MIAMI, Fla.-- According to the sixth edition of the UPS Business Monitor Latin America (BMLA), 70% of small and medium-sized businesses believe businesses in Latin America will grow strongly in the next 12 months, up from 62% in 2011. The BMLA provides an outlook on the current opinions, attitudes and trends among the business leaders of the small and medium size enterprises (SMEs) in the region, said a UPS release.
The study, commissioned by UPS and conducted by TNS Gallup between April and May 2013, surveyed more than 800 top-level SME executives in seven Latin America and the Caribbean countries. The results revealed that almost half of the respondents believe their business is better today than one year ago, especially in Chile (64%), Mexico (63%) and Colombia (51%).
“The results from the latest BMLA study demonstrate an increase in Latin American SMEs that foresee growth in their businesses over the next 12 months compared to 2011,” said Romaine Seguin, president of UPS Americas Region. “We are seeing businesses betting on their own countries and region through their investments. Nearly half of Latin American executives surveyed do not feel that the economic and financial context of developed countries will affect their businesses showing real confidence.”
Though the positive outlook for business growth increased from past years, SME executives continue to face some of the same issues they had expressed in previous installments of the study. For example, Brazilian SMEs remain concerned about finding and retaining qualified personnel, while Argentinean executives continue to mention an increase in labor costs as their top worry. This year, Colombians showed that market slowdown is their main concern.
“Latin America has come a long way over the last few years; they have a new sense of self, both politically and economically, and you can see this in the optimism revealed by SMEs across the region,” said Eduardo Gamarra, professor of Latin American and Caribbean politics at Florida International University. Gamarra serves as a key expert for the BMLA study and provides additional insight in a video that can be viewed athttp://pressroom.ups.com/About+UPS/Business+Monitor/Business+Monitor+Latin+America.
Although adoption of information technology was identified by 84% of the executives as a very important driver for competitiveness, only 14% considered it an investment priority for their business over the next 12 months. However, investment in marketing and sales is a top priority at a regional level.
Technology and construction continue to be identified as the industries with the greatest growth opportunity according to the surveyed executives in Latin America. Nonetheless, when compared to the results from the 2011 BMLA study, business services fell to fifth place and was replaced this year by leisure and tourism as a sector with more growth opportunity.
With regard to what the countries identify as barriers preventing the expansion of their business, SMEs see the search for suppliers and customs duties as the two most significant challenges. Executives considered fiscal constraints (46%) as their main challenge followed by the economy and inflation (41%), said the report.