IHA Offices and Representatives
IHA brought insights from around the world to Global Forum attendees with short presentations by its offices in varied regions. At the close of the final presentation, all joined in a group discussion to respond audience questions.
Tom Johnston & Lourdes Ramirez – IHA Office for Mexico, Central America, Caribbean
- In-store department stores sales have been recovering since June and online sales have increased for department stores, grocery stores and general merchandise stores. Some stores reported online sales increases for the second quarter of nearly five times over the same period in 2019.
- International chains like Ikea (Sweden) and Hema (Netherlands) maintain plans to establish physical stores in Mexico in the near future.
- Despite the pandemic, new malls are still planned and brick & mortar is still alive and well. New malls are planned for Mexico City and other cities in Mexico within the coming year.
- Black-Friday-type-sales are growing in popularity. The discount periods are being expanded for “Buen Fin” instore sales and “HotSale” online sales.
- People are cooking more and eating at home because they are concerned about eating at restaurants. Retailers are taking advantage of this and competing with sales on home cooking needs and doing well with cleaning products.
Johnson and Ramirez spoke in detail about retailers enjoying success in each of these trends and provided buyer names and contact information.
Alex Pinheiro – IHA Representative for Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, Bolivia
- Online sales grew tremendously. Some retailers reported they grew in one year to levels they forecast for five years.
- Due to lockdown and increased time indoors, households are cooking, organizing, decorating and arranging their home offices and gardens. The overall market for housewares products is very strong and offers many opportunities. Online media is also propelling demand.
- Shopping malls and non-essential stores were closed for more than three months. Grocery stores and food retailers were the only stores open and customers began to find new products previously never purchased at grocery/food stores. There is new demand at stores previously not considered for better quality home and housewares products.
- New demand for home organization due to amount of time that people are spending in their homes. More products and additional brands are needed.
- Freight costs from China have increased drastically and so have factory delays. Suppliers that can sell from a North American warehouse now have an opportunity to take advantage of immediate availability of product and lower freight costs to Latin America.
Pinheiro provided detailed interpretations of these trends. He commented on opportunities at specific retailers and included preferences of category buyers at key retailers and their contact information.
Catalina Moscoso – IHA representative for Colombia, Ecuador
- Cencosud entered a partnership with online platform, Cornershop, a rapidly growing supermarket delivery service. The partnership will allow Cornershop’s customers to shop easily from Jumbo, Wong, Metro, Santa Isabel, Preunic, Easy and G. Barbosa without additional charges
- MercadoLibre is the most valuable country in LATAM according to Economatica Consulting. The pandemic has brought online consumer shopping to an all-time high. MercadoLibre has grown over 200% in LATAM.
- Grupo Éxito continues to be the industry leader in retail in Colombia, with sales representing almost 30% of the total sales of the top 10 retailers in Colombia. It is followed by Alkosto and Olimpíca.
- Hard discounters continue as major competition to Colombia’s top retailers. Major discounters have reached US$10.7 billion in sales (2019) and have more than 2,900 stores combined.
- Alkosto, Colombia’s second largest hypermarket, has earned its position due to dynamic activity in Colombia’s major cities, offering competitive discounts, particularly in small electrics. Alkosto has become the go-to retailer for kitchen electronics and because they sell essential products. They were open during lockdown which strengthened sales.
CK Nair – IHA Representative for India
With households spending more time together at home, many categories of home and housewares products have seen growth during the pandemic, including small kitchen appliances, tools and gadgets, dining/tabletop products, table linens, bakeware, cookware, smart cooking solutions, smart storage and laundry products.
Nair outlined opportunities in specific categories and stores that are successful in these categories. He listed buyer contact information at key retailers.
After the last presentation all of the speakers came on screen to answer audience questions about their markets. All addressed store closures, Covid-19 precautions in physical stores and consumer confidence. They commented on inventory supply issues, import duties, shipping and retail pricing changes. The discussion included guidance on working with distributors vs. direct to retailer for developing brand presence in a new market and language regulations for packaging. The representatives discussed cultural traditions in their countries regarding employed domestic help and how the pandemic impacted practices and demand for kitchen, laundry and cleaning products.
For more information on the Global Forum presenters, contact Lori Szudarek, IHA senior manager, member and international buyer relations, at +1.847.692.016 or email Lszudarek@housewares.org.