We’ve created this guide to help you get closer to your Mexican customers. A web presence that is in tune with Mexico’s culture will make your customers feel well disposed to you, and give them the confidence to do business with you. By understanding these little yet important details, you'll be in a good position right from the start in your new market.
2 The main language
Spanish is the main language spoken in Mexico.
Should you be formal or informal when addressing your Mexican customers?
Friendly formality will go a long way to helping you blend in like a local. Address your customers using a title and surname until you have established a genuine rapport with them.
In Mexico, most products are written about in an informal way. Use the informal version of “you” when writing informally in this context, e.g “tu.”
If you have a financial product, a legal service, or are talking about money, you should adopt a more formal tone, style and address. Address your customer with the more formal version of you, e.g. “usted.”
Ease of doing business in Mexico
The World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business 2019 report ranked Mexico as 24th out of 190 countries.
4 Numbering systems and formats
- This is a dot or full stop (.)
- e.g 1.5 hours.
- The thousand separator is a comma (,)
- e.g. 1,524 people.
Mexico’s international code is +52. Telephone numbers are usually in the ten digit format of (+52) xx xx xx xxxx.
All telephone numbers have ten digits after the country code. The following cities and their immediate metropolitan areas have two digit area codes:
- Mexico City (55)
- Monterrey (81)
- Guadalajara (33)
The rest of Mexico’s telephone numbers have three-digit area codes.
5 Currency format
Currency of Mexico is the Mexican Peso. This is represented by the sign $. Its trading three letter code is MXN.
The peso note denominations are $1000, $500, $200, $100, $50, $20. The peso coin denominations are 20 Pesos, 10 Pesos, 5 Pesos, 2 Pesos, 1 Peso.
6 Date format
In Mexico the date format is DD/MM/YY.
When written in full it should be "9 de julio de 2020" (no commas and no ordinals like th, nd, or st).
7 Hour formats
The 12-hour clock is used in Mexico.
Mexico has four time zones, covering 1,700 miles. These are, from North to South:
- Baja California (Zona Noroeste)
- Pacific Time Zone (Zona Pacifico)
- Central Time Zone (Zona Centro)
- Southeastern Time (Zona Sureste)
In everyday speech the 12-hour format is preferred.
The 24-hour format is favoured on digital devices like PCs, phones, tablets, etc. and is the standard format on Android where the separator is a colon, e.g. 14:24.
8 Working days
Standard working days in Mexico are Monday to Friday.
9 Things to avoid in the Mexican market
Every culture has different superstitions and traditions which are always worth noting, especially when entering a new market.
Mexicans consider the day Tuesday the 13th to be unlucky.
10 Important localisation tips
Here are the top six translation tips that will make you sound like a local in Mexican market in no time:
Be careful not to use Iberian Spanish when translating, and use Spanish that is relevant to the region you are conducting business in.
Stay clear of colloquialisms and expressions used in your language, as they may not translate in the Mexican market. For example, local slang.
Avoid using vocabulary which is not relevant to the majority of your customers in a specific region
Make sure that whoever translates your copy avoids being too formal or literal, as this could make your brand feel less believable and interesting.
Using the incorrect syntax and sentence structure to the region you are doing business in, will highlight you as a non-local.
Spanish is spoken in 20 countries in the Americas. Make sure to use reliable translation resources to get the right tone for Mexico.