Experts to navigate uncertainty, find the Argentines new niches to avoid losing out to inflation. Since the last currency run, the stock of imported goods pegged to the official dollar has increased. It’s no longer just about buying cars, motorcycles or household appliances. Specialists warn about it “consumption as savings” was extended to whisky, vodka, perfume and high-end sneakers, among others.
“The post-pandemic is altering consumption patterns. After so many inconveniences, well-being is priceless. And if on top of that they sell you those products at the official dollar and people assume there will be a devaluation at some pointthe call now effect is produced”, summarizes Guillermo Oliveto, director of the consultancy firm W.
This opportunistic hoarding is driven by two factors: import stocks and the difficulty of traveling abroad, which prevents the purchase of perfumes, drinks, footwear or clothing abroad. This is despite the fact that there are items, such as top sneakers from international brands, “which today are worth more in Argentina than in the United States“, explains a clarion owner of a sportswear chain.
“All categories of imported spirits (whiskey, rum, gin and vodka) they sell very fast. The difficult part is the substitution due to the obstacles to imports”, shows Matías Ugarte, senior executive of the Dellepiane group. These types of drinks, the most expensive, are distributed in wine bars, specialized shops and on the Internet. In the sector they underline this lack of stock prevents a demand from being met which has grown strongly during the pandemic.
The cost of an imported distillate it starts at $4,000 but can go up to $50,000, depending on the type of drink and its category. The ticket may seem high, but between the scarcity of dollars and the lack of savings alternatives, the fear of shortages and the constant increase in prices prevails. “Argentinians are experts at listening to drums in the dark of the jungle. They know the opportunity is now and that’s why they buy now when they can still afford it“Oliveto interprets.
The consultant argues that storage of dollarized goods is “a way to save while consuming”something that “anywhere in the world would be a contradiction. However, it clarifies that the storage of whisky, gin, vodka or perfume, what is stored is “enjoyment and well-being”. This includes domestically produced high-end wines, “whose prices (between $4,000 and $10,000) lagged inflation,” says Alfredo Sáenz, owner of the Enogarage chain of wine bars. It offers around 1,300 labels in its 4 stores, which are aimed at an audience with a high purchasing power.
“Perfumes never go out of style and consumers generally choose the same fragrances over and over again. Therefore, Being a dollarised product and because people travel less, consumption is sustained“, says Darío Cortassa, one of the owners of the Parfumerie chain, a chain that has 28 stores and competes in the luxury cosmetics business with Rouge and Juleriaque.
International brands (Yves Saint Lorent, Lancome, Dior, Armani, Carolina Herrera or Kenzo, among others) are offered basically in three sizes, and in the local market they can exceed $100,000, i.e. about US$230 based on dollar card. Cortassa, however, clarifies that there is a difference with respect to foreign markets: “Most of them have agreements with banks to sell in 3 installments without interest, in some specific cases it can be 6”, he said.
From a sports chain they explain that several models of premium shoes (Air Jordan, by Nike and the Originals line, by Adidas, for example) they are more expensive in Argentina than abroad. “Anyway, they are sold all the same, partly for their status, for fashion and because people take care when they can’t buy a durable good,” underlines the entrepreneur.
“In the last Hot Sale (which took place from May 8th to 10th), sneakers were one of the most sought-after items and all brands sold above expectations, all leveraged by funding“, says Alberto Calvo, of the Go for eCommerce consultancy. The other aspect is the increased use of casual wear outside of sport, its natural environment.
Charles Arterburn is a seasoned business journalist for News Rebeat, where he provides comprehensive coverage of the latest trends and developments in the world of finance and economics.