UPS has announced the results of its 2017 UPS Business Monitor™ Export Index Latin America (BMEI) report. The study focuses on the purchasing behaviors of small and medium enterprises (SMEs), a segment representing more than 90% of companies in Latin America¹. It reveals insights about importers that will help exporters sell and supply products to this growing sector. The insights include importer’s preferred methods to evaluate and contact new suppliers, the criteria they use to purchase products, and factors in the supply chain that influence their purchasing decisions.
“The BMEI study will provide importers and exporters with a deeper understanding of SME purchasing dynamics,” said Jose Acosta, president of Public Affairs, UPS Americas Region. “The SME sector in the Americas is playing a significant role in the region’s economic growth and global trade.”
The 2017 BMEI, a UPS study conducted in conjunction with the RGX Global Export Network, surveyed 2,170 importers from the industrial manufacturing, automotive, apparel and high-tech industries regarding the factors that influence their purchasing behavior about the products they buy. By taking an in-depth look at SME importers’ buying trends, exporters are provided with insights to help them tailor their outreach strategies to tap into current and new markets. The nine countries included in the survey include: Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Panama, Peru and the United States.
Main Study Insights
According to this year’s study, 47% of importers are looking for new international suppliers, which suggests there is an opportunity for exporters to find new buyers. Industry fairs and trade shows were cited as the most frequently used channel for finding new suppliers at 28%, followed by trade missions at 21%.
In the region, 21% of respondents indicated they expect potential suppliers to contact them, which reflects an opportunity for proactive exporters to present focused and well-researched business proposals via email or telephone.
Brazilian importers are the most proactive in seeking new suppliers, with only 5% indicating they do not contact new suppliers but rather wait to be contacted. Importers in the U.S. were the least proactive, with one out of three (31%) indicating they do not contact suppliers.
Importers indicated the top two product attributes influencing their purchasing decision were quality (97%) and price (87%) followed by seller services, such as, flexibility in payment terms and after-sales services.
In the apparel segment, exporters looking for new markets to develop should consider the U.S., Costa Rica and Chile. These countries had the highest percentage of respondents looking for new suppliers.
For the automotive sector, Colombia and Costa Rica have the highest percentage of importers looking for new suppliers.
The high-tech sector has the highest level of online purchasing activity in the buying process. This is explained by importers’ preference for online searches when looking for new suppliers, the high number of respondents completing purchases completely online (50%), as well as the more frequent and varied use of online promotional tools.
Warranty policies and product certifications were named as the most valued content on a potential supplier’s website.