UPS report shows import trends in Costa Rica

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

UPS recently released the company’s latest export index focusing on small and medium-sized importers in Latin America such as those in Costa Rica.

The UPS Business Monitor Export Index Latin America sought to identify importer characteristics and assess purchasing behaviors of certain sectors within the importer economy of the Americas. To simplify the results, UPS chose four industries to focus on: industrial manufacturing, automotive, apparel and high-tech.

The sectors were then identified based on a cross section of four variables: high participation in U.S. trade, high participation in intra-regional Latin American trade, demand or use of express courier service and the estimated density of exporters. After 2,170 interviews, the findings relayed some industry as much as country-specific trends.

According to the report, 80 percent of apparel importers in Brazil and Costa Rica did not purchase their imported products online and that 74 percent of persons involved generally in the automotive sector did not purchase online either.

At the same time, Costa Rica was unique in the study’s findings as being one of a few continuously opting for finding new suppliers in nearly all the sectors sampled.

“In most of the countries surveyed, the responses were almost evenly divided 50:50, leaning slightly higher toward not searching for new suppliers in every case except Costa Rica, which was the only country out of the nine where the tables were turned with 56 percent seeking new suppliers,” the report said.

Moreover, the responses also indicated a wider regional trend that a supplier’s website has an impact on the assessment of a potential vendor with at least 60 percent of those sampled in Costa Rica agreeing with that finding.

E-commerce in apparel is equally on the rise, according to UPS, with smaller markets like Costa Rica leading the growth. When asked about the main operating barriers in importing, Costa Rican companies said overwhelmingly that delivery delays were the main problems with additional import costs and domestic logistics such as when a product clears customs also being tied for second place. The study did not label Aduana restrictions as being among the worst. It was underwhelming and average by comparison.

The study concludes by noting the opportunities available to exporters and suppliers within Costa Rica as it was one of two countries that consistently requested and were actively looking for new suppliers, UPS said.

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