MercadoLibre Sees Success Despite Shaky Economy

While many businesses are struggling to survive during recent lockdowns caused by the spread of COVID-19, eCommerce and payments companies have seen a surge in usage during this time.  

Data shows eCommerce order volume has increased by 50 percent compared to 2019, with nearly half of global consumers saying that they don’t expect to resume shopping in brick-and-mortar shops for “some time” or “a long time” once lockdowns ease. As for online payments, a recent survey reported that around 38 percent of consumers now see contactless as a basic need or feature of payments, up from 30 percent a year ago.

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One company that has been thriving during the pandemic is Argentinian eCommerce platform MercadoLibre. While the company did see a slight decline in business in mid-March, it still managed to post impressive Q1 results.

“Given the difficult circumstances the world is facing, we are optimistic about the results we've delivered during the first quarter of 2020. Although less affected than others, our business did register this impact, primarily during the first weeks of the imposed lockdowns, with a rebound throughout April,” said Pedro Arnt, Chief Financial Officer of MercadoLibre.

Much of its success is linked to its payments solution, Mercado Pago, which currently has over 220 million users through seven countries in Latin America, offering an array of digital payment tools, including a mobile wallet, prepaid cards, and consumer loans.  During the first quarter, total payment volume (TPV) reached $8.1 billion, up 44 percent year over year when translated to U.S. dollars, and 82 percent in local currencies. The number of payment transactions surged to 291 million, up 102 percent year over year.

Mobile wallet transactions hit $1.3 billion, increasing a whopping 299 percent year over year in local currencies, while its customer base grew 155 percent to more than 8 million. TPV from mobile wallets continued to generate triple-digit-percentage growth in Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico. 

And the company's off-platform TPV also repeated its triple-digit-percentage growth, increasing 140 percent year over year to $4.7 billion, while the number of transactions rose 146 percent to 217 million. Mobile point-of-sale business increased 103 percent year over year in local currencies.

MercadoLibre has revealed that it will add even more features to Mercado Pago in 2020. Earlier this year, it launched new services such as money withdrawal and credit line options. There are also plans to allow cash withdrawals using a QR code, as well as to launch its own credit and debit card by acquiring a business sometime this year.