Managing Director & Founder of the Biz Latin Hub Group.
The most significant technological advancements that currently shape our society and economy have emerged from challenging times. The internet, for example — without which our daily life as we know it would be possible — emerged in light of the Cold War, after the United States Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) and MIT scientists invented a method to prevent communications from being affected in the event of an attack.
According to the UN, a report from the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean found that the Covid-19 pandemic is expected to result in the loss of 8.5 million jobs in Latin America and the Caribbean. It has produced new realities through which life and business have managed to get ahead. Digital technology has proven to be the great ally of humanity, facilitating the adaptation of economies and businesses to the “new normal,” a term that is commonly overused and yet mostly still unknown.
Currently, I expect the technology sector in Latin America to grow considerably, as it appears to be a key solution for businesses to evolve with changing social and economic contexts brought about by this pandemic. Technology stands as an industry that could lead the region’s “new business normal.”
The digital revolution is a call for Latin American business resilience.
After governments in the region announced measures to counteract the contagion of the virus, companies of all sizes have reportedly started realizing the importance of digital technology for applications like e-commerce. Technology enables them to adapt to a new business ecosystem in which interacting with clients can no longer be the same.
As I expected, the industries of e-commerce, streaming services, online education and health, food delivery and technological financial services (fintech) have grown
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Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Technological innovation and process optimization are booming. Changes and restrictions in physical interaction since the pandemic have forced companies to change the way they operate and do business, the recent McKinsey & Company survey “What 800 executives envision for the postpandemic workface ” conducted of executives of companies around the world, shows that a third of companies have accelerated the digitization of their supply chains, half have accelerated the digitization of their customer service channels, and two-thirds have more quickly adopted artificial intelligence and automation.
Undoubtedly, the pandemic has shown us that the digitization of companies of any size is necessary and that being prepared and being able to adapt quickly is essential. There has been an important evolution in consumer habits and in the adoption of purchasing through digital media, as mentioned in the eMarketer report, Latin America Ecommerce 2020 ( How COVID-19 will affect growth and sales in Argentina , Brazil and Mexico ), the region will have 191.7 million digital buyers and more than 10.8 million consumers will make a digital purchase for the first time this year.
In the region there are startups that are helping this entire process, standing out for presenting relevant innovations for sales processes, for promoting the digital transformation of companies through disruptive solutions that help them automate logistics and delivery processes, to increase productivity, for promoting customer loyalty and for allowing correct decision-making with the use of Big Data .
Here are some examples of these solutions, and the name of the startups that lead these changes, promoted by and belonging to Wayra , the Venture Capital of Telefónica
Latin America’s e-commerce industry is booming as millions of shoppers across the region venture online during the pandemic, many for the first time, forcing traditional businesses to adapt to survive.
The sector has been one of the big winners of the coronavirus outbreak as fears of infection and lockdown measures keep people at home.
“Covid-19 has been an accelerator of trends, and in electronic commerce it has been very powerful,” said Oscar Silva, an expert in global strategies with the consultancy firm KPMG in Mexico.
“More than 10 million Latin Americans who had never bought online now do so regularly,” he told AFP.
The dominant regional force is not Amazon or eBay but Mercado Libre, which has a similar business model and is present in 18 countries.
Despite the economic turmoil unleashed by the pandemic, the Argentinian company doubled its sales in the second quarter of this year thanks to a 45 percent rise in the number of customers to 51.1 million.
Its market capitalization reached $55 billion, challenging Brazilian mining giant Vale for the title of Latin America’s most valuable company.
The tectonic shift in consumer habits is likely to endure, said Silva.
“People were afraid of fraud or that the product wouldn’t be what they expected. It’s very likely that a large percentage of these customers will stay after realizing how easy and efficient online commerce is,” he said.
David Geisen, head of Mercado Libre’s Mexican arm, said that “loyal users now buy in 12 days what they bought before in 17, frequent users in 24 days what they bought in 79, and sporadic users in 29 days what they bought in almost a year.”
At the start of the pandemic, top sellers included face masks, antibacterial gel, thermometers and oximeters, but demand gradually spread to other goods