This sector reached COP226.4 billion-worth of sales in 2017, with a contraction of 0.9%, due to a drop in the automotive sector. Sales within the sector have mainly been driven by the expansion plans of national and foreign companies throughout the country, despite an increase in the inflation index, the deterioration of consumer confidence and the economic slowdown. The greatest profits in sales were noted in e-commerce (+16%), followed by shopping centers (+3.5%), supermarkets (+1.8%), and specialized stores (+0.9%).

Large Areas and Supermarkets

The increase in sales is largely explained by the rapid expansion of discount store chains, which have boosted the market by offering – through their own brands – more accessible family basket productd, becoming the direct competition with traditional supermarkets.

Specialized Stores

Specialized stores were driven by the increase in sales of household appliances, home furniture, and computer and telecommunications equipment for personal or domestic use. This increase is due to promotional events, the opening of establishments and launching new product lines.

Shopping Centers

Over the past year, shopping centers have represented 18% of the retail sector's turnover, with a growth of 7% compared to 2016. The increase is largely explained by the inaugurations of several shopping centers – not only in the bigger cities, but also in medium-sized cities where the commercial offer had been small or next to nothing. 


E-commerce continued to be the driving force of the retail sector, with real sales quadrupling between 2011 and 2016, and reaching a 3% share in 2017. E-commerce expanded due to improvements in payment systems and telecommunications infrastructure, as well as greater use of computers and smartphones by consumers.
According to British consultancy firm BMI Research, the total value of household spending in Colombia in nominal terms is expected to increase at an annual rate of 7% between 2017 and 2021. However, in real terms, it is likely that growth in 2018 will be 3%. The main factors driving the sector will be economic growth, a rising middleclass and a young generation with a strong consumer propensity. It is also expected that the high number of the internet users – which will reach 64% of the population – will be a driver of e-commerce.


Featured Information

  • E-commerce is expected to grow by 20% in 2018.
  • Sales in the retail sector totaled COP226.4 billion in 2017.
  • Colombia ranked 2nd among Latin American countries in the Global Retail Development Index of A.T. Kearney, which analyzes the potential to invest in the retail sector of 30 developing countries. 
  • The sector continues to grow due to the arrival and rapid spread of low-cost stores, with a growth of 20% compared to previous years.
  • 48% of Colombians have purchased items at least once from these "hard discount" stores. 
  • Bogotá is key for the sector, as it accounts for 43% of all sales in the country, grouping 46 of the 100 most important foreign companies in the sector.
  • By 2021 it is expected that 85% of stores will make use of technological alternatives to offer a personalized shopping experience, according to the profile of each client, both in Colombia and in the region.
  • Overall consumer spending grew by 2.2% in 2017.