The e-commerce market in South America is still relatively small compared to those in Asia or North-America. However, e-commerce sales in South America are projected to drastically increase in the coming years. Brazil is the market leader in terms of e-commerce sales, and has been on the US Trade Representative Special 301 Watch-List since 2007, due to the country’s high levels of counterfeiting on e-commerce platforms. The aim of this article is to investigate the biggest e-commerce platforms in South America, and to see what can be done in terms of brand protection and anti-counterfeit solutions on these platforms.
The biggest e-commerce platform in South America is MercadoLibre (which literally means “free market” in Spanish). It is an Argentine company, with branches in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Peru, Panama, Portugal, Uruguay and Venezuela. In Brazil, where it is called MercadoLivre, it is the biggest online marketplace. It ranks as the 7th most visited website in Brazil, according to data from Alexa.com.
MercadoLibre has recently been under pressure to improve its IP protection strategy after a high number of fakes and counterfeit goods were discovered on the website. Adidas removed $50 million worth of products from MercadoLibre in 2015, and other companies, among which Levi Strauss, have complained about the long takedown process.
In order to report listings on MercadoLibre, you have to create an account and upload IPRs before you can report listings on an individual basis. Though this may be time consuming, it does work.
Americanas is the second biggest marketplace in South America. It is located in Brazil, and is therefore only focused on the Brazilian market. Americanas is part of the B2W Digital Company that also owns Submarino, another e-commerce platform.
If businesses locate infringing content on the online marketplace, they can contact Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to resolve the issues. Moreover, an option is to contact Brazilian enforcement authorities to investigate online counterfeits.
The various OLX branches (with different branches in different countries) are also large marketplaces. On Alexa.com, you can see the ranking of websites in Brazil, in order of popularity, which indicates that MercadoLivre is the 7th most visited website in Brazil. OLX Brazil ranks 13th on the list of most visited websites in Brazil. Similar to MercadoLibre, OLX also has a lot of different country websites (.com.br, .com.co, com.ec etc.).
See https://home/pointerbrandprotection-com/public.alexa.com/topsites/countries/BR to check rankings per country. The content on the OLX marketplaces is protected by intellectual property laws and treaties.
Other online marketplaces
Other South American online marketplaces are Linio, Alamaula, and Locanto, to name but a few. These websites are relatively small and not widely used in South America.
How to stop fakes in South America
We have listed the most important online marketplaces in South America. MercadoLibre is #1, Americanas #2, and OLX is #3. These marketplaces have started to improve their IP policy since complaints were made about a great deal of counterfeiting and infringements taking place on their platforms.
It may be time-consuming to report listings on these marketplaces, but it is simple enough if you follow a few simple steps. And it is definitely worth it! Pointer Brand Protection is a brand protection service that aims to help you with any problems you may have regarding intellectual property, brand protection, and online enforcement in South America, or anywhere else in the world. Contact us to improve your brand protection strategy, or if you have any questions.