Chile - Country Commercial Guide
Selling Factors and Techniques

Identifies common practices to be aware of when selling in this market, e.g., whether all sales material need to be in the local language.

Last published date: 2021-01-16

Trade Promotion and Advertising

Chile enjoys a free press and has a highly developed media market, though concentration is a problem.  The 2015 World Press Freedom Index notes that two companies, El Mercurio SAP and Grupo Copesa own about 95 percent of the print media, while Spanish company Prisa owns about 60 percent of radio stations.    

 Broadcast media includes free-to-air broadcast television networks, cable and satellite TV, radios, newspapers and magazines.  Most advertising is handled by private agencies, the majority of which belong to the Chilean Association of Advertisement Agencies (ACHAP).   

         ACHAP reports a decrease of 6.1 percent in total advertisement investment in Chile in 2018, compared to 2017,  as a result of a decrease of investment in free-to-air television (-8.1 percent), newspapers (-16.7 percent), magazines (-27.8 percent), and cable TV (-9 percent). Investment in radio and cinema increased 3.1 percent each. Taking in account investment in online media, the decrease in investment would be solely 1.2 percent, since this category experienced a real growth of 15.5 percent.

Free-to-air television is still the media with the highest investment, with 43.1 percent of all spending, followed by newspapers with 22.3 percent of the total and magazines, (1.8 percent). The volume of investment in newspapers, however, was 16.7 percent less than in 2017. In real pesos, total investment was 8.1 percent lower than in 2017. For more information, please visit Asociacion Chilena de Publicidad.

Broadcast Media   

Chile has six broadcast television networks that include top rated TV station Mega, owned by local Bethia Group (72.5 percent) and by U.S. company Discovery Communications (27.5 percent); Chilevision, the second most popular TV station, owned by U.S. company Turner Broadcasting and which also owns CNN Chile; Canal 13, formerly Catholic University of Chile TV network, now owned by businessman Andronico Luksic, which also airs an increasingly popular network of news radio stations (T13.cl); and the largest TV broadcaster TVN (Television Nacional de Chile).  This station, which also airs a 24/7 news station on cable (24Horas), is a state-owned but not publicly funded network.  Locally produced news, variety shows, and soap operas draw large prime time audiences on all networks. 

Paid television (cable and satellite) reach 56.7 percent of households nationwide, according to the Chile’s Under Secretary for Telecommunications regulatory agency (SUBTEL). The four major cable and satellite providers are VTR, Movistar, DirecTV and Claro.  Combined, these operate in approximately 95 percent of the country’s territory.  All rebroadcast to local stations and carry a host of international channels.  Free-to-air broadcast TV stations such as TVN and Channel 13 each have a cable (paid) TV news channel.   

Radio  

Radio is the country’s most extensive and most trusted news medium, especially in rural areas.  There are approximately 2,030 radio stations nationwide.  Ownership is concentrated in primarily three holdings - Grupo Bethia, Grupo Dial, and Iberoamericana Radio Chile (Spanish-owned Prisa), which holds the largest market share.   

Print Media  

Chile has approximately fifty newspapers ranging from nationally distributed dailies to small-town tabloids; Santiago has nine major dailies.  Distribution ranges from as many as 500,000 copies (a Sunday edition of El Mercurio) to 3,000 copies of a regional paper.  Most dailies follow a conservative editorial line, with El Mercurio and La Tercera considered the leading newspapers.  Publimetro, Chile’s leading free morning daily, boasts a circulation of approximately 400,000, the highest in the country.  Financial daily Diario Financiero is the only business newspaper standing after its main competitor, Pulso, was absorbed by La Tercera in May 2018. That same month, the newsweekly Que Pasa was closed as well as Paula  women´s magazine.

Chile’s consistently best investigative reporting is undertaken by the non-profit organization CIPER – the Centro de Investigación Periodistica, which only publishes online.  Grupo Copesa  partially subsidizes CIPER.    

 Readership for major publications 

Average Readership (July – December 2018)   

Monday-Friday  

Saturday  

Sunday  

El Mercurio (print) 

(Print + digital) 

289,667 

558,346 

396,051  

625,411 

422,271  

639,254 

La Cuarta (print) 

(Print + digital) 

267,678 

322,581 

260,223 

306,805 

267,219 

313,037 

La Tercera (print) 

(print + digital) 

237,740 

350,005 

362,028 

453,848 

331,428 

423,633 

Las Ultimas Noticias (print) 

(Print + digital) 

278,367 

728,129 

273,342 

699,039 

245,296 

650,679 

La Segunda (Print) 

(Print + digital) 

33,116  

42,146 

33,116 

 

—  

Publimetro (Print) 

(Print + digital) 

386,920 

401.481 

—  

—  

La Hora (Print) 

(Print + digital) 

306,484  

309,846 

—  

—  

Hoyxhoy (Print) 

(Print + digital) 

254,041  

259,922 

—  

—  

The Clinic (Print) 

(Print + digital) 

77,138  

—  

—  

Diario Financiero   

34,771  

—  

—  

El Sur (Print) 

(Print + digital) 

N/A 

N/A 

— 

91,785  

El Mercurio de Valparaíso (Print) 

(Print + digital) 

N/A 

N/A 

 

71,617   

El Mercurio de Antofagasta (Print) 

(Print + digital) 

N/A 

N/A 

 

45,974 

Sources  

  • IPSOS Circulation and Readership Verification System for January -December 2018 
  • Estudio Medios regionales GRM  
  • Chilean Association of Advertisement Agencies (ACHAP)
  • Undersecretary of Telecommunications (SUBTEL)    

(*) Latest updated by Valida readership poll which correspond to the latest data gathered, which is second semester 2018.

Pricing

Pricing in Chile starts with a fairly straightforward formula based on CIF value: costs plus generally constant ship-to-warehouse expenses. Gross margins for consumer goods are generally 30 to 50 percent or more for direct sales to consumers, or 20 to 30 percent each for the importer/distributor and the retailer when a distribution chain is in place. The final price for mass-market items should be competitive with imports from Asia and/or Brazil. Higher-priced items must identify niche market segments in order to prosper. More specialized products are sold by stocking distributors or by commissioned agents who generally earn margins of 5 to 10 percent on their sales.

Under the U.S.-Chile FTA, tariffs were eliminated on most goods imported from the United States. However, all goods, both foreign and domestic, are subject to Chile’s value added tax (called “IVA” in Spanish), which has been 19 percent since October 1, 2003. Any tariff and value added tax is usually paid by the importer and not by the supplier. There are some exceptions:  government entities do not pay these taxes, and some luxury goods have higher tariffs.

Sales Service/Customer Support

Customer service and support are fundamental to successfully penetrating and retaining market segments for most products and services. Any product that requires operator training or needs after sales technical service must have, in effect, a qualified local company ready and able to assist the customer. Due to Chile’s relatively close-knit society, company reputations can be made or lost in a fairly short period of time.

Local Professional Services

Chile’s business environment and infrastructure are well-developed. There are many local companies that can provide professional services to U.S. firms.

The U.S. Commercial Service maintains a list of service providers that offer legal, financial, administrative/HR, transportation, hotel, consulting and market research services. These firms provide support to companies initiating or expanding business in Chile. See BSP.

Principal Business Associations

An additional method vital to the success of conducting business in Chile is to contact the multitude of principle business associations. With information and expertise in the various business sectors, their insight can provide key assistance in launching an expansion into the Chilean market. Although their keen knowledge is an easily accessible resource, their ability to provide contacts in Chile can be equally as rewarding. Below, several principal business associations are listed along with their website addresses. Some of them are as follows:

SOFOFA - Chilean Manufacturer’s Association

Asexma - Chilean Exporters Association

Sonami - National Mining Association

ACTI - Chilean Association of Information Technology Companies

Cif Chile - Chilean Chamber of Pharmaceutical Innovation

Asilfa - Industrial Association of Pharmaceutical Labs

Clinicas de Chile - Association of Private Clinics

Anac - Chilean Automotive Association

Carep - Chilean Chamber of Auto Parts

CChC - Chilean Construction Chamber of Commerce

Achiga - Chilean Association of Gastronomy

Asipla - Association of Chilean Plastic Industry

SNA - National Society of Agriculture

CDT - Technological Development Corporation

Asoex - Fruit Exporters Association

Asimpres - Graphic Industry Association

Camara Cosmetica - Chilean Chamber of Cosmetics Industry

Limitations on Selling U.S. Products and Services

There are no major limitations for U.S. products or services. However, when bidding through the government procurement agency, Chilecompra, U.S. companies must have a RUT (Chilean tax identification number) in order to get a RUT companies must contact the Chilean IRS equivalent, Servicio de Impuestos Internos (SII). In other words, U.S. companies must have a direct presence or a local representative in Chile in order to sell to the government.