In 2011, the Argentine electronic security sector market was valued at approximately US$ 488 Million, making it a relatively large and growing sector for U.S. firms, especially in the areas of electronic security-related products, equipment, and services.
Despite the economic challenges facing the global economy, the electronic security sector in Argentina grew 15% in 2011. Local trade contacts further estimate an annual growth rate of 20%- 30% in 2012.This increase is largely attributed to rising crime, the high levels of perceived insecurity, and the increasing priority of improving workplace safety. This expansion has been seen in all sub-sectors of products and services of electronic security, especially for monitoring, CCTV over IP, intrusion control and law enforcement equipment, together totaling over 80% of electronic security imports to Argentina.
Hi-tech imports play a significant role in the overall security market, as domestic manufacturing is primarily focused on the production of basic security equipment and safety supplies. Thus, the hitech security equipment market presents the greatest opportunities for U.S. companies. The greatest potential for growth lies in such applications as online digital video surveillance and intelligent software (with capabilities such as pausing, zooming, identification of specific objects and persons through facial expressions, thermal and night vision features).
Seventy percent of the current electronic security market is comprised of imports while 30 percent is manufactured locally. Furthermore in 2011, Argentine companies exported US$ 75 million in security equipment to regional markets that contained both imported and Argentine content.
Violence, including street crime, bank robberies, and private property theft has been on the rise in the last 3 years. While Argentina’s crime rates are lower than the U.S., Brazil, Mexico, or Venezuela, crime is an issue which has been emphasized in the press. The widespread perception of insecurity, along with the increasing priority of improving workplace security, has contributed to the growth of the electronic security sector in Argentina. Indeed, there are currently over 1,000 private and public security cameras operating in the city of Buenos Aires, and this number is expected to grow significantly.
There are currently 1,400 companies, including importers, manufacturers and software developers that employ over 14,000 people in the Argentine electronic security industry. Most of these companies employ qualified personnel (engineers, technicians, system analysts, etc.) and are capable of exporting throughout Latin America and some countries of Europe, Africa and Asia.
Best sales prospects for U.S. security equipment firms include:
• Intelligent Surveillance Systems; smart cameras and intelligent software for identification of pedestrians; CCTV on IP networks-industry specific security systems; equipment parts and software for automotive, banking, airports, ports, warehouses, mines, highways, utilities, hospitals, and construction sites
• Access Control: biometrics on IP networks
• High-tech security equipment for Police and other law enforcement agencies.
• Safety and security design consulting services.
U.S. manufacturers compete successfully in Argentina, holding an approximate 40% share of the import market for security equipment. Nevertheless, Brazil, China, and Southeast Asian countries are entering the market aggressively, offering similar products at lower prices. It is important for U.S. suppliers to have a long-term strategy for market entry and expansion in the Argentine market and local representation is essential.
U.S. products enjoy high receptivity with large Argentine and multinational companies that demand quality, durability and state-of-the-art technology. Many local experts feel that in order to maintain or improve their market share, U.S. firms should strive to offer competitive prices and credit terms along with strong promotional support.
In order to effectively promote and sell U.S. products in Argentina it is essential to appoint a local agent or representative. An agent is generally aware of a sales opportunity before a bid has been announced and can provide important input for tender specifications.
Insofar as technical standards are concerned, there are no specific standards required by the Argentine government for electronic security equipment as U.S. standards are generally accepted.