A Look at a Few Major Catalog Markets
The fall of trade barriers, a maturing domestic market and the explosion of the World Wide Web have combined to make entry into the global marketplace attractive for U.S. catalogers. Going global is a two-part equation. The first part is the decision to market internationally. The second part of the equation is where to market.
First and foremost, you must get an idea of the scale of the market, including its size and potential as well as the maturity of the channel of distribution. After narrowing it down to a few potential markets, you need to do some in-country research. You need to consider, as a whole, the market potential and logistics.
Here’s a look at a few global markets where catalogers might consider doing business.
Latin America is a region heating up for U.S. and multinational direct marketing companies. There seems to be an increased level of interest in Latin American databases, and the entire region is getting a lot of positive press as a strong Internet growth arena over the next decade.
Historically, catalog development and sales have been hindered in Latin America by wild inflationary spirals, poor delivery mechanisms, low credit card and telephone penetration and an underdeveloped list business.
Times have changed. Latin America has won its fight against uncontrolled inflation, and good quality databases are becoming available. In addition, privatization of local and regional telecoms has improved telephone service and access, and local postal administrations have improved mail delivery.
The good news for U.S. catalogers is that the market is still open and underdeveloped. And key local players are amenable to joint ventures with U.S. companies.
We’ll focus on the catalog industry in two countries, Brazil and Mexico. This does not mean the rest of Latin America doesn’t have a catalog presence. Argentina’s star performer, Sprayette, has been in business for 22 years. Chile and Venezuela also have strong representative companies, as do many other nations.