Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
As the title of the book clearly suggests, this publication seeks to explore marketing in the markets of Latin America. The book contains seven chapters. The first two chapters consider the Latin American context and provide an overall appreciation of Latin American consumer markets and marketing. These chapters are followed by four chapters that consider four selected national markets:
The book is very good at describing the markets of Latin America and the idiosyncrasies of the Latin American market. These are markets that do not attract the attention that in many ways they deserve. South America in particular might be described as a forgotten continent. Too well known and, in some cases, unfairly known for political and economic instability, the continent has gained a reputation that has not created the ideal basis for investment in recent decades. Nevertheless, the global region does, as the book clearly indicates, represent a large market where private consumption expenditure in 2000 represented 25 per cent and 18 per cent of European and North American private consumption expenditure, respectively (p. 39). Therefore, from the perspective of global markets, Latin America offers considerable potential.
The Latin American market ,as the book states, is a very diverse market and in some ways in not easily defined. In chapter two it is noted with some validity that the Latin American market might reasonably be taken to “include the Latino population of the United States” (p. 40). Despite such problems, the book does give a very sound overview of these diverse and numerous markets. Through numerous tables the reader is provided with an introduction to the complexity and variety of conditions covered by the phrase Latin America. For example, in a table on page 41 the buying power of different markets is compared. Brazil and Mexico are shown as having a buying power in 2000 of over $US380 billion. Latin Americans in the USA are said to have a buying power of over $US320 billion, which would make them, on that basis, the third largest market in “Latin America”. These figures contrast with a buying power of $US2.2 billion in Nicaragua. Likewise there are considerable disparities, on a national basis, in household buying power. Argentina, we are told, has a household buying power of $US20,679 compared with $US2,289 in Nicaragua, while a figure of $US34,900 illustrates the comparative buying power of Latin American households in the USA.
The book conveys important facts and, more importantly, messages about Latin American markets. As noted above, disparities between markets are also seen within markets and European or North American assumptions about market structures can not be blindly transferred to Latin American markets. When considering different markets, the book, by and large, follows a common structure which facilitates understanding of conditions across markets through identified themes. However, from an academic market perspective, a more closely referenced presentation of the material would have been very valuable.
This book is to be welcomed, if for no other reason it draws attention to a collection of markets that contain considerable market opportunities. It is also successful in showing that these markets also offer considerable market challenges. The relative isolation of these markets and consumer preferences for local goods and services has created an environment where external international operations cannot expect an easy time in the market. The book is very good at conveying this message.
However, this is not so much an in‐depth consideration of marketing in Latin America; rather, it is a handbook on the markets of Latin America. From the perspective of the book title, the most valuable chapter is the chapter that looks at “Latin American Consumer Markets and Marketing”. That chapter brings together a number of themes that are in part further explored in other chapters in the book. The chapters on the four Latin American markets are sound enough, but do not collectively develop an overall appreciation of the markets encompassed by the title of the book. The choice of markets does not have an immediately obvious rationale. If the most important markets were to be covered, Argentina is a glaring omission. If the choice of markets was intended to provide consideration of a cross‐section of markets, then the poorer, smaller markets of Latin America deserved consideration.
This book provides an introduction to Latin American markets and does provide insights. It is a useful starting point for further reading.