Sales in Spain

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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 any more and distributor's brands are developing rapidly. Payment facilities and an efficient after-sales service are other key factors.
Consumer Profile and Purchasing Power
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. Purchase of fair trade products increased from 18% in 2004 to 25% in 2005; the consumption of bio products remains very low. Youngsters are less and less loyal to brands and more open to new products.
Consumers Associations
INC , National Institute of Consumption
OCU , Organization of consumers and users
ASGECO , General Consumers Association
CECU , Confederation of Consumers and Users
Consumers' Union of Spain
FACUA , Federation of Consumers in Action
FUCI , Federation of Users and Independent Consumers
CEACCU , Spanish Confederation of Housewifes, Consumers and Users
UNCCUE , Consumers and Users Cooperatives' National Union
AUC , Communication Users Association
Main Advertising Agencies

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Distributing a Product

Evolution of the Sector
The distribution market in Spain is very focussed and specialized.. In 2005, the turnover from retail trade increased to 194 billion Euros which was an increase of 5.6% compared to 2004. Some Autonomous Communities impose restrictions for the establishment of superstores and shopping centers.
Market Shares
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.


Organizations in the Retail Sector
National Association of Mass Distribution Companies(ANGED)

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Market Access Procedures

International Conventions
Member of World Trade Organisation
Member of OECD
Party to the Kyoto Protocol
Party to the Washington Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora
Party to the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal
Party of the International Coffee Agreement 2001
Main International Economic Cooperation
European Union
European Economy Section.
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.
Customs Duties and Taxes on Imports
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 are 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 welll 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 intracommunity deliveries and purchases, goods exchange declaration (GED) or Intrastat declaration must be send to the customs service.

Importing Samples
Business executives entering with commercial samples must carry a letter from their company certifying their status, an identification document of the samples and a certificate that the samples are not for sale. The ATA book can be used.
For Further Information
Agencia Tributaria
Ministry of Industry, Tourism and Commerce
European Union
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Organizing Goods Transport

Main Useful Means of Transport
Transport by sea represents 20% of the GDP of the transport sector and 1% of GNP. The freight traffic at the port reached 442 million tons in 2005, which represented a 7.68% increase compared to 2004. Container freight traffic reached 11.05 million TEU (Twenty-feet Equivalent Unit) in 2005, growing by 8.74% compared to 2004. 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 71.8 million tons of goods in 2006, 3.3 million TEU of container freight in 2006. 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 handled 53.6 million tons of goods in 2007 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 reprented 86 million tons in 2006. In 2007, Madrid amassed 51% of the 624,000 tons 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.
State Ports
Independent Ports
Spanish Airports and Aerial Navigation
Sea Transport Organizations
Ministry of Transport
Air Transport Organizations
Ministry of Transport
Road Transport Organizations
Ministry of Transport
Rail Transport Organizations
Ministry of Transport

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Identifying a Supplier

Type of Production
The industry represented 13.5% of the Spanish GDP in 2006. In the basic manufacturing industry, Spain is well-known for its metallurgy industry (iron, steel, lead and zinc), cement industry and chemical industry. The most important processing industries are ship construction, automobile, heavy equipment, rail equipment and electrical machines. Textile industry, leather and hide products, paper production, shoes, toys and tobacco figure among finished products. In the food sector, olive oil, sugar, wine, canned food, beer and liquor industries dominate.
Business Directories
The Yellow and White Pages
Manufacturers Associations of the Main Industries
Spanish association of automobile and truck manufacturers (ANFAC) (in Spanish)
Spanish association of automobile equipment and component manufacturers (Sernauto)
Regional Council of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering Professionals (ANQUE)
Spanish Electrical Engineering Association (UNESA)
Spanish paper pulp, paper and cardboard manufacturer's association (ASPAPEL)
Spanish Machine tools manufacturer's association (AFM)
Association cotton textile industry (Aitpa)
Spanish Association of shoe component companies (AEC)
Spanish association for olive oil industry and export trade (ASOLIVA)
Trade Agencies and Their Representations Abroad
Spanish Chambers of Commerce
Enterprises Federation
Spanish Confederation of Organizations of Enterprises
Spanish Confederation of Small to Medium Scale Enterprise
Autonomous Spanish Associations or Confederations
Directorate general of SME policy of the Ministry of Industry, Tourism and Commerce
Directorate General Enterprises and Industries of the European Commission
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Experts Views (9)
Hot Tips (5) Go Top
  • Sales Service/Customer Support in Spain

    Conscious of the discrepancies among member states in product labeling, language use, legal guarantee, and liability, the redress of which inevitably frustrates consumers in cross-border shopping, EU institutions have launched initiatives harmonizing national legislation.

    U.S. Commercial Service Poland on 24 Feb 2010 related to Sales in Spain

  • Selling Factors/Techniques in Spain

    Relationships are still very important in selling U.S. products in Spain, sometimes as important as price or quality, especially in large account sales. The decision-making process within a Spanish company is different from that in the United States.

    U.S. Commercial Service Poland on 24 Feb 2010 related to Sales in Spain

  • Distribution and Sales Channels in Spain

    As a result of the growth of the Spanish economy, distribution has become a key factor in supplying the consumer market. Sales channels to consumers have developed significantly in the last few years, ranging from traditional distribution methods

    U.S. Commercial Service Poland on 24 Feb 2010 related to Sales in Spain

  • Selling to the Government in Spain

    Government procurement follows the principle of best value through competition. There is no official domestic preference policy, or discrimination against foreign suppliers, although the Spanish Government encourages “full and fair opportunity” for Spanish suppliers.

    U.S. Commercial Service Poland on 24 Feb 2010 related to Sales in Spain

  • Using an Agent or Distributor in Spain

    There are several forms of representation agreements in Spain. The most common are:Distribution Agreements;Agency Agreements;Commission Agency Agreements The law applicable to this type of contracts in Spain is similar to that in most other OECD countries.

    U.S. Commercial Service Poland on 23 Feb 2010 related to Sales in Spain

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