Sea’s Shopee took just two years to become Brazil’s most-downloaded shopping app, winning users to its low-cost marketplace with its game-changing approach to e-commerce: in-app mini-games offering coupons to winning users.
The Singapore-based company has combined online shopping with the gaming nous of its separate mobile game arm Garena – creator of Free Fire, Brazil’s most-downloaded title for eight consecutive quarters – to generate sales analysts estimated at almost a third of local champion Magazine Luiza SA.
Back home, Shopee only needed five years to become Southeast Asia’s most-visited e-commerce website, overtaking the likes of Lazada, backed by China’s Alibaba, and Tokopedia, backed by Japan’s SoftBank.
“Shopee has a track record in Southeast Asia of coming into the market late, looking at how others have solved existing problems and then building a system to leapfrog those issues,” said analyst Jianggan Li at advisory firm Momentum Works.
Shopee’s early surge highlights the space left for foreign entrants to grow in a sector once dominated by regional firms like Magazine Luiza and Argentina’s MercadoLibre.
To be sure, the startup’s timing was fortuitous, launching in Brazil just as the COVID-19 pandemic drove consumers away from physical stores, pushing up 2020 e-commerce sales by 44 percent to $42 billion (roughly Rs. 3,08,555 crores. showed data from Brazilian payments company EBANX.