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UPS Reveals Opportunity for Canadian Businesses in Latin America

Nearly half of importers in the region are looking for new international suppliers in various industries, including growing automotive sector

MISSISSAUGA, ON, July 13, 2017 – UPS (NYSE:UPS) 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 per cent 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 nine countries included in the survey include: Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Panama, Peru and the United States.

“The BMEI study provides importers and exporters with a deeper understanding of the purchasing dynamics of SMEs in Latin America,” 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 study highlights the importance that importers place on the quality of the products they buy, which is as critical as price, but the automotive industry in particular places great value on other key considerations.

“The importance of logistics and shipping solutions provided by the vendor, as well as flexible payment terms, are two elements that must be considered by exporters to address these markets,” said Craig Rayner, vice president of automotive, UPS Canada.

“Canadian exporters in this sector would be well served to initiate trade activities in markets with existing trade agreements in place and, where possible, a local industry that is open to international competition.”

Main Study Insights

According to this year’s study, 47 per cent of Latin American importers are looking for new international suppliers, which suggests an opportunity for Canadian exporters to find new buyers. Industry fairs and trade shows were cited as the most frequently used channel for finding new suppliers at 28 per cent, followed by trade missions at 21 percent.

In the region, 21 percent of respondents indicated they expect potential suppliers to contact them, which reflects an opportunity for proactive Canadian 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 five percent 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 percent) indicating they do not contact suppliers.

Importers indicated the top two product attributes influencing their purchasing decision were quality (97 percent) and price (87 percent) followed by seller services, such as, flexibility in payment terms and after-sales services.

In the industrial manufacturing sector, almost half (45 percent) of companies surveyed indicated that they import raw materials and basic inputs for production. This result is fully aligned with the nature of industrial manufacturing in the Americas, where domestic factories import their production inputs.

In addition, over half (56 percent) of industrial manufacturing importers looking for new suppliers use internet search engines to contact them, and 34 percent said potential suppliers contact them directly via email, from which it can be inferred that online communications are a viable channel for exporters to reach out to new potential customers.

For the automotive sector, Colombia, Costa Rica and Peru have the highest percentage of importers looking for new suppliers and the most marked tendency toward digital behaviour.

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 percent), as well as the more frequent and varied use of online promotional tools.

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.

Warranty policies and product certifications were named as the most valued content on a potential supplier’s website.

For more information and press materials on the BMEI study, please visit


About 2017 UPS Business Monitor™ Export Index Latin America

The BMEI Study included interviews from 2,170 individuals responsible for international purchases from the following industries: Industrial Manufacturing (36 percent), Automotive (22 percent), Apparel (21 percent) and High-Tech (21 percent). The study was conducted in nine countries including: Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Panama, Peru and the United States. A sample per country was defined based on the size ratio between each market with a margin of error between +/- 4.7% and +/- 9.1%. The respondents were asked a series of questions using a CATI (computer-assisted telephone interviewing) system. The selected importers completed at least five transactions in the 12 months prior to the interview. The BMEI was commissioned by UPS (NYSE:UPS) and conducted by the RGX Global Export Network.

About UPS

UPS (NYSE: UPS) is a global leader in logistics, offering a broad range of solutions including transporting packages and freight; facilitating international trade, and deploying advanced technology to more efficiently manage the world of business. Headquartered in Atlanta, UPS serves more than 220 countries and territories worldwide. The company can be found on the web at® or and its corporate blog can be found at To get UPS news direct, follow @UPS_Canada on Twitter.