Oban Conversion: Focus on Mexico

The ‘Focus on…’ series is a range of articles based on our global research from Oban Conversion. Each report has a specific focus on cultural drivers and preferences that may affect web design and usability choices. This month we look at the Mexican web landscape, to reveal a range of fascinating insights that could leverage your web presence in this unique market:


• The official language in Mexico is Spanish and close to 90% of the population is Catholic

• According to official statistics, by 2013 about a third of the population had internet connection at home. Furthermore, roughly 43.5% of the population (aged 6 years or more) are regular users of internet and this has consistently increased during the last decade (see Figure 1)


Figure 1: Percentage of internet users in Mexico (from the total population) 7.


• E-commerce has rapidly increased in the last few years. The estimated YOY growth from 2012 to 2013 was 42%, according to a report by the Internet Mexican Association (AMIPCI) 2

• The AMIPCI’s report 2 shows that one of the most important periods for e-commerce in Mexico is at the end of the year (November-December). This period coincides with Day of the Dead, Catholic celebrations and New Year

• The AMIPCI indicates that 37% of internet users have bought something through Internet 2 as well. In Figure 2 we can see that some of the biggest sectors are transport (flights/coach) and music and films, followed by clothes, accessories, computers and software 2



Figure 2: Types of products and services users obtain online (data from 2).

• Regarding the consumers’ profile, the AMIPCI revealed that buyers prefer to pay online using credit cards. In addition, online sales seem to benefit when free deliveries and discounts are offered to consumers 2. More importantly, as way to transmit trust to the consumer, websites often show the email of the company, have an https site and a contact phone number 2

Online growth issues

• Personal data privacy and consumer trust are the principal challenges of e-commerce in Mexico 2. Users who do not buy online have stated uncertainty or fear of purchasing online. This is due to concerns around personal details, card information and product or service delivery 2

• In addition, Mexico has one of the slowest internet connections of the 34 members of the OCDE 3 – this also includes mobile broadband

Web Design

• There is significant scope for improving e-commerce websites in Mexico. Sites for small and medium businesses tend to have a poor design, with outdated information and broken links. Without doubt, there is a clear opportunity to improve services and call to the appeal of users. See Figure 3


Figure 3: A timber cutting business (left) and a glassware business.

• However, in the case of well-known and long established companies, websites tend to include lots of multimedia and graphics. A large proportion of the page is covered with offers and colourful images. Although this design might seem appealing to the end user, it has some clear drawbacks; since users’ internet connection will be generally slow, graphics will take a long time to download. In addition, multimedia elements (which tend to be on the centre of the page) are usually a source of distraction and may hinder a user’s search and selection of products. See Figure 4


Figure 4: Multimedia graphics in three well-known businesses in Mexico.

• Educational sites, on the other hand, have minimal graphics, but present a large amount of text to the user – which does not facilitate a user’s search for information. Moreover, images often present high power figures, large buildings and give emphasis to groups of people rather than individuals. See Figure 5


Figure 5: Websites of two main universities in Mexico.

• According to Hofstede 4, 5, Mexican society has a high hierarchical organisation and has preference to avoid uncertainty. Websites with poor design will be less likely to be trusted (e.g. Figure 3), whereas educational or government sites which are perceived trustworthy will usually feature images of people with high status

• When it comes to the use of colour on websites a study by Yokosawa et al. 6 indicates that Mexican people do not have a preference for cool over warm colours. However, research did show that some individuals disliked dark yellow, but not dark orange 6

[1] Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Geografía: Ciencia y Tecnología. Access on 31/Dec/2013.
[2] AMIPCI – Asociación Mexicana de Internet: Comercio electrónico – Estudio de Comercio Electrónico México 2013. Access on 31/Dec/2013.
[3] México, con la banda ancha más lenta de la OCDE. Access on 27/Jan/2014.
[4] The Hofstede Centre – Dimensions. Access on 31/Dec/2013.
[5] The Hofstede Centre: National Culture – Mexico. Access on 31/Dec/2013.
[6] Cross-Cultural Studies of Color Preferences: US, Japan, and Mexico. Access on 31/Dec/2013.
[7] Usuarios: Usuarios de las tecnologías de la información, 2001 a 2013. Access on 03/Jan/2014.