South America is experiencing rapid growth in its online market, forging a reputation as one of the frontrunners in e-commerce and e-services. It is primarily due to the significant expansion in social media and access to the internet, which is pushing the rate of development to approximately a third higher than seen elsewhere.
By 2021, the value is predicted to have doubled to $118 billion.
Despite some lingering challenges around regulation, banking and payment, South America is set to continue the trend. Success has been recorded universally, but there are some areas where the performance is particularly strong.
The gambling landscape in South America might change in 2021, mirroring the trends being seen elsewhere in the world. With 300 million potential gamblers eager to enjoy everything online casinos have to offer, providers are looking to South America for its untapped potential.
There is already a booming sports betting market, with casino games and slots also popular. However, the region lags behind Europe for regulation which leaves significant work to be done to attract investment.
Colombia has proven to be one of the marked forces in South America, legalising the industry in 2016 and issuing licences. Its newly formed regulatory authority is diligent in chasing down rogue operators, giving the country an excellent reputation in the industry. It is proving to be a blueprint for others to follow, with Brazil and Argentina now making progress.
Despite some hurdles yet to overcome, the doors to online play have now been opened, and the sheer weight of public opinion will ensure there’s no backtracking.
Access to mobile play and the internet, combined with the passion for sports, has meant that esports has experienced resounding success in South America. One of the fastest-growing sectors in online gaming, esports, has firmly established itself in countries all around the region.
Brazil takes the top spot in South America for e-sports and in 2019 was third in the world. Considering the amount of investment still needed in the South American infrastructure, this success is startling. In 2019 Brazil had an audience of 21.2 million and 79.8 million players. In second place was Mexico, taking 10th spot globally and notching up 4.7 million audience and 20.4 million players in esports.
Other top-performing countries in South America included Argentina, Colombia, Venezuela, Peru and Chile.
E-sports is now firmly established, and with an enormous appetite for more, greater regulation and development is inevitable, which will expand the sector even further.
Streaming Services and E-Services
Although casino and e-sports are strong performers in South America, there has been a general shift to online demand right across the board. E-services have benefitted from greater access to the internet, providing new options for the public.
Streaming services have been a global phenomenon, and South America is no exception. US-based platforms are dominating the market, and by the end of 2025, Disney+, Netflix, Apple TV+, HBO and Amazon Prime are expected to sweep up 88% of the expanding market share. Better connectivity and widespread internet access have made it possible for an increasing number to sign up for streaming services, making it one of the critical areas for growth and revenue.