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Online shopping in Ecuador

Hello everyone,

Shopping online can be far more convenient and offer greater choice than going into shops, be it grocery shopping or retail.

Are there options for online shopping in Ecuador? Which sites or apps do you use most frequently and are these local or international?

Are there particular products that are cheaper to buy online or that are perhaps not available in Ecuador?

What is the delivery process like — is it easy to receive deliveries and what are the costs of shipping? Are there any taxes to pay upon receipt?

Thank you for sharing your experience.

Priscilla

I shop several times a year from local online sellers and also sell some things for various reasons. In Ecuador shopping online is still in its infancy but with each passing day people are more confident in buying this way. Usually they pay via payment centers like servipagos or through their bank accounts.  Two of the most popular sites/apps within Ecuador are Mercado Libre and OLX, the local versions as these are also available in other South American countries.

I bought bike parts, gamepad, cables, lamp, watch, cologne, etc, etc. Some items are much cheaper than retail shops, but you have to search good because some merchants are more expensive. With the sellers on both websites, you have to know what you are doing because many don’t have brick and mortar shops so it’s important to determine their reputation to make sure you are getting a genuine product.

The process is fairly simple, you order a product, and then you are in direct contact with the seller. There is a built messaging app and arrangements are dealt with there. As for delivery, usually if the delivery is with the same city it is often free. Some merchants deliver their own products and it’s cash on delivery. Some use couriers after payment has been made.

For selling I prefer Olx.ec and the reason is simple. Mercado libre favors merchants who pay a fee and their items are atop of the seach, but as an individual if you put up something to sell your item will be buried deep in the search. Whereas olx your items will receive page 1 visibility initially and eventually descend down the listings. From personal experience I posted some things on each website and on Mercado libre I would receive 1 reply per day and on OLX more than I was able to keep count of.

Almost all buyers who are usually Ecuadorians, Columbians and Venezuelans will ask for a discount. So keep that in mind and if it’s not negotiable just state precio fijo or price fixed.

There are also merchants who sell directly from their own websites and I expect more retailers to sell online as online buying becomes more popular.

If you are an online shopper you'd best stay out of Ecuador or you will soon be too poor to shop.
The "impuestos" you pay -  (in addition to shipping) are often two, three even more than ten times the cost of the item. Unfortunately there is very little sophisticated manufacturing here, so you just cannot get a lot of things. You have a choice of doing  without or spending your money on expensive
shopping sprees by air travel. To make things worse - some shipments apparently never make it here,
and as Amazon simply states :" there is no tracking of international shipments", so - no recourse!
If I had known all that I would have never moved here, but unfortunately these ridiculous fees were not
introduced until a year after I came. Good Luck!

It’s unfortunate that you had bad personal experience. But I think it’s important that we keep it in perspective to help expats and potential expats understand the rules of having shipments sent to Ecuador.

Before doing so here is some interesting information:

273,000 online purchases (shipments) every month are delivered to Ecuador with 69% of them being from China. That is relatively a lot of online orders from abroad that Ecuadorians are making in each and every month.

Now for the rules:

There are 6, categorías de paquetes, or package categories, and probably a seventh now with the new $3.51 and 2 kilograms or less package rule that commenced Oct 1, 2017.

So the categories are:

A – Documents, magazines, photos – FREE of fees

B – 4 kilogram x $400 packages incurs a $42 tarfiff.  There is a yearly limit in total packages and amount allowed. And if this category is now obsolete due to the $3.51 for under 2 kilogram package it would be appreciate if someone provides such a source.

C – 50 kilogram packages and under $2000, tariff varies, and incurs a 12% IVA

D – Medicine and Medical equipment – essentially free of tarrifs with a minor child fee 0.5% but “Article 125 Copci” should be understood

E – Books – free of tariff but incur a 0.5% child tax

F – Computer equipment and parts – 12% IVA, and 0.5% child tax

NEW Category - 2 kilograms or less incurs a $3.51 fee which essentially covers the processing of the shipment.

Mobile phones are exception to the above categories.

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