This report provides an overview of the market potential within the Safety and Security (S & S) industry in Colombia and makes special reference to the following sub sectors: Information Security, Intrusion Alarm Systems, Access Control Systems, CCTV Systems and Fire Detection Systems. The Safety and Security market in Colombia is a steadily growing industry sector, requiring state of the art technology and specialized consultancy services. This gives great potential for US suppliers. An analysis conducted by the consulting company, InfoAmericas (www.infoamericas.com), reveals that Brazil, Mexico, Colombia and Argentina represent the four largest markets in the region for the products within this industry.
In Colombia, there are two types of security problems. The first relates to the internal conflict (guerrilla and paramilitary threats and attacks) and the second relates to street crime. The government has had success in recent years in combating the first type of security problem, however the sense of insecurity within the population remains high as assaults, home burglaries, and a wide variety of extortion activities, short-term kidnappings, and other assorted petty crimes continue to affect urban communities.
In Colombia, there is little local production within this industry sector. Almost all electronic security equipment used in Colombia is imported, however there are a number of local security industry companies dedicated to the integration and installation of systems, and the provision of related services. U.S. products and related services have enjoyed good market share in the S&S sector, offering quality and competitive prices. The market trend can be summarized as a sustained growth situation, in which most of the key players are focused on importation, distribution, installation and maintenance support of S&S equipment manufactured abroad.
Finally, this report does not cover business opportunities related to armament and associated products and devices destined for military use.
In line with the perception of insecurity, the demand for protective equipment and services has been growing steadily in recent years. Executives and families with middle to high incomes continue to feel threatened by insecurity in many parts of Colombia, despite the Government’s recent successes in combating crime and terrorism. Top executives from both multinational and local companies have come to rely more heavily on different types of security equipment to protect their lives, their families, their businesses and property.
In Colombia, local authorized dealers of well-known foreign S&S product brands supply 80-90% of the existing demand. The competitive advantage of local firms is their clear understanding of the security risks and needs of companies operating in Colombia, and their knowledge of the security needs of high income individuals. However, many small and medium sized companies do not have the financial resources to make significant investments in electronic S&S equipment to protect their assets, information and personnel, but are nonetheless forced to acquire some form of protection because of unpredictable security threats. U.S. exporters are therefore required to be flexible in prices and in the range of products offered. U.S. companies are advised to present the cost-benefit relationship to customers and make clear to them the possibility of scalability in the solutions over a specific period of time, in line with business projections.
Although the Colombian market offers continual export potential for U.S. electronic security equipment, the major U.S. players within this industry are already well established in Colombia, thus limiting the possibilities of new to market entrants. Also, U.S. companies wanting to position their products in the Colombian electronic security market should take into account the need for training of local personnel for the installation, maintenance and after sales service. Colombian companies that provide this type of support are willing to partner with U.S. companies.
Marketing too may be carried out by local S&S companies, relying primarily on client visits, brochure distribution, the Internet, seminars and trade shows. A common business practice for acquiring a distributor is inviting potential clients to company facilities in the U.S. so that they can evaluate for themselves the technical capabilities and qualifications of S&S firms. S&S companies place heavy emphasis on outlining the risks involved in not implementing S&S solutions.
The inclination of the electronic S&S market is towards providing integrated services and one-stop shopping for customers in order to gain the clients’ confidence and to foster long-term business relationships with them. When working on large projects, some companies are even willing to lease equipment so that clients will not have to purchase large quantities all at once. Training and customer care are very important elements that differentiate one electronic security company from another.
By Gabriel Ramjas