Information Technology in Peru























Electronic Commerce

Peruvian e-commerce is just barely in its infancy. Growth is predicted for the next several years, as in all of Latin America, but Peru still has major steps to take in order to truly make itself into an attractive market for electronic commerce opportunities, both as a market and as a provider. However, some government action has been taken, and there has been some domestic e-commerce developing in Peru.

E-Commerce Today

According to a January 2000 Jupiter Research report, total Peruvian online commerce in 1999 was $5 million, out of $194 million over all of Latin America. Peru's online commerce is expected to rise to $164 million by 2005, and Latin America's to $8.33 billion. Jupiter also reports that in 1999, Peru had less than 100,000 people making online purchases (out of 400,000 total Internet users, while Latin America had 1.4 million (out of 22.7 million total). They predict that by 2005, Peru will have 600,000 people buying online (and 2.4 million users), out of 22.7 million throughout Latin America buying online (out of 66.6 million users). It is also important to note that there is traditionally a low rate of adoption of credit cards in Latin American countries, and Peru is no exception. The lack of credit cards makes consumer shopping online extremely difficult, as there is no convenient method of payment other than credit card.(27)

"E-Readiness"

Peru, while still lagging far behind other countries, has begun to make progress toward creating a regime that is favorable for the growth of e-commerce. An August 2000 report by McConnell International (a global technology policy and management consulting firm) and the World Information Technology and Services Alliance rates 41 countries on their "E-Readiness," which it defines as the confluence of five characteristics: connectivity, e-leadership, information security, human capital, and e-business climate. Each attribute is assessed as suitable for e-business and e-government, needing improvement in conditions necessary for e-business and e-government, or needing substantial improvement in conditions necessary for e-business and e-government. The McConnell/WITSA report states that Peru needs improvement in its e-leadership, information security and e-business climate, but notes that its e-leadership has improved over prior evaluations. Peru's connectivity and human capital are rated as needing substantial improvement. The e-leadership initiatives specifically noted are Peru's inroads in automation of government processes and attempts to extend the telecommunications network to rural areas.(28)

Government Action

Specific instances of the Peruvian government's moves toward making Peru more e-commerce friendly include laws passed in 2000 to:

  • make digital signatures legal (including foreign digital signatures)
  • modify the civil code to address digital signatures
  • make computer crime illegal

E-Commerce in Action

Some instances of Peruvian e-commerce sites or plans:

  • TV channel Frecuencialatina launched a portal in late November and plans to have an online store open in early 2001, beginning with beverages and books, and expanding to TV channel-related merchandise in a second phase. They expect 80% of customers to be Peruvians living abroad looking for gifts for family and friends at home.
  • Chilean holding company Ilatin Holdings, whose current operations include online shopping, will invest $1.5 million to open 10 websites in Peru over by May 2002.
  • Peruvian brewer Cristal has earmarked 5% of its annual advertising budget for internet placements. Online sales began in August 2000, and had reached 3000 by November. Payment is on delivery, which is available in three cities, due to logistical roadblocks in other areas.
  • NBK bank launched online service for its business clients in late November, the first step in shifting its focus to electronic distribution and away from brick-and-mortar locations.
  • Mastercard International launched its virtual card in Peru in December 2000. Mastercard chose to launch in Peru because of the large number of Internet kiosks throughout the country, and expects the service to attract 30,000 clients in the next year.(29)

Last update: December 19, 2000 by Jeffrey S. Bernstein.