With 75% growth, Brazilian e-commerce represented 11% of retail sales in 2020.

As Covid-19 has kept consumers at home, almost everything is bought online. According to Mastercard’s latest Recovery Insights report, this accelerated digitization generated more than $900 billion globally in the past year. In Brazil, according to the SpedingPulse index, e-commerce had an expansion of 75% in 2020, representing 11% of retail.

The share of e-commerce in Brazilian retail before the crisis was 6%, and at its peak it rose to 11%. The current level is 7%, and the report points out that a change of approximately 1.3% is sustainable.

With a 10% increase in the average number of stores visited by Brazilians in 2020, business digitization and online sales have been a lifesaver for several retailers, restaurants and other large and small businesses. Thanks to the virtual store, they managed to overcome the period of social distancing and maintain their business.

According to the Recovery Insights: Commerce E-volution report, around 20% to 30% of the global shift to digital driven by Covid-19 is predicted to be permanent. The report is based on anonymized and aggregated sales activity across the Mastercard network and the Mastercard Economic Institute’s own analysis — the analysis explores the impacts of this trend by country, sector, and across goods and services.

“Although consumers had to stay at home, their money could continue to power the local and global economy, thanks to e-commerce,” says Estanislau Bassols, CEO of Mastercard Brasil.

Upcoming E-Commerce Trends

Although digital transformation has not been universal and consistent due to geographic, economic and social differences, the report has revealed several global trends:

• Early adopters of e-commerce have an advantage: economies that were more digital before the crisis, such as the UK and the US, have made greater gains from the domestic shift to digital, and it appears to be more durable than countries that had lower share of e-commerce before the period, such as Argentina and Mexico. Asia-Pacific, North America and Europe were the strongest regions in driving e-commerce adoption.

• Digital gains in supermarkets and discount stores appear to be permanent: Core retail sectors, which had the smallest digital share before the crisis, have seen some of the biggest gains as consumers adapt. With the formation of new consumer habits and considering the low user base before Covid, the report predicts that between 70% and 80% of the growth of e-commerce in the food sector will be permanent.

• International e-commerce grew between 25% and 30% during the pandemic: International e-commerce grew, both in sales volume and in the number of different countries where customers ordered. With infinitely more options at their fingertips, consumer spending on international e-commerce grew 25% to 30% year-over-year from March 2020 to February 2021.

• Consumers now spend up to 30% more from online retailers: Reflecting new consumer habits, research shows that consumers around the world are shopping at more websites and online marketplaces than ever before. Residents of countries such as Italy and Saudi Arabia buy an average of 33% more in online stores, followed by Russia and the UK.

See the full study Recovery Insights: the E-volution on Mastercard’s website.


The report is based on aggregated, anonymous sales activity across the Mastercard network and proprietary analysis by the Mastercard Economic Institute.

The Mastercard Economic Institute drew on Mastercard’s online activity and modeled global retail e-commerce across all payment types to determine retail e-commerce overhead costs based on trend deviations.

Also read: Brazil’s e-commerce grows 86% in February, points out Mastercard SpendingPulse

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