The new surge in purchasing power for Latin American consumers is being felt in all types of industries. To offer media, advertising and marketing professionals a quick reference guide, we put together a list of some of the hottest product categories among Latin American shoppers.
In 2011 car sales in Latin America went up by 7% to total 6.4 million units, which set a new record in the region: 12 vehicles for every 1,000 people. The most motorized company seems to be Argentina, with 20 vehicles for every 1,000 people, followed by Chile with 19.4 and Brazil with 17.7. In fact, 2011 was the best year ever for car sales in Argentina. Also, several carmakers had record-breaking sales in Latin America in 2011, including Audi, BMW, Nissan and Peugeot.
Latin Americans will buy nearly 40 million computers in 2012, according to market research firm IDC. This will be a 5% increase compared to 2011, during which Latin Americans bought 37.7 million computers. Growth will be marginal (0.3%) for desktop computers but laptop sales should go up by 8.7%. In addition, IDC forecasts that 2.1 million tablets will be sold in Latin America in 2012. Although it’s not a large percentage of the total, it could be an important trend with implications for mobile advertising.
According to Research firm Euromonitor International, the total value of beauty/cosmetic and personal care products sold in Latin America in 2010 was $65 billion. These strong sales made Latin America the #4 market in the world for cosmetics/beauty products. Between 2005 and 2010 the Latin American beauty market doubled in size and now experts think the region will surpass North America to soon become the #3 beauty products market in the world.
According to Boston Consulting Group, Latin America’s luxury market is growing by 15% every year. In Mexico, 5.2% of the population can buy luxury goods, according to consulting firm KPMG. Brazil’s luxury goods sales are expected to hit $12 billion this year, a 33% increase compared to 2011. Argentina is also a solid luxury market, moving 230 million euros in its luxury market in 2011. Given this, it’s no surprise that Sephora foresees opening 12 to 13 stores in the region and that Salvatore Ferragamo has announced expansion plans in the region.
MOBILE PHONES AND SMARTPHONES
During the second half of 2011, Latam smartphone sales went up by 25% to reach nearly 50 million units. Although the complete total of mobile phone units sold in Latin America in 2011 hasn’t yet been confirmed, it’s known that 31 million smartphones were sold in the region in 2011. In Argentina, 24% of the mobile phones sold in 2011 were smartphones. In Mexico, smartphone sales spiked up by 78% in 2011. In Brazil, 2011 smartphone sales jumped to over 100% higher than in 2010. And the smartphone surge continues: 40% of the mobile phones sold in Argentina during the first quarter of 2012 were smartphones. In addition, IDG predicts spectacular increases in smartphone sales in other countries this year, including a 43% upsurge in Chile and a 70% leap in Brazil.
According to new figures reported by the Association of Miami Realtors, Venezuelans were the largest group of foreign buyers in 2011. That said, Brazilians and Argentines were not far behind. Thanks to these Latin American buyers, Miami real estate has gotten a strong—and quite welcome—push: home sales went up 46% in 2011.
Trips to foreign destinations by Latin American tourists went up by 15% in 2011, according to Consulting firm IPK. According to IPK, the strongest markets for trips to foreign destinations from Latam are Brazil, Argentina, Mexico and Chile.
The United States is one of the most popular destinations for Latin American tourists. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, 18% more Latin American tourists will visit the U.S. in 2012 than in 2011: 1.78 million. By 2016, the department estimates that 2.5 million Brazilians will visit the United States. In addition, Brazilians rank #3 in spending among foreign tourists that visit the U.S. They’re just behind Japanese and British tourists, spending $6.8 billion in 2011 during trips.
Florida is probably the most popular U.S. destinations for Latin Americans. In fact, 4 of the top 10 foreign countries who sent the most visitors to Florida in 2011 were Latin American: Brazil, Argentina, Mexico and Colombia. In addition, a survey by hoteles.com showed that Florida is the preferred foreign destination of both Argentine and Colombian tourists.
That said, Latin Americans don’t just travel to the U.S. Many enjoy traveling within their own region. For example, a recent survey showed that Argentine tourists rank 3 Mexican destinations—Mexico City, Riviera Maya and Cancun—among their top destination choices. And Brazilians are the foreigners that visit Argentina the most. More than 35% of the tourists that Argentina welcomed in 2011 were from Brazil, while Europe was in second place with 19.8%. For their part, when surveyed, Chileans say their favorite destinations are Argentina, Brazil and Peru.
According to Mandala Research, Mexicans seem to favor U.S. destinations, and one study showed they also outshop other tourists. On average, Mexicans spend 40% of their travel budgets at shopping malls, compared to Japanese tourists, who spend 25% of their travel budgets at malls, and British tourists, who spend 25%. The preferred U.S. destinations for Mexican tourists are Los Angeles, New York and Houston, although Miami and Orlando are also in the top 10.
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