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Spain - Selling and buying

Contents extracted from the comprehensive atlas of international trade by Export Entreprises

Reaching the consumers

Marketing opportunities

Consumer behavior: Price is an important factor in the purchasing behavior of Spanish consumers. They are not necessarily loyal to one brand anymore and distributor's brands are developing rapidly. Payment facilities and an efficient after-sales service are other key factors.
Consumer profile: The Spanish consumer seems demanding, but attaches less and less importance to the guarantee of a known brand. He is conservative and prefers known products to new products but as his lifestyle changes, he can show a bit of curiosity. He has the tendency to favor Spanish products or those which look like them. The consumption of bio products remains very low. Youngsters are less and less loyal to brands and more open to new products.
Main advertising agencies:

Distribution network

Evolution of the sector: The distribution market in Spain is highly concentrated and specialized. The turnover of retail trade is around EUR 200 billion, or about 15% of GDP. The sector employs over 2.5 million people.

Five distributors control most of the Spanish retail market. They are, in order of importance:
- The group El Corte Inglés (35% of total)
- Mercadona
- Carrefour Group
- Inditex Group
- Eroski Group

Some autonomous communities have restrictions on the establishment of supermarkets and shopping centers.
Types of outlet: Distribution in Spain is still characterized by a large number of retailers and traditional stores. Retail trade, which employs 3.1 million persons (2007), is seeing its relative influence in the economy decreasing gradually. Its global turnover reached 194 billion Euros (2005) and was achieved by the 646,000 retail businesses that Spain had (14.6 per 1,000 inhabitants).

The distribution sector in Spain has developed a lot with the potential increase of mass distribution (currently in focus) recently, specialized chains and shopping centers. The consumer, whose purchasing power has increased thanks to the economic growth and the decrease in unemployment is looking for the best quality/price ratio and the variety of the offer. The new state of affairs (slower growth and rising unemployment) makes him turn towards discount stores that he had been staying away from. In any case, he continues to prefer local supermarkets to hypermarkets located on the outskirts.

Organized distribution is dominated by:
-El Corte Ingles (super stores, hypermarkets, supermarkets and all types of specialized brand names with 25% of the turnover from 10 leaders,
-Carrefour (hypermarkets, supermarkets, discount stores) with 20%,
- Mercadona
(supermarkets) with 15%,
- Eroski-Caprabo
(hypermarkets and supermarkets) with 12.7%,
- Inditex (ready-made garments : Zara, etc.) with 11%,
Alcampo (hypermarkets and supermarkets) with 7.3%, etc.

Market access procedures

Non tariff barriers: Spain applies the community regulations valid in the entire European Union.
There are a certain number of restrictions for agricultural products ensuing from the application of CAP (Common Agricultural Policy).
Besides, for health reasons, the presence of GMO must be systematically specified on the packages.
It is forbidden to import hormone-fed beef.
The BSE crisis (the "mad cow's" disease) prompted the authorities to strengthen phytosanitary measures to ensure the quality of meat entering and moving on the territory of the Union. The principle of precaution is henceforth preferred to a greater extent: in case of doubt, the import is forbidden until proof of harmlessness of the products is established.
Average Customs Duty (excluding agricultural products): Operations within the EEE are exempt from duty.
The Common Customs of the European Union is applied to merchandise from outside Europe. Generally, customs duty is relatively less, especially for industrial products (4.2% on an average).
Customs classification: SH Nomenclature + additional subdivisions up to eight numbers and own legal notes created for community purposes.
Import procedures: You must submit to the Customs Office:
- the sales or pro-forma invoice
- a brief declaration (manifest (plane or ship)) for taking charge of the merchandise
- a common law declaration (UDF, unique data folder), as well as the accompanying documents to enable their customs clearance.
The UDF form can be collected from the chambers of commerce or from an authorized printer. A computerized customs clearance platform (SOFI) can be accessed in the customs offices or in some chambers of commerce.

In case of intercommunity deliveries and purchases, goods exchange declaration (GED) or Intrastate declaration must be send to the customs service.

As part of the "SAFE" standards advocated by the World Customs Organization (WCO), the European Union has set up a new system of import controls, the "Import Control System" (ICS), which aims to secure the flow of goods at the time of their entry into the customs territory of the EU. This control system, part of the Community Program eCustomer, has been in effect since January 1, 2011. Since then, operators are required to pass an Entry Summary Declaration (ENS) to the customs of the country of entry, prior to the introduction of goods into the customs territory of the European Union.

The Modernized Customs Code entered into force in 2008 simplifies procedures, for example computerizing and centralizing transactions.

Customs website: Agencia Tributaria

Organizing goods transport

Organizing goods transport to and from: Transport by sea represents 20% of the GDP of the transport sector and 1% of GNP. The freight traffic at the port reaches 450 million tons. Container freight traffic reaches 11 million TEU (Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit). 78% of imports and 51% of exports of Spain transit through the ports.

The country's main port is port of Bahia de Algeciras, with 72 million tons of goods and 3.3 million TEU of container freight each year. It is the first port in the Mediterranean in terms of container freight traffic. The second port of the country is port of Barcelona (free zone) which handles 55 million tons of goods and which is the fourth Mediterranean port for container freight traffic and the first container port of Spain with 3 million TEU. Next comes the port of Valencia (third port of the Mediterranean for container freight traffic) with a total traffic of 51.4 million tons plus 2.6 million TEU. Bilbao and Tarragona are the other important ports.

Air freight reprensents more than 90 million tons. Madrid amasses more than 50% of freight; Barcelona, second airport of Spain: 16%.

Inland goods transport is handled 80% by road.

Rail traffic accounts for only 4% of the traffic. It is slow, it is not very reliable and the railway network is not well-maintained - these are definitely the causes for poor rail traffic. 95% of Renfe's goods transport is by railroad. Trains are especially borrowed by the iron and steel products, mining products, coal, propane and butane.

Combined transport of goods (especially combined road and rail transport) is expanding.
Sea transport organizations:
Air transport organizations:
Rail transport organizations:

Domestic business directories

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