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Distribution

Types of Outlet

Supermarkets
Self-service commercial establishments offering food products, personal care items, clothing and home supplies.
Walmart, Comercial Mexicana, Soriana and Chedraui
Specialty stores
Huge areas where one can find special products: hardware, linens, furniture, home remodeling items, stationary, electronics and toys.
Hermanos Vázquez, Home Mart, LumenJuguetibici and RadioShack
Department stores
Large stores that sell famous brand names, national and international products, including clothing, perfumes, footwear, home supplies, electronics and gourmet foods.
El Palacio de Hierro and Sears
Discount stores
Self-service stores that offer good quality products at wholesale and retail prices. They require customer membership.
Costco
Shopping centres
Spacious areas located in busy sections of the cities which group together stores and service establishments, including supermarkets, department stores, banks, beauty and health spas, movie theaters, restaurants and fast food places.
 Centro Santa Fe,
Markets and 'tianguis'
Areas reserved for merchants to offer their goods: personal care and esoteric products, plants and flowers, fresh produce, cooked food and handicrafts.  Prices are very reasonable.

'Tianguis' are groups of merchants that install themselves in a particular place one or two days per week and they offer products similar to the ones found in big markets. Prices can be negotiated.
Mercado de Sonora, Mercado de la Merced, and Tianguis de México.

Corner stores
64% of personal shopping supplies can be bought at these small establishments where merchants offer products of daily household use and consumption at reasonable prices as well as personalized service. They also offer advice to their loyal customers.  They sell: food products, dry goods, stationary, flowers, tortillas, hardware, etc.
 

Evolution of the Retail Sector

Growth and Regulation
Mexico has over 129 million consumers, making it the second largest market in Latin America after Brazil. The retail sector recorded current value growth of 7.4 percent per year and major multinationals and local companies continue to expand throughout Mexico in the different segments, signalling that opportunities will continue. The retail environment in Mexico is increasingly competitive due to fierce competition, fast expansion plans, challenges such as multichannel strategies and consumers being more demanding regarding their needs, as well as new value added services offering an interactive and unique shopping experience.

According to USDA Foreign Agricultural Service, supermarkets represent 51.7 percent of total retail sales (mainly groceries), followed by general merchandise stores with a sales share of 30.2 percent, with shoes and clothing stores representing 18.1 percent. Importantly these numbers represent only “formal” retail, informal retail has a large presence in Mexico.

According to the Mexican Association of Nationwide Retailers (ANTAD), there are 33 supermarket chains, with 58,777 stores throughout the country. Still, nearly 50 percent of the retail market is covered by informal establishments, such as mobile street vendors and open public markets. These points of sale traditionally distribute local, domestic products.

Lead retailers such as El Puerto de Liverpool SAC de CV, Copper SA de CV and Walmart de Mexico SAB de CV, among others, are expected to continue their growth and success, pushing the retail industry to grow via new outlets and e-commerce around the country. Internet retailing was the most dynamic retail channel in Mexico. New players entered the e-commerce competitive landscape, including City Market and Chedraui as well as some newly apps like "Corner Shop" and “Rappi”

Leading retailers will need to improve their customer service in order to maintain their competitive edge. A black hole in the Mexican economy is the informal sector and this also includes the retail market. According to data from the National Survey of Occupation and Employment (ENOE) around 56 percent of the country’s workforce was in the informal sector.
Market share

The top national retailers:

  • Walmart de Mexico y Centroamerica leads the retail market in Mexico. Walmart’s main store formats include Superama (a medium size supermarket), Walmart Supercenters (hypermarkets), and Sam’s Club (warehouse clubs). As of 2018, all three business formats had internet retailing as well. Moreover, there is Bodega Aurrera, the Walmart outlet that targets lower-income consumers, with no plans to enter the e-commerce subsector.
  • Soriana has several different formats to meet the demands of different population segments. With the acquisition of the 160 stores from Comercial Mexicana in 2015, Soriana became the second largest retail company in Mexico after Wal-Mart, with 824 outlets across Mexico. Soriana manages five store-based retailing formats: Hypermarkets (Hipermercado Soriana), supermarkets (Supermercado Soriana), discounters (Mercado Soriana and Soriana Express), convenience stores (Super City) and warehouse stores (City Club). Following the strategy of offering new products and services to its clients, Soriana started to include health centres at its hypermarkets and supermarkets, providing medical services at very low prices.
  • Controladora Comercial Mexicana is the third largest retailer and gives priority to the development of high-end grocery sector through its formats Fresko and City Market, which have wide variety of imported and health-focused international products especially sourced from Europe.
Retail Sector Organisations
Ministry of the Economy: Ministry of Industry and Commerce
Mexico National Retail Association
 

E-commerce

Internet access
With the goal of universal connectivity, internet access was instituted as a constitutional right of all citizens of Mexico by the telecommunications reform of 2013.  There are currently 85 million Internet users in Mexico, which represents 63% of the population over the age of six. Increased connectivity has spurred the growth of Mexico’s emerging digital economy. There were 86.3 million smartphone users in Mexico in 2017, and that number is expected to grow to 90.7 million by 2020. The most popular search engines are Google (94.86%), Bing (3.31%), Yahoo! (1.64%), MSN (0.08%), DuckDuckGo (0.06%), Ask Jeeves (0.02%).
E-commerce market
E-commerce sales revenue in 2017 was US$ 21 billion, a figure that is expected to reach US$ 39 billion by 2021. Online shopping currently represents 2% of the country’s roughly $203 billion in annual retail sales, representing a huge opportunity as Mexicans have only begun to adopt e-commerce. There are currently 37.9 million online shoppers in Mexico—a figure that is projected to reach 55.3 million by 2020. Although many Mexicans browse products on mobile, they’re more likely to make the final purchase on desktop. 70% of Mexican online shoppers purchase using desktops, while 25% purchase using mobile devices. Mexico’s BtoC market is much more developed than its business to business (B2B) market. In 2017, the Mexican B2C e-commerce turnover grew by 26.21% to US$ 4.8 billion. In 2016, personal electronics were the largest category, with a market spend of US$ 2.9 million. Fashion will bypass personal electronics by 2020 and generate US$ 4.9 million of e-commerce revenue.
E-commerce sales and customers
Segmenting users into gender and age groups shows that, in line with global trends, younger users are the most likely to use e-commerce. However, men between the ages of 25-44 are more likely to shop online than women. By 2020, men between the ages of 16 and 44 will have a US$ 236 million market share, compared to women of the same age accounting for US$ 199 million. When not taking gender into account, 32% of buyers are in the 25 to 34 age bracket, followed by 18 to 24 (31%) and 35 to 44 (17%). Laptops and computers are the preferred device when it comes to shopping online. However, mobile shopping is growing, and 45% of Mexicans make mobile purchases every month. Of online shoppers, 44% use only Mexican sites for their purchases, 39% use Mexican and foreign sites, and 5% use foreign sites only. Of the foreign websites, the US accounts for 48% of all Mexico’s imports, followed by China, Japan, South Korea and Germany. Popular online payment methods are credit cards (64%), direct bank deposit (12%), online wire transfer (11%) and cash in participating convenience stores (9%).
Social media
Social media is incredibly popular in Mexico, especially among people in the 20 to 30 age range, with 96% of people in that group using at least one social media platform. Internet users in Mexico are spending an average of 3.5 hours on social networking platforms, a number which is steadily on the rise. In the country, 81% of internet users access the internet daily. Mexico is the fifth largest market in the world for Facebook, at 50 million users, with rapid growths also for Instagram and Pinterest. The most popular social networks are Facebook (75.6%), Pinterest (9.98%), Twitter (5.46%), YouTube (5.06%), Instagram (1.84%), Tumblr (0.67%).

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Distance selling

Evolution of the Sector
The World Federation of Direct Selling Associations (WFDSA) 2017 report shows retail direct selling in Mexico grew 2%, was valued at USD 5.887 billion, and involved 2,728,168 independent representatives. Another 2017 WFDSA report divides retail sales as follows: cosmetics and health care (48%); wellness (34%); household goods and durables (12%); and clothing and accessories (6%).

According to Euromonitor International, direct selling is the largest non-store channel for Mexican consumers (over three quarters of non-store retail sales, which includes internet retailing, vending, and home shopping). Mexicans prefer face-to-face shopping compared to other, less personal options. The leading direct selling company in 2017 was Herbalife International de México. Mary Kay Cosméticos, Oriflame de México, and Amway also saw double-digit growth. Other companies such as Stanhome - a manufacturer and distributor of home care products - have combined direct selling with physical store presence.

The Asociación Mexicana de Ventas Directas promotes best practices in the industry.
 

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Latest Update: June 2022