Chile’s retail sector is developed and expanding throughout the region. Despite economic and political uncertainty, the prospects are for growth of merchandise offers and shopper communities. The foundation is strong in terms of overall technology acumen and the inevitable IoT like mobile devices, democratization of Facebook and social media sharing, and the aspiration of consumers and corporate retailers.
Director of Insights, GroupM Latin America Cynthia.Evans@mecglobal.com
Cynthia Evans is the Latin America Director of Insights for GroupM. She has experience in quantitative business analytics, communication strategy, and research in the offline and online space, and global experience in FMCG, food and beverage, automotive and entertainment categories.
In her current position, Cynthia brings insight and strategic planning to the communication investment function for the Latin Americas. She has previously held sales and marcom research positions in the US general market across agencies, advertisers, and research suppliers.
Cynthia holds an MBA from Northwestern University Kellogg School with a concentration in quantitative business analysis and marketing science.
Internet penetration clocks in at 78% of the population, with smart technology and mobile penetration equally robust at 80%*. Age distribution is strongly Millennial – young – as it is throughout Latin America. However, well-developed health services and consumer “healthy lifestyle” interests are supporting a growing “mature” population. This presents a multi-dimensional shopper profile that plays out across several dimensions, including:
HOME CENTER DIY
The suburban sprawl around metropolitan Santiago over the wine vineyards of 10 years ago is now coupled with on-going seismic disturbance from unbelievably beautiful volcanic mountain topography. This trend has supported the growth of the home center retail trade in Sodimac, the SACI Falabella asset that has expanded in Chile and beyond to Argentina, Uruguay, Peru, Colombia and Brazil.
A smaller core group than in larger neighboring countries, but on average more affluent, technology active and definitely not the traditional ama de casa.
Proximity to a splendid panorama of mountain and water sports venues and a developed palate for wine and food create a vast opportunity for specialty retail.
Wine, design, technology, and a favorable export climate build on a heritage of higher education to produce a vibrant specialty and artisanal retail community, off and online.
Female workforce participation, professional development, and a growing number of two-working-parent families support a consumer need and desire for convenience. Family food solutions have benefited. E-shopping groceries for pick- up on the commute home or delivery have been available in the market for several years. Eat-in, take-out, and delivery restaurants are also active.
ONLINE WINDOW SHOPPING
Abundant and easier than driving to the mall. Social influencers, blogs, and YouTube offer an array of recommendations and examples of what to buy and how to enjoy it.
Retailer expansion across borders and Turi-shopping support growth of the large corporate retail interests. Cencosud and Falabella retail giants have expanded through the region, with brick and click shopping options. Favorable economic and currency factors have drawn shoppers to Chile from neighboring countries.
Electronics expansion favor continued growth in e-shopping and online retail trade, despite challenges in delivery, distribution and credit card penetration.
A CONSERVATIVE LEGACY WITH ENTHUSIASTIC SOCIAL PRESENCE
Chileans tend to be conservative with a strong sense of what is socially responsible that plays out enthusiastically in social media. They spend leisure time at home and in private settings. Family and friends are a central thread in consumer lifestyles. When away from home; entertainment, special events and venues are popular – Viña del Mar, sports events and family shopping outings. These provide consumer context for retail shopping responses as well as providing venues where brands can become part of the consumer experience.
SPECIAL SHOPPING EVENTS
Cyber Day, Cyber Monday, Black Friday, Cyber Week and other similar events have been institutionalized and now represent key milestones of retail activity during the year. Sales on these days are impressive, surpassing by a wide margin the previous year, (year after year), to the point of creating queues online. The best products sell out quickly, it’s a “madness”. Retailers’ online sales far exceed brick and mortar during these event periods.
MICRO-CONCENTRATION OF THE BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY
The majority of consumers live in Santiago where they shop in four main areas/centers. Antofagasta is the second city where old money and new money come together from the riches of mineral mining business. Valpairaso and Viña del Mar are a short drive over the mountains to the coast. Micro targeting, by geography and by contextual interest, is available for directing communication, especially in online and OOH and/or sponsorship of venues/events.
A HIGHLY ADDRESSABLE MEDIA MARKETPLACE
Chilean consumers are among the most connected consumers in Latin America, and offer a variety of discrete but aspirational channels for retail. Video formats are very well received, and consumer generated content abounds. This, coupled with an active online “influencer/follower” outreach landscape, creates the opportunity to hyper-target prime prospects.
Basic economic stats are favorable, amongst the best in the LatAm region, showing more stability in the face of the prevailing economic uncertainty. The retail sector is strong, despite these economic headwinds; more brands are arriving in Chile, and more retail establishments opening.
To sum up, Chile is business-friendly and brands are increasingly part of a varied and sophisticated consumer identity – a professional “look”, the “best” technology, a well-dressed home, suitable car, well-educated children and so on. Chile is open for business, both through bricks and mortar and via clicks online.