said that they have made a business purchase through the internet in the past 30 days.  Is there anyway to tell who is more likely to be a buyer?  The next table shows the purchase rate by internet usage characteristics.

Internet Usage Characteristics % made personal purchases % made business purchases
Place of Internet Access


Time spent using the Internet in last 30 days
     30 hours or more
12.6% 10.4%
TOTAL 5.4% 4.1%

We observe that


(posted by Roland Soong on 12/8/00)

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