LATAM Research Considerations 

 
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The LATAM area consists of four geographical regions, thirty-three countries and is home to over 655 million people (source: 2019 www.worldometers.info).
 
Its population, natural resources and growth (in some countries) make it an area of great strategic opportunity for many companies.

Just a quick glance at country statistics reveals significant differences in terms of size and economic performance and that is before considering the social and political differences between each nation.

 

Latest information about the region and countries can be found in the resource page


 

 

Importance of cultural understanding

 

Success within the region requires looking deeper than general stereotypes. Although only two languages are spoken across the region, the shared language does not always equate to shared values and behaviours. This can have an important impact on brand positioning and marketing activities as well as how market research findings are interpreted. 

The need for up-to-date market information

Another important aspect of the region is its energy and volatility. The crisis in Venezuela and election of Jair Bolsonaro as Brazil’s president illustrate the relative instability in the region and the speed with which situations can change. 

Having accurate, up-to-date information is critical for businesses operating in or considering entry into the area. 

Research challenges and opportunities

Getting good quality information is certainly more difficult in LATAM when compared to European countries or the US, emphasising the need for local understanding and more creative approaches.

Below we highlight some of the main considerations that can affect the research methodology. 

Published information:

  • Sources are limited, updated infrequently and vary considerably in terms of overall quality.

  • Information sources are less accessible online, requiring local connections and knowledge of sources.

  • Published information quickly becomes out of date.

  • Corruption varies by country and can distort published information in terms of availability, quality and impartiality. This is especially the case where the information has financial implications such as reported company turnover.

Technology infrastructure:

  • B2B and B2C databases are often poorly maintained leading to additional lead qualification and wasted effort.

  • Internet penetration is improving but remains low among the lower socio-economic groups. 

  • Landline and desktop P.C. penetration is lower compared with European countries.  Smartphones can often be the only way that people connect.  

  • Internet connection stability and speed can vary significantly by country, city and neighbourhood and can be better in public places than in people's homes.  

  • How and where people connect can have an impact on research.    

  • Online panels are growing, but quality can be an issue as people can mislead to earn incentives.

Traffic:

  • In many cities, traffic is very heavy. This can result in:

    • People being late to groups.

    • People take part in research from cafes, because they would not have enough time to get home after work.  

Cultural differences:

  • An absence of trust is often seen in both professional and day-to-day interactions until relationships have been established.

  • LATAM businesses are considerably less likely to respond to telephone or online research and are less willing to share information compared with their European counterparts.

  • Financial research, especially, needs to be approached with sensitivity. 

  • Limited intellectual property protection and its lack of enforcement means that clients need to be sensitive to the information they share. 

 
 

Local experts are an invaluable part of the market research process, essential for building rapport with respondents and critical to delivering real understanding. 


 

We are always happy to share our knowledge and help without any obligation.