Monthly Archives

November 2018

Black Friday in Spain: A formula that works

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Black Friday is a commercial formula imported from the United States that inaugurates the Christmas shopping season. It is celebrated one day after “Thanksgiving”, that is to say, the fourth Friday of November. There is no unanimity on the origin of its denomination, why Black Friday? For some people, the reason is that this day refers to the time when the trades red numbers become black. On the other hand, others attribute the “black” qualifier to its use on November 19, 1975, by The New York Times, referring to the chaos that had occurred as a result of the “Thanksgiving” discounts.[1]

Nevertheless, its practice in Spain is more recent. In our country, Apple was the first to introduce Black Friday in 2010. However, it was not consolidated until 2012, when the realization of sales was authorized at any moment of the year. It was precisely in this moment when its practice turned viral. This tendency is major in department and multinational stores, whereas in small shops it is still timid.[2]

What is bought at the Black Friday?

According to the Cetelem Observatory 2018, last year the products that were most bought were, respectively, fashion (43%), appliances and technology (32%), mobile devices (31%) and footwear and accessories (29%). The following is a more detailed look at the products and services acquired in 2017 on the occasion of the Black Friday:Black Friday products- Dos Aguas BlogThe average expenditure for the Black Friday 2018 was €280, which implies 13% more than the previous year. 44% of consumers were in the spending range of between 100 and €300 (44%), while 18% stated they intended to spend between €300 and
€500, and 10% between €500 and €1,000.[3]

Black Friday and consumers

Consumers are one of the main elements in the design of the strategy to be used when it is about to celebrate the Black Friday. Because of that, the comprehension of the norms relative to the protection of the consumer is vital, as well as the work that the OCU (Spanish Organization of Consumers and Users) realizes on this matter. In fact, this organization monitor the prices of the products a month before Black Friday to analyze if the announced deals really constitute a discount. Among its main conclusions for this edition, during the week of Black Friday 37.1% of the products were cheaper than on the 23rd of October, and only 22.2% of them were more expensive than in the previous month.

In addition, the lowest prices were found in the sales of capsule coffeemakers, TVs and summer tires, while minor changes have been observed in small appliances such as fryers or microwaves.[4]

Do you want your Business to celebrate Black Friday?

Joining this trend is a guarantee of success, especially if you have an online store.  Indeed, 50% of consumers stated that they would make their purchases in this way against 12% that would do so in a physical store. From Dos Aguas Consulting we offer advice and resolve all queries you may have regarding Black Friday. We can turn Black Friday into your favorite day of the year!

Sources:

[1] Elena Sanz (2018) ¿Qué es el ‘Black Friday’?, Muy Historia. Available online (link) [Last accessed: 28.11.2018]

[2] El Periódico (16 de noviembre de 2018) ¿Qué es el Black Friday? Origen y desde cuándo se hace en España, El Periódico. Available online (link) [Last accessed: 28.11.2018]

[3] El Observatorio Cetelem (2018) El gasto durante el BLACK FRIDAY de los españoles, page: 9. Available online (link) [Last accessed: 28.11.2018]

[4] Organización de Consumidores y Usuarios (26 de noviembre de 2018) Black Friday 2018: ¿bajan los precios?, OCU. Available online (link) [Last accessed: 28.11.2018]

Mapa riesgos politicos- Dos Aguas Blog

How to protect my company from political risks?

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Political instability in a country has a direct impact on its trade. In recent years, there have been many elements that have affected trade relations at an international level. As a consequence, global trade protectionism has increased and the position that the President of the United States has been defending has marked a wake of uncertainty in global markets. In Europe, the UK’s negotiations to leave the European Union continue to appear on the region’s political-risk scenario. Likewise, as the negotiations continue, the risk of the UK leaving without a satisfactory agreement increases, and companies may need to be prepared for such an event.

Political risk is defined as the risk arising from the political and economic circumstances of the country with trade interests. In this way, the level of political risk will vary depending on the country. This risk is mainly caused by the political measures of the country’s authorities, which may affect the ability of its residents to carry out transactions, or even to breach the contract.[1] This situation raises the question, how to act in the face of a political risk?

From a business point of view, the types of action against these risks are classified into two different models: active and non-active.

Active modes of action

Active action implies, for example, hiring export credit insurance. This instrument is a hedging mechanism that protects exporters against both ordinary and extraordinary risks arising from international trade. They shall, therefore, be compensated for the damage caused by events which may impede the collection or recovery of credits agreed abroad. For example, in Spain, the Spanish Company of Export Credit Insurance (in Spanish, Compañía Española de Seguros de Crédito a la Exportación-CESCE) offers a wide range of products that enable companies to cover the political and commercial risks they have in their business operations and international investment (export operations, sales on the domestic market, foreign investment, resolution of contracts, work abroad, implementation of securities clearing operations, etc). CESCE covers the short-term commercial risks, both inside and outside Spain, as well as the state long-term commercial and political risks in all its periods, in relation to the external activity of the companies.[2]

Another instrument to take into consideration is forfaiting operations which is a modality of export financing, that consists of the commercial discount that the exporter receives to implement the deferred payment of commercial purchase/sale operations. These are instruments that are likely to be financed such as letters and promissory notes, both with the endorsement of front-line banks. The time allowed is usually between 6 months and 5 years.[3] The virtuality of this instrument is that it implies the assurance of the collection of the export by the exporter.[4]

Non-active modes of action

The non-active mode of action is the observance and analysis of the country risk, that is to say, the study of the country’s qualification with regard to its political risk. Thus, the types of risks to be analyzed are the following:

  • Sovereign risk. The risk of the creditors of the States or of entities guaranteed by them, since any legal action against the borrower could be ineffective.
  • Transfer risk. This is the risk that foreign creditors have against residents in a country when they unable to cope with their debts because they do not have enough currencies for that debt.
  • Risks arising from the international financial activity. These are the risks that can be covered by the export credit insurance.[5]

It must be pointed out that this analysis will always depend on the institution that performs it and the variables that it uses. For example, after the economic crisis of 2008 and the fall of Lehman Brothers (which had obtained the highest qualification), these agencies suffered a great loss of credibility and proved that they may not work as an instrument against the risk generated by Economic and/or political instabilities.

However, beyond big companies, there are also other companies and agencies that are dedicated to the analysis and localization of political risks such as MARSH, which makes a map and detailed study of all countries worldwide. Here we can see the map of the year 2018:

https://www.dosaguasconsulting.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/Political-risk-index-MARSH-Dos Aguas Blog

Source: MARSH

In conclusion, these instruments are useful for identifying and mitigating the effects of political risks on international trade operations, and for providing security in our international activities. Do you have any doubts? Don’t hesitate to contact us!

Sources:

[1] Guillermo Rivas-Plata Sierra et al.  (2008) ¿Cómo operar en el Comercio Internacional?, Agroleader+, page: 79. Available online (link) [Last accessed: 22.11.2018]

[2] Ministerio de Industria, Comercio y Turismo (2018) Cobertura por cuenta del Estado de los riesgos de la internacionalización de la economía española: CESCE, Gobierno de España’s website. Available online (link) [Last accessed: 22.11.2018]

[3] Fermín Pérez Aguilera (2017) Manual. Puesta en marcha y financiación de pequeños negocios o microempresas, Editorial CEP, page:91.

[4] Consejo Superior de Cámaras de Comercio. Plan Cameral de las Exportaciones (2018) ¿Qué es el Forfaiting?, Cámaras’ website. Available online (link) [Last accessed: 22.11.2018]

[5] Consejo Superior de Cámaras de Comercio. Plan Cameral de las Exportaciones (2018) ¿Cuáles son los instrumentos de cobertura del riesgo político y comercial?, Cámaras’ website. Available online (link) [Last accessed: 22.11.2018]

Brexit- Countries affected-Dos Aguas Blog

Brexit: Which countries will be affected the most?

By | International Relations, Trade News | No Comments

A few weeks ago the team of Dos Aguas Consulting wrote a blog about the current situation of Brexit. In that article it was analyzed the possible scenarios after Brexit, as well as the resulting consequences. In this new post, it will be discussed the countries that are going to be affected the most by this new situation.

The countries that will be affected the most by potential imposition of tariffs, rates and/or other trade barriers in the United Kingdom are those that export on a large scale to the country. Thus, according to exports data from the period between 2013-2017, these will be EU countries that have been benefited by the existence of a Common Market and the absence of trade barriers. In the next table it can be seen that the countries that will suffer a greater impact are the following:

Top 10 countries with the largest shares of imports to the UK (in thousands of euros)

Exporters UK-Europe- Dos Aguas

According to the Brexit Sensitivity Index (BSI) elaborated in 2016 by the rating agency Standard & Poor’s (S&P), the most affected country will be Ireland, followed by Malta, Luxembourg, and Cyprus. The aforementioned agency has established a ranking of the 20 countries that are most affected by migratory flows, exports to the UK foreign direct investment in the UK, and the demands of the financial sector on the institutions of the UK. In the following graph, Spain is placed in eighth position in a ranking that shows the impact on the financial sector. In this same graph it can be seen that the damage on exports is not as big.

Brexit-IndexAccording to the BSI, the Spanish exposure to the exit of the United Kingdom from the EU is notable. This index stresses the idea that the financial sector and the investments of Spanish companies in the UK will be weaker in this new scenario. It is also noticeable that, according to the BSI, the exposure of the Spanish economy is higher than that of countries such as France, Germany, and Italy due to the great interest that some of the main Spanish corporations have in UK.

The Spanish case

The exposure is particularly relevant in the British financial sector through the Santander and Sabadell banks (owners of TSB), as well as to the telecommunications companies. In this way, according to data from International Financial Analysts (Analistas Financieros Internacionales in Spanish), Santander UK would be depositary of 10% to 20 % of current British accounts, a percentage that in the case of TSB is estimated at around 5%. In 2015, Grupo Santander obtained 30% and Sabadell 17.2% of their net profit in the UK.[1]

Another sector highly affected will be telecommunications. According to IMF estimations and some economists, the possible deterioration of the economy in the United Kingdom could lead to a loss of value of the British subsidiary of Telefonica, O2.[2]

It is paradoxical that, despite Spain’s large market share in UK services, especially in tourism, exports of Spanish goods and services to the country is only 2.7% of its GDP, which represents 0.1% below Germany, and slightly above the average.[3]

Conclusion

In short, there is still no damage in the Spanish exports to the United Kingdom. However, it is true that Brexit is still not fully resolved and few dare to venture its long-term consequences.

The strategy of Dos Aguas Consulting is to provide information, security, and confidence in each step for business in both countries to tackle this new situation. Do not hesitate to contact us, we will be happy to answer your questions!

Sources:

[1] Luis Meyer (April 26th, 2017) Las empresas españolas que hubieran votado “NO” al “Brexit”, Ethic website (Link) Last accessed: 15.11.2018

[2] Luis Meyer (April 26th, 2017) Las empresas españolas que hubieran votado “NO” al “Brexit”, Ethic website (Link) Last accessed: 15.11.2018

[3] Funds Society (2016) S&P lanza un índice de sensibilidad al Brexit y sitúa a España como el octavo país más afectado, Funds Society (Link) Last accessed: 15.11.2018

Other consulted sources:

S&P Global (2016) Who Has The Most To Lose From Brexit? Introducing The Brexit Sensitivity Index, S&P Global Ratings (Link) Last accessed: 15.11.2018

H&M marketing-Dos Aguas Blog

A brief analysis of marketing mix. H&M’s case study

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According to the American Marketing Association, marketing is “an organizational function and a set of processes for creating, communicating, and delivering value to customers and for managing customer relationships in ways that benefit the organization and its stakeholders”. When a company wants to elaborate its international marketing plan, it is necessary to take into account the traditional 4 P: product (or service), price, place and promotion.

To understand how these concepts work, we are going to study the marketing strategy of H&M, one of the world’s leading  clothing and accessories’ retailer. H&M carries out elaborate advertising campaigns and marketing actions that combine global and local elements. This fact will allow us to better analyze the marketing mix own strategies and to have a broad picture of how marketing works at a business level.

First, H&M is one of the most relevant fashion companies in the world, with sales   reaching up to 210 billion SEK in 2015. H&M Group has six fashion brands – H&M, COS, Monki, & Other Stories, Weekday and Cheap Monday -, with more than 4,100 stores in 63 markets and presence in the electronic market in 32 countries. In addition, it employed approximately 123,178 people in 2017.[1]  Based on this, we will analyze its marketing strategy:

 

Strategic marketing proposal at a global level

Global marketing involves the implementation of a standardization strategy that consists in considering that the market  of a  product is global. Meaning that, despite the differences between nations, companies offer the same product in all markets. Thus, companies offer an international consistent image: the company can project a single universal image among all the citizens of the world.[2] The use of a global campaign aligns with the fact that the company belongs to the fashion world, where there is a homogenization of tastes and consumer demand is greater than in other sectors.

All of this means that H&M, to a greater extent, implements marketing campaigns at a global level. This is can been seen in the fact that H&M offers the same collection in all the countries where it has a presence. In fact, it carries out advertising campaigns with models and celebrities with international trajectories such as David Beckham, for men’s collections, or Gisele Bündchen or Vanessa Paradis, for women’s collections. Also, within this global strategy we can find the so-called “capsule collections” of famous designers, which are presented in selected stores around the world.

Thus, if we access H&M’s website in different countries, we see exactly how the same clothing collection is offered and with the same images, we can see this fact in the image that is shown after the autumn 2016 campaign.

Source: elaborated by Dos Aguas Consulting, using images of H&M websites in different countries. From left to right: Saudi Arabia, Russia, Spain and Japan.

Another element to keep in mind is the price that does not present great divergences in the countries where H&M offers its products.

 

Strategic marketing proposal at the local level

H&M Group also carries out a strategy of adapting its clothing lines to the cultural parameters and values ​​of the country in which it will stablish its market. Therefore, we observe elements of what is known as local marketing, that is, it carries out localization strategies. This implies a greater approach to the consumer since they adapt to the tastes, preferences and local values.

Although it is true the statement made in the previous activity where we defended the homogenization of the world of fashion, it is no less true that clothing is directly affected by the values ​​and customs of society. That is why the companies in the world of fashion are no strangers to it and a representative example of this strategy is that H&M adapts not only its product but also the publicity it carries out in countries with Islamic religion and culture.

Next, we can observe the advertising campaign of the company carried out in 2011 by Gisele Bündchen where it was adapted to the tenor of the country receiving it. In the image on the left we find the photograph as it was seen in the western market and in the right the aspect it presented in the markets of the East to adapt to the “sensitivities” of culture and spatially to the demands of the market of the GCC – are the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council that are: Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, UAE.[3]

H&M-marketing mix Global- Dos Aguas Consulting Blog

Source: elaborated by Dos Aguas Consulting. H&M’s images

The Swedish company is committed to promoting multiculturalism and adapting to countries with deep-rooted social traditions, as far as clothing is concerned. In addition, we cannot ignore the fact that this helps them in their ability to compete with local businesses. Thus, in 2015 it carried out an advertising campaign “Close the Loop” in which it approached different cultures through clothing.[4]

H&M marketing mix- Dos Aguas Blog

Source: H&M’s images

However, not all the changes or adaptations made by H&M are due to demands derived from religious values ​​or demands but rather to adapt to the demands of society. Thus, you could cite by way of example that the fashion chain had to change its range of products in the United States, adapting to the circumstance that male customers in the United States were less fashion conscious than Europeans.[5]

But not everything in marketing focuses on advertising, so when H&M entered the US market it realized that by locating in the suburbs he faced too much price competition. And so, adapted its global strategy and located stores in more exclusive places and in the city center where it continued to offer low prices.[6]

Summary table:

Conclusion

In conclusion, the marketing mix is ​​the adapted combination of the different market variables on which each company acts in order to achieve the sales target established in its target market.

What can Dos Aguas Consulting do for you?

Marketing management involves taking a series of key decisions, such as: what to sell, to whom, how to reach the customer, at what price, how much to sell, how to make known, and how to organize the company. Dos Aguas Consulting can help you to answer these questions with our knowledge of the Spanish market and the profile of the Spanish consumer. In our work as a company specialized in advising and supporting international companies that want to invest in Spain, we can help you find clients and make a profitable business in the country. We can design your marketing strategy or adapt it to this market particularities. Local? Global? You decide! Get in touch with us, our trade and marketing advisors will help you!

Sources:

[1] Statista (2018) Average number of employees (full time equivalent) at H&M worldwide from 2005 to 2017. Statista website. Available online (link) Last accessed: 07.11.2018

[2] Perceptions Everything (February 9th, 2014) Marketing Local vs. Marketing Global. Available online (link) Last accessed: 07.11.2018

[3] Leah Chernikoff (March 21st, 2011) Gisele Bündchen gets covered up for the Dubai version of her H&M campaign, Fashionista. Available online (link) Last accessed: 07.11.2018

[4] The Express Tribune (September 11th, 2015), Muslim girl in hijab unveils H&M’s new collection. Available online (link) Last accessed: 07.11.2018

[5] DUMITRESCU Luigi y VINEREAN Simona, “The Global Strategy of Global Brands”, Studies in Business and Economics. Page:153. Available online (link)  Last accessed: 07.11.2018

[6] DUMITRESCU Luigi y VINEREAN Simona, “The Global Strategy of Global Brands”, Studies in Business and Economics. Page:154. Available online (link)  Last accessed: 07.11.2018

Switzerland is also in Latin America

By | Economic Analysis, International Relations | No Comments

By Eduardo Fort

Located east of Argentina and south of Brazil, unknown to the vast majority of European citizens, Uruguay is undoubtedly a pearl to discover for foreign investors. With a fascinating history, the former Spanish colony, which became independent in 1828 from its two huge neighbors, is considered, since the end of the 19th century, the “Switzerland of Latin America”: it was one of the first countries in the world to establish a public, free educational system, compulsory and lay (1877) and pioneer in passing a divorce law (1917). The State guarantees free access to education, from preschool to university and 4.5% of GDP is invested in education. To this must be added the political stability that has been its trademark for decades. With the pragmatism and tenacity of the children, the Oriental Republic of Uruguay became, in its own right, a very attractive horizon for the most diverse companies.

This is a country with a broad trajectory of political, democratic and social stability and a strong macroeconomic solidity, which creates the right environment to develop successful investments. It is also a stable and predictable country, qualities that are taken as a differential by investors. Several international organizations place Uruguay among the top positions for transparency, respect for democratic values ​​and human development.

Its strategic location – as a gateway to the region – offers the perfect springboard to Latin America.

The advantages of settling in Uruguay

As previously stated, the small South American has a strong sociopolitical stability. Uruguay’s trade and investment regime is one of the most open in the world. Uruguay’s main trade strategy is to continue liberalizing trade and investment, both multilaterally and regionally. Being an economy of small dimensions, it requires markets free of restrictions and distortions to trade, especially in the agricultural sector, which generates most of Uruguay’s exports. As a financial and monetary tactic, Uruguay actively seeks to improve its business environment to continue bringing direct foreign investment and thus support economic growth, employment and promote technology transfer, with very successful results.

On the other hand, Uruguay had an average annual growth of 6% between 2004 and 2011, which has allowed it to consolidate the structural improvements achieved after the economic crisis of 2002. These improvements helped the country to be more resistant to external shocks, like the international crisis of 2008-2009. At the tax level, Uruguay presents extensive tax exemptions (20-100%) on investment, as well as attractive regimes of free zones, ports, and airports of free circulation (exports of services are exempt from VAT payment).

Investment in Uruguay, both national and foreign, is declared of national interest. The foreign investor and the locals are treated equally, having a wide range of incentives that are adapted to the different types of activities, both industrial, commercial or services that want to be carried out in the country.

MERCOSUR

It is important to remember that Uruguay is a founding member of MERCOSUR, the booming free trade area between Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and the currently suspended Venezuela. Uruguay has signed free trade agreements with Israel and Mexico, as well as a macro trade and investment agreement with the United States.

Through Uruguay, you can access a market of 400 million people, which accounts for 68% of Latin America’s GDP and represents a flow of foreign trade of almost 74% of Latin America’s total.

The infrastructure

Unlike other Latin American countries, Uruguay has a first level infrastructure in Montevideo (its capital and most important city), being already a regional hub par excellence for the Southern Cone of Latin America. 50% of the merchandise entering the port of Montevideo is in transit. In addition, Uruguay has the densest road network in Latin America. It is ranked number 1 in the region with respect to Internet penetration, PC and telephone lines. It benefits from a very reliable electrical supply, mostly from renewable sources.

In short, Uruguay has become the destination par excellence for international companies seeking quality, efficiency, experience and new opportunities in the most stable and reliable business environment in Latin America.

About the author:

Eduardo Fort holds a degree in Political Science from Complutense University of Madrid. He has participated in academic projects related to History of Ideas and Political Theory. He has collaborated with various media – newspapers and television- as an international analyst and specialist in Latin America.