8 Latin American Countries with Positive Retail Development & Ad Opportunities

The 2014 Global Retail Development Index™ from AT Kearney reports a positive future for Latin America in the retail sector. Ad buyers take note: Eight of the 30 ranked nations in the GRDI are from the Latin American region, including Chile where continual and steady growth earned the country a leading position for the first time.

Each of these Latin American countries differed in the places where they did or didn’t see retail development – the audiences, the industries, the formats of retail, the amount of growth and more. To better understand how this can provide you with highly targeted and desirable media placement opportunities for both online and brick-and-mortar stores, let’s examine each ranked Latin American country’s growth in a bit more detail and present some advertising opportunities that coincide.

Countries Booming in the Retail Sector


Chile is expected to continue growing with $98.52 billion in retail sales for 2013, predicted to increase by 13 percent in the next four years. Not only does it display healthy growth, it also has the lowest rate of grocery retail sales in the region, proving an existing market for “nonessential” or “aspirational” goods. Hundreds of thousands of square meters of urban shopping spaces like malls, plazas and shopping centers will be developed by 2015, including 215 stores and 16 shopping centers from national retail leader, Falabella. Meanwhile, in the suburbs, less expensive stores and small boutiques flourish. Online shopping is also on the rise as 70 percent of the population is online and these online shoppers made as many as six digital purchases within the past year, and numbers are expected to grow.

Zara-homeAlso near the top, Uruguay placed third for the second year in a row. Uruguay is a popular tourist destination, particularly with Argentinians, and its retail growth is expected to boom from both domestic demand and tourism spending. This status is reflected in the new Hilton Garden Inn in the Montevideo shopping center (also the location of the Uruguay’s first Zara Home store) and Donald Trump’s first South American development in beachside retail hub, the Trump Tower Punta del Este.

Retail focus for Peru, 13th on the GRDI, is on the middle class, who prioritizes both high quality and affordable pricing. The country’s retail hub is also its capital city, Lima, which houses over half the country’s malls. Panama (14th) and Costa Rica (24th) boast growing and attractive markets. Panama even features the first ever Nickelodeon store as well as expanding international retailers such as Michael Kors, American Eagle Outfitters, Gap, Ted Baker and more.

Countries Rebuilding in the Retail Sector

e-commerceSurprisingly, Brazil, one of Latin America’s biggest retail locations dropped from first place in 2012 and 2013 to fifth place in 2014 on the GRDI. Brazil experienced slowed growth this year; however, the country’s online shopping is increasing by leaps and bounds, including amazon.com.br launched in February. Retailers may find e-commerce as a road to the future in Brazil. An increase in digital sales doesn’t mean shoppers have abandoned brick-and-mortar stores. In fact, the first Apple store in all of Latin America opened in Rio de Janeiro in 2014 and Forever 21 opened stores in six cities alongside established brands Gap, Topshop and Zara. Still a strong and growing tourist destination, by 2018 CVC travel agency will expand its 800 existing stores by more than a hundred.

Colombia dropped three spots to 21 on the list, but the outlook is still optimistic with increased household spending and lower unemployment. Plans to increase retail sales are developing. $170.5 million are being invested in the development of a new mall in Barranquilla. Shopping galleries and malls are expanding to accommodate the large percentage of purchases made at Colombia’s shopping centers. Meanwhile, online fashion retailer, Dafiti, is spending $250 million to expand their online presence for the growing digital market.

Mexico, the lowest ranked Latin American country included on the GRDI, has fallen to 25th place. Low-income families still prefer local mom-and-pop stores due to transport availability and cost. The country’s largest retailer, Walmart, reported its worst sales since 1997. Despite this decline, online shopping is gaining momentum and the digital market is expected to be a positive place in Mexico’s retail future.

Retail, Advertising, and Latin America

Successful ad placement in the Latin American retail sector can be achieved through a focused newspaper supplement in exclusive publications with extensive reach, like O Globo in Brazil or El Tiempo in Colombia, or through magazine advertising in fashion or lifestyle titles such as Marie Claire in Brazil, Caras in Colombia or Cosas in Chile.

Almost all the Latin American countries are expanding their digital reach this year. Targeted campaigns to online shops and physical stores on mobile and desktop websites can be a strong influence on shoppers to buy.

As so many Latin American countries are building shopping malls, advertisers are provided with additional out-of-home ad space opportunities. Mall advertising is beneficial for both retail and nonretail brands reaching a growing consumer base as they shop.

Multimedia specializes in international media placement, understands the Latin American markets and has extensive experience in the retail sector. Our well-established relationships with publications in these regions and around the globe provide our clients with exclusive and targeted placement opportunities.

Contact us to learn about the advertising opportunities we can help you set up in Latin America today.


Image Sources:

Nicholas Eckhart via photopin cc

thinkretail via photopin cc

StormKatt via photopin cc