This article will outline what is needed to successfully sell your product or service to the Brazilian upper class.
25 years after the end of a dictatorship that effectively blocked foreign products in the Brazilian market, things have changed dramatically. There are still issues to be resolved before the market can be compared to Europe and USA, but Brazil is quickly catching up.
Who is the upper class?
The upper class corresponds to the 5% of the Brazilian population that earns more than 18 times the minimum salary a month.
You will find that the upper class is concentrated in the largest cities, especially in São Paulo and Brasilia, although a significant portion of the upper class is composed by landowners who live in the rural areas of the country.
Procurement and purchasing have become very sophisticated along with the rise of cost. Sales promotions and services are specially tailored to the audience including examples like in-store wine cellars and valley parking service.
Rather than just the regular cashier the upscale supermarkets will provide gastronomy consultants and sommeliers to choose a matching wine.
The Brazilian upper class is willing to pay premium for their products and services, but they expect that the service and retail experience should match the premium price they are paying.
You cannot afford to skimp on advertisement in Brazil. Many will consider Brazil to be one of the most advanced and demanding countries in the world in terms of innovative and creative advertising campaigns.
Brazilian advertisement agencies are constantly winning international awards for their creative advertisements for consumer brands.
Advertisements are, like in other countries, a multi-channel experience and for the upper class it is expected that brands also connect with their customers in social channels like Facebook and Twitter.
An aging upper class
The Brazilian population is aging and so is the upper class. Stores in Brazil are in general shrinking partly due to an aging population that prefer shopping in smaller stores.
As the life expectancy rates are increasing and the retailers in Brazil will have to find ways to cater a growing senior upper class with disposable income to spend on customized products and services catering their life situation.
When serving the upper class there is no disadvantage to be a foreign as long as you are known. As an example, Aston Martin has been selling an average of one car per in day since its inauguration in São Paulo. It is the highest amount of sales amongst the brand's 135 branches.
Foreign companies are often struggling with brand awareness and to benefit from foreign brand awareness when entering the Brazilian market.
Strong international brands that currently are not present in the Brazilian market like Ben & Jerry or Ted Baker cannot expect an instant success in Brazil as these brands are not widely known in the country, even though their products are extremely appealing to the Brazilian market.
A special advice to European companies is to carefully evaluate how much of the value of the product is related to design. Brazilians in general - and this includes the upper class - tend to put less value to design than to the material a product is made out of.
Slick designed high-end stainless steal productions tend to not do specifically well in Brazil as Brazilian consumers tend to rather choose similar products with a less impressive design in a higher value material if the price is the same.