The Republic of Chile lies along South America’s southwest coast. Chile shares land borders with Argentina to its east, Peru to its north and Bolivia to its northeast.
Chile is a relatively small country given its population of 17.5 million people. Nevertheless, Chile has potential as a global marketplace since it ranks as the world’s 45th wealthiest nation. Chile’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on a Purchasing Power Parity basis was worth a formidable US$522.8 billion as of October 2021.
Spanish is the first language spoken by most Chileans. There are about 7 other languages including native dialects, German and English by smaller minority groups in Chile.
Chile’s demand for imported consumer goods in 2020 resulted in a subtotal US$29.2 billion worth of Chilean spending on the 100 most valuable consumer imports identified in this article.
That consumer-driven dollar amount translates to 52.7% of the overall value of all goods imported into Chile. Spending on all Chilean imports, including raw materials, intermediate products and semi-finished goods, totaled an estimated overall $55.3 billion in 2020.
Among Chile’s most valuable consumer products in 2020 are: processed petroleum oils, phone devices including smartphones, petroleum gas, cars and trucks.
Spending on all of Chile’s imported goods declined by -13.7% from 2019 to 2020. Chile’s purchases focused on its top 100 consumer imports decreased in value by a less aggressive -11.8% over the latest annual period.
The deceleration in Chilean spending for key imported consumer products exceeds the global average from 2019 to 2020, which was an average drop of -8.2% for all importing countries around the world.
Among the top 100 consumer products imported by Chile, 37 increased in total value from 2019 to 2020 whereas the remaining 63 declined.
Changes in Chilean consumer demand for essential imports offer future opportunities for international suppliers who correctly anticipate which upward or downward trends will continue.
Consumer Products Defined
Economics educator BoyceWire defines a consumer product as a final good or end product that a business creates for consumers to buy. For example, consumers often purchase refined petroleum oil at the gas station while imported crude oil is an intermediate good subject to further processing before being sold to end users.
Although there may be a few wealthy individual buyers, products like turbojets are excluded from the consumer products targeted by this study. That is because turbojets are usually purchased by corporations. In contrast, it is common for a consumer to buy a motorcycle.
Types of Consumer Products
This article focuses on 3 distinct consumer product types.
Convenience Products are easy to access, non-durable, have relatively lower prices and therefore consumers frequently purchase them. Examples of convenience products are food, alcoholic or non-alcoholic drinks, and soap.
Shopping Products are not as easily available, involve more time to make a buying decision, are durable and are not bought as often as most convenience products. A great example of a shopping product is a mobile phone where buying the wrong model is a much more expensive mistake than buying a disappointing loaf of bread.
Specialty Products describe another consumer product type. This grey area includes infrequently purchased, expensive, durable and sometimes rare items. Consumers may consider the product’s brand image when making their purchase decisions. Some examples of speciality products are gold, silver, diamonds, jewelry, and branded refrigerators and dishwashers.
Chile’s Most In-Demand Consumer Imports
The searchable marketing intelligence table below showcases Chile’s 100 most valuable imported consumer products in descending order. Items were selected at the four-digit Harmonized System tariff classification code level.
The table’s fourth column is labeled YOY for year over year. The fifth column identifies each entry’s consumer product type.
|1||Processed petroleum oils||$2,730,497,000||-31.5%||CP|
|6||Computers, optical readers||$1,240,168,000||+24.3%||SP|
|8||Electric motors, not generating sets||$1,102,162,000||+151.3%||SY|
|9||Electric generating sets, converters||$997,560,000||+160%||SY|
|10||Fresh or chilled beef||$950,054,000||-0.2%||CP|
|11||Coal, solid fuels made from coal||$680,121,000||-21%||CP|
|12||Rubber tires (new)||$579,869,000||-10.6%||SP|
|15||Packaged insecticides, herbicides||$373,104,000||+9.4%||SP|
|16||Miscellaneous textile items||$352,100,000||+511.8%||SP|
|19||Other food preparations||$274,440,000||+11.5%||CP|
|20||Miscellaneous iron or steel items||$270,861,000||-11.6%||SP|
|24||Miscellaneous plastic items||$246,682,000||+8%||CP|
|25||Electrical converters/power units||$246,247,000||+7%||SP|
|26||Plastic packing goods, lids, caps||$239,825,000||+1.1%||CP|
|28||Jerseys, pullovers (knit or crochet)||$215,321,000||-31.2%||SP|
|30||T-shirts, vests (knit or crochet)||$204,255,000||-25.9%||SP|
|32||Other organic cleaning preparations||$201,141,000||+13.3%||CP|
|34||Women's clothing (not knit/crochet)||$199,184,000||-31.6%||SP|
|35||Sugar (cane or beet)||$194,583,000||+13.4%||CP|
|37||Electric water heaters, hair dryers||$188,891,000||-0.4%||SY|
|38||Hot-rolled iron/non-alloy steel items||$186,502,000||+20.6%||SP|
|41||Lower-voltage switches, fuses||$170,418,000||-8.9%||SP|
|42||Fish, caviar (preserved/prepared)||$168,318,000||+20.3%||CP|
|43||Footwear (rubber or plastic)||$164,759,000||-32.7%||SP|
|47||Men's suits (unknit/non-crochet)||$161,398,000||-36.3%||SP|
|49||Dishwash, clean/dry/fill machines||$155,722,000||-4.6%||SY|
|51||Seats (not barber/dentist chairs)||$148,220,000||-17.8%||SP|
|53||Perfumes, toilet waters||$142,000,000||-8.4%||CP|
|55||Screws, bolts, washers, hooks, pins||$136,337,000||-15.3%||SP|
|56||Electric storage batteries||$131,524,000||-10.3%||SY|
|57||Cases, handbags, wallets||$129,371,000||-38.8%||SP|
|59||Shaving preparations, deodorants||$122,893,000||+5.5%||SP|
|60||Unrecorded sound media||$116,875,000||-21.3%||SP|
|65||Bread, biscuits, cakes, pastries||$103,162,000||-9.3%||CP|
|69||Dried shelled vegetables||$98,061,000||+250%||CP|
|70||Waters with added sugar||$97,633,000||-14.7%||CP|
|74||Sauces, mixed condiments, seasoning||$92,807,000||+18.2%||CP|
|75||Caps, lids, corks, pouring stoppers||$89,263,000||+18.2%||SP|
|76||Plastic wares (table, kitchen, toiletry)||$88,552,000||-12.2%||CP|
|78||Chocolate, other cocoa preparations||$87,140,000||-0.2%||CP|
|81||Uncoated paper for writing/printing||$84,564,000||-43.1%||CP|
|82||Sanitary towels, baby napkins/liners||$84,115,000||-6%||CP|
|83||Fish or meat flours, pellets||$82,028,000||-43.2%||SP|
|84||Alcohol (including spirits, liqueurs)||$81,523,000||-17.3%||CP|
|85||Computer parts, accessories||$81,425,000||+49%||SP|
|86||Video console games, table games||$78,854,000||-42.9%||SP|
|87||Other pharmaceutical goods||$77,452,000||-4.7%||SP|
|88||Soap, organic surface-active goods||$76,647,000||+21.4%||SP|
|90||Miscellaneous preserved fruits||$74,865,000||+15.6%||CP|
|91||Special hand/machine tools||$73,578,000||-17.8%||SY|
|92||Iron/steel stoves, barbecues||$73,415,000||-22.9%||SY|
|93||Women's coats (unknit/non-crochet)||$71,439,000||-36.6%||SP|
|94||Prepared vegetables (frozen)||$71,188,000||-30.9%||CP|
|96||Vulcanized rubber apparel||$68,832,000||+73.7%||SP|
|97||Men's coats (unknit/non-crochet)||$68,776,000||-32.6%||SP|
|98||Tea (including flavored)||$68,488,000||+54.8%||CP|
|100||Vulcanized rubber items||$67,375,000||-14%||SP|
Amounting to 47 items, Chile’s most popular product type is shopping products (SP). This cohort was led by imported phone devices including smartphones; cars; trucks; computers including optical readers; new rubber tires; automobile parts or accessories; and packaged insecticides or herbicides.
In second place via 38 items are convenience products (CP), articles that are bought routinely, used only once and generally require less thinking time before making a buying decision. Popular examples include processed petroleum oils; petroleum gas; medications; fresh or chilled beef; coal including solid fuels made from coal; and corn.
Another 15 speciality products (SY) rank among Chile’s top 100 imported consumer goods. Major speciality products imported into Chile include liquid pumps; refrigerators or freezers; nitrogenous fertilizers; electric water heaters and hair dryers; beauty, makeup or skin care products; and temperature-change machines.
Durable consumer products are goods like cars, trucks, printing machinery, insulated wire or cable, and furniture that last a relatively long time. Consumers can put durable products to use again and again. By product type, note that both shopping products and speciality products are considered as durable consumer goods.
Non-durable consumer products (ND) are goods that are not re-used once consumed. Coal, medications, sugar and corn are examples of non-durable goods. Convenience products are uniquely non-durable consumer products.
Based on the product types identified in the above table, 62 of Chile’s highest-value consumer imported products are durable while 38 are classified as non-durable.
Using the provided table, you can also peruse the greatest increases or decreases in product values from 2019 to 2020. To do so, click on the heading of the fourth column.
Fastest-Growing Consumer Imports
Listed below are the top 10 consumer products imported into Chile that experienced the highest percentage increases in spending from 2019 to 2020.
- Miscellaneous textile items: Up 511.8% (US$352.1 million)
- Dried shelled vegetables: Up 250% ($98.1 million)
- Soya-bean oil: Up 243.1% ($96.8 million)
- Electric generating sets, converters: Up 160% ($997.6 million)
- Electric motors, not generating sets: Up 151.3% ($1.1 billion)
- Vulcanized rubber apparel: Up 73.7% ($68.8 million)
- Tea (including flavored): Up 54.8% ($68.5 million)
- Concentrated/sweetened milk: Up 53.7% ($75.7 million)
- Computer parts, accessories: Up 49% ($81.4 million)
- Rice: Up 44.3% ($100.5 million)
Two among the above top 10 gainers are speciality products and therefore also durable good that consumers can store or re-use over time. Those speciality product categories are electric generating sets or converter and electric motors excluding generating sets.
There are 3 fastest-growers categorized as imported shopping products. The shopping products are miscellaneous textile items, vulcanized rubber apparel, and computer parts or accessories.
The remaining 5 front-runners are considered as one-time usage (non-durable) imported convenience products. These growth leaders are dried shelled vegetables; soya-bean oil; tea (including flavored versions); concentrated and sweetened milk; computer parts or accessories; and rice.
Worst-Declining Consumer Imports
Spending by import buyers in Chile on the following 10 items decreased in value by the highest percentages from 2019 to 2020.
- Cars: Down -54.6% (US$1.5 billion)
- Fish or meat flours, pellets: Down -43.2% ($82 million)
- Uncoated paper for writing or printing: Down -43.1% ($84.6 million)
- Video console games, table games: Down -42.9% ($78.9 million)
- Cases, handbags, wallets: Down -38.8% ($129.4 million)
- Unknitted/non-crocheted women’s coats: Down -36.6% ($71.4 million)
- Trucks: Down -36.5% ($1.27 billion)
- Unknitted/non-crocheted men’s suits: Down -36.3% ($161.4 million)
- Leather footwear: Down -34.8% ($238.6 million)
- Rubber or plastic footwear: Down -32.7% ($164.8 million)
Nine categories among Chile’s top 10 severest decliners are durable shopping products used over a period of time. The severest slippages among those categories were for Chile’s imported cars; fish or meat flours and pellets; video console games and table games; cases, handbags and wallets; unknitted and non-crocheted women’s coats; and trucks.
There was one item categorized as a convenience product among Chile’s 10 major import decliners from 2019 to 2020, namely uncoated paper for writing or printing.
Not one product from the speciality product category made Chile’s list of top-declining goods year over year.
Key Product Suppliers by Country
The following analysis reveals competitive suppliers that target demand for 5 of Chile’s top consumer import products.
Chile’s biggest imported consumer product by value is processed petroleum oils. The other 4 leading consumer goods imported into Chile are phone devices including smartphones, petroleum gas, cars and trucks.
Below, you will find major supplying countries for Chile’s imported:
Processed petroleum oils: United States (81.8% of total), China (8.1%), South Korea (3.7%), Japan (2.1%), Argentina (1.3%), Peru (1.2%) and Germany (0.5%).
Phone devices including smartphones: China (70.2% of total), Vietnam (17.4%), United States (3.8%), Mexico (2.2%), Taiwan (0.8%), Malaysia (0.7%), Thailand (0.4%) and Germany (0.3%).
Petroleum gas: United States (53.7% of total), Argentina (30.5%), Trinidad/Tobago (8.2%), Equatorial Guinea (6.5%) and Australia (1.1%).
Cars: China (24.3% of total), Japan (15.4%), India (9.9%), Mexico (7.8%), Brazil (6.8%), United States (6.5%), South Korea (6.3%), France (5.7%), Germany (4.1%) and the United Kingdom (3.1%).
Trucks: United States (26.4% of total), Thailand (12.3%), Argentina (11%), China (9.5%), Brazil (9.3%), Mexico (8.8%), South Korea (5.4%), France (4.8%), Japan (3.3%), and Germany (3%).
More great research: Sri Lanka’s 100 Top Imported Consumer Products by Sales, Bangladesh’s 100 Most Valuable Imported Consumer Products, United Kingdom’s Top 100 Imported Consumer Products, Denmark’s 100 Most Imported Consumer Products, Sweden’s Top Imported Consumer Products Ranked by Value
Independent insights and analysis presented in this article are based on researched facts and statistics sourced from the following educational portals.
BoyceWire, Consumer Goods Definition.
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook: Chile Economy.
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Databases.
International Trade Centre, Trade Map.
Richest Country Reports, Top 100 Richest Countries by GDP.
Trading Economics, Chile Consumer Spending.
Wikipedia, List of largest consumer markets.
World’s Top Exports, Chile’s Top 10 Imports.