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Latin America in the Spotlight: Part Two

Last updated on May 17th, 2021 at 06:07 pm

More and More Companies Are Eyeing This Region for Business Opportunities

In Part One of Spotlight Latin America, we covered the cultural, ethnic, and linguistic diversity of Latin America.  Companies interested in engaging Latin America for business purposes must take this diversity into consideration.

With the strengthening and stabilizing of its economy, appeal to the young population, along with recent advancements and reforms in energy and political policy, business opportunities in Latin America are flourishing!

Although Brazil and Mexico are considered global powerhouses as the two Latin American countries with the largest economies, other emerging economies, including Colombia and Peru, are forecasted to rise in ranks in the years to come. 

Chile is another country to watch.

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According to Forrester Research, online retail revenues are expected to double from nearly $20 billion in 2013 to $47 billion in 2018 in the following markets: Argentina, Mexico, and Brazil. 

A few major U.S. retailers are already ‘rushing’ for online retail gold in Latin America. “We see an enormous opportunity”, says Juan Carlos Garcia, VP of e-commerce for Walmart in Mexico and Central America.

Plenty of Room for U.S. Companies in the E-commerce and Exporting Industries

Currently, only 1% of U.S. businesses export their goods. And of those, 58% export to just one country, often Mexico or Canada.

Data from the Commerce Department reveals that businesses exporting goods to two or more export markets have average sales of $1 million or more, in comparison to the average of $375,000 generated by businesses exporting to just one country.

Take into account there are several Latin American countries growing their economies, and you will find there is no better time than NOW for prospective companies to start forming exporting partnerships with Latin America, and start thinking about selling products to the Latin American market.

E-commerce companies are seeing the value in expanding into Latin American markets. 

EBay Inc, one of the major online marketplaces, recently launched localized sites in Latin America. This intelligent business move makes use of the high growth rate in the e-commerce market, which is currently higher than in the U.S!

In 2012, Latin American web sales grew by 19% in comparison to 16% in the U.S.

What to Expect From Latin American Business Etiquette

Westerners might consider Latin American business culture to be more laid back and informal.

Time is less enforced and more flexible in Latin culture than in Western culture.

It is common for business meetings to begin later than scheduled. This is not to say you are free to sleep in and walk into a 7:00 A.M. meeting at 9:30 A.M. simply because you feel like it.  If you wish to make a positive impression on your Latin counterparts, arrive on time.

Hugging, kissing on the cheek, and touches on the arms is the cultural norm on your first day of business introductions.

People in the Latin culture are incredibly open and this behavior also applies to their business culture.

Long business lunch meetings can easily last up to two hours. Lunch is the main meal of the day in Latin America.

Business lunches are a great opportunity for you, the negotiator, to make a lasting impression on your Latin counterparts. Show them that you know how to enjoy yourself and make wise business decisions at the same time.

With its growing business opportunities and welcoming corporate cultures, Latin America is an exciting place for prospective companies to begin planning and investing toward a bright, lucrative future in Latin American markets.

Remember to include Latin American languages and localize them in your marketing mix 

Flora Yu
Flora Yu
Flora was born and raised in New York to parents from Hong Kong and Taiwan. She has a degree in Accounting. She is fluent in Mandarin, and contributes a unique perspective as someone who was raised in 2 different cultures. She finds humor and opportunities to learn as she constantly searches for the balance between the East and West.