Mexico Middle class consumers look for Made in USA .pdf

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Consumer Lifestyles in Mexico: Middle-class consumers
look for 'Made in USA'
Opinion | 04 Oct 2013

Jennifer Elster

Despite a recent slowdown, robust consumer

Consumer Lifestyles'

spending has been clearly been one of the
key drivers of economic growth—and dynamic
social change—in the complex country of
Mexico. Indeed, since 2008 consumer

spending, particularly by members of Mexico’s burgeoning middle class, grew by nearly
8% (in real terms) to reach Mx$9.96 trillion in 2012. Not surprisingly, retail analysts
and market researchers have been working hard to identify and understand the
shopping and buying habits of the country’s consumers, and as they’ve conducted
their research one curious product preference has stood out: they’ve got to be made
in America.
A recent article in the Washington Post described a trade mission undertaken by
Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper who said “one of the most amazing” sights he
saw was a Costco. He told the newspaper “It was as big, clean and modern as any in
America,” adding that he found the aisles filled with shoppers bearing “nothing but
positive feelings toward the United States”.

The article went on to describe a Costco store in the Mexico City suburbs, where
“shoppers browse shelves loaded with pallets of Kirkland vitamins, value packs of
Nature Valley granola bars and sacks of Cape Cod kettle-cooked potato chips…Even
the walls in the butcher aisle boast the ‘USDA Premium’ and ‘USDA Choice’ labels, in
English”. Noting the frequent travel to the US and the fact that 32 million people of
Mexican descent live up north, the article observed “Mexico’s middle class has come to
equate American-made products with higher quality, even if the products cost slightly
Consumer Expenditure, ADI and GDP 2007-2012

Page 1 of 3

Source: Euromonitor International
When they can, many Mexican consumers cross the border into cities such as El Paso,
Texas, to scoop up a wide range of American-made products. Indeed, cross-border
shopping has become so popular that retailers in El Paso’s sister city across the Rio,
Ciudad Juárez, now offer ‘discount weekends’ before big shopping periods—such as the
weeks before Christmas—to keep shoppers on home ground.
Describing the effort in 2012, an article in the El Paso Times noted “The business
venture is part of ‘El Buen Fin,’ or ‘The Good Weekend,’ which will take place
nationwide Friday to Monday. In Juárez, the program is targeting local consumers to
shop in the city before Black Friday, when stores in the US are mobbed by shoppers
the day after Thanksgiving. More than 1,000 businesses, including local and national
retailers, such as Walmart, Soriana and Liverpool, are participating in the program…
Although most businesses will offer discounts of 20% to 30%, some will cut their prices
in half or more”.
Dennis Melonas, executive director of the El Paso Central Business Association, said he
was unimpressed, telling the paper that he did not believe that El Buen Fin would
discourage Mexican shoppers from crossing to El Paso. “The numbers speak for
themselves,” he said, “250,000 people cross on foot at PDN (Paso del Norte Bridge)
every month. I don’t think this month—or even this weekend—will be any different”.
As Mexico’s middle class expands in coming years and, in turn, as disposable incomes
of newly affluent consumers continue to increase, it is doubtful that demand for
American-made products will significantly decline. On the other hand, it is likely that
these products will become increasingly available in local retailers and hypermarkets,
making it more convenient for consumers to drive down to the nearby mall rather than
to over the PDN. Indeed, there has been spectacular growth in the number of modern
retail chains opening new outlets throughout the country and nearly all will offer
Mexican consumers the quality ‘Made in the USA’ products they crave.
Further analysis has been drawn together by Euromonitor International’s Consumer
Lifestyles analysts. To read the full report click here.

Page 2 of 3

For further information please contact Jennifer Elster, Project Manager Consumer
Lifestyles at Euromonitor International;

© Euromonitor International 2015

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