NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Intercontinental Grocery Cart

November 6, 2002

Immigrants from Latin American and Caribbean countries are using a unique procedure to send aid to their families back home. They are logging online, forwarding shopping lists for their families, and having food stuffs and goods delivered free of charge from stores in their native lands.

This is the latest wrinkle in the growing trend of international online shopping.

  • The procedure allows the Latino workers here who are doing the sending to avoid often steep money transfer fees -- while also giving them control of how their wages are being spent by families and other recipients.
  • E-retailers in such countries as Brazil, Peru and Argentina see their international shopping and delivery services as an infant market -- and a great opportunity to capture some of the $23 billion in remittances sent annually to the region.
  • Remittances play a considerable role in Latin economies -- representing in Mexico, for example, over $9 billion, or 1.7 percent of that country's GDP.
  • Some Latin grocery chains have started placing television and newspaper ads in Florida, California, New York, New Jersey and Washington, D.C., to publicize their e-retail services.

Source: Nicole Raymond, Di Pinheiro, Alejandro Bianchi, "Emigres Send Food Online to Old Country," Wall Street Journal, November 6, 2002

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