Mexico’s commitment to trade integration and its openness to foreign investment, combined with a successful economic reform effort, promises great growth opportunities for businesses. Consider Mexico if you’re looking to invest in a key emerging economy with a large consumer base to tap into.
After reading this guide you will understand the opportunities presented by Mexico and how to take make the most of them, as well as have a general understanding of Mexico’s place in the global balance of powers and why this affects businesses.
2 Expanding business to Mexico
When planning how to grow your business abroad, it’s important to consider the current climate of the market you’re planning to enter.
Mexico has positioned itself as an attractive location for ecommerce growth. With a boom in ecommerce anticipated, the market is poised to grow dramatically in the next five years, and ranks above Spain, Chile and Brazil.1 Since the 1990s, Mexico has demonstrated a growing commitment to trade integration through the formation of free trade agreements (FTAs), with its trade policy among the most open in the world.
In recent years, Mexico has undergone an ambitious infrastructure programme, building and modernising a 133,000 kilometre network of highways, 76 airports (64 with international flights), 27,000 kilometres of railway and 117 maritime ports (68 are containers ports). The new infrastructure has made Mexico more well-connected, particularly via highway.2
Mexico’s commitment to investing in infrastructure, its supportive free trade system and a successful economic reform effort make the country an attractive place to grow your business.
3 Quick facts and advantages of doing business in Mexico
Business-to-consumer (B2C) ecommerce in services and retail totaled $13.1 billion in 2014 and is expected to grow at 26% annually, exceeding $40 billion by 20191
Mexico is a participant in over 10 key free trade agreements, allowing access to 45 countries across the world and enabling a consumer base of more than 1.2 billion people2
Mexico is 50th in the World Bank's 2014 Logistic Performance Index, which ranks 160 countries in terms of logistics efficiency
4 Customer trends
It’s crucial to think about customer behavior when expanding in new markets. How does your target customer usually buy products? What’s their preferred method of delivery? The following factors will help you consider how customer trends will affect the way you go about doing business in Mexico.
Online shopping only represents 2% of the country’s $200 billion in annual retail sales, but with an annual growth rate of over 16%, there is an opportunity for businesses to capitalize on this trend1
In Mexico, online payments are dominated by local payment methods. More than 40% of purchases are made through credit and debit cards, followed by cash and cash-on-delivery at 32% and bank transfers at 15%2
Standard delivery is common and acceptable within Mexico
Mobile penetration is steadily increasing; overall penetration is 49%3
In 2016, 75% of online shoppers in Mexico purchased using a desktop computer4
There are currently 38 million online shoppers in Mexico, most falling into the 16-44 age bracket5
5 Fulfillment models
Cross-border into Mexico: US points of origin
Points of origin like San Diego, Laredo and Miami are popular for transporting product into Mexico. From these places you could get your product to Mexico City in less than one day.
San Diego, California
- One of the top 30 US container ports, bringing in nearly three million metric tons annually
- Two marine cargo facilities
- Transit to Mexico City: under one day
- Customs clearance: up to two hours1
- Largest inland port in the US
- Transit to Mexico City: within three days
- Customs clearance: up to six hours2
- Largest passenger port in the world
- 15th port in terms of export cargo volume and 18th in terms of import cargo volume in the US
- Major gateway into Latin America3
The following locations are major hubs for importing into Mexico:
Mexico City International Airport
- Transit to Mexico City: under one day
- Ocean imports from Asia
- Ocean imports from Europe
Based on location and market demand, the Mexico City area is the preferred location for fulfilment centres. With a metropolitan population of approximately 20 million, Mexico City is the largest urban area in Mexico and one of the most populous cities in the world. Two ring-shaped roads encircle the city and several expressways and toll roads connect Mexico City to other major commerce centers. Fulfilment from the area around Mexico City allows shippers to satisfy the population of Mexico City, while also serving as a central distribution point for the rest of the country.
Direct-to-consumer and parcel carriers
- DHL Parcel
Less-than-truckload (LTL) and truckload (TL) carriers
- LTL: Estafeta, Castores
- TL: Transportes TUM, PITIC
7 How to start doing business in Mexico
When weighing up your move into the Mexican market, think about the pros and cons of incorporating a new company to do business, and the type of company structure that might suit you. Determine whether your product requires an import declaration, as well as any applicable taxes and duties you might incur. Finally, find a fulfilment centre and carriers that provide coverage in the areas you’re targeting.
Market Finder contains a breakdown of the World Bank’s Doing Business Index, where you can get a heads-up about the ease of doing business in Mexico. It ranks on a scale of 1 – 190 how easy it is for a business to set up and run a local firm in each of the world economies. 10 topics are assessed to gain the score. These include the ease of getting electricity, the ease of getting credit and the potential for cross-border trade.
When trading in a new market, it’s good to know the administrative, regulatory and logistical challenges that may lie ahead. Navigating legal requirements and working out logistics is made a lot easier with Market Finder – find further support and tools including in-depth guides and insights.
Ingram Micro Commerce & Lifecycle Services provides logistics solutions to help businesses connect supply and demand.
The materials provided on the site are for informational purposes only. For financial, tax or legal advice, consult a specialist.