Although facing a scenario still unpredictable in 2021, companies linked to foreign trade, especially large e-commerce retailers, estimate finding a more positive path in the first quarter of 2021.
The analysis was made by Flávio de Faria Rufino, operational and commercial director at Ascensus Trading & Logistics, and Pietro Paroni, general manager of business development at Multilog. The professionals participated in the second edition of Comex Solutions 2020 - a series of debates, promoted by the Pinho Group, which gathers major foreign trade companies every month.
The more positive reaction of the economy in recent months, especially in retail, has led to increased imports of nondurables, such as food and beverages.
"Products that are within e-commerce tend to grow, as does retail. Although 2021 presents challenges even greater than 2020, there is a certain expectation that by March we will have an increase in production to serve retail in several segments," believes Rufino.
Paroni recalls that the growth of e-commerce is due to the breaking of several paradigms:"We saw phenomena of repressed demand in several segments in the second semester, especially in electronics, household appliances, games and beverages. These products should continue to rise, as the pandemic has broken standards of consumers who did not buy over the Internet. Now we see people using online platforms to buy anything from vacuum cleaners to food," he says.
An example of a change in consumer behavior appears in the aluminum can segment, whether for soft drinks or beer, which is no longer consumed in bars and nightclubs (where it shared space with glass bottles) and came with strength to the homes of consumers. With the rise in consumption by the pandemic, companies resort to imports. "We don't lack aluminum, but the industrial production of cans on the scale necessary for this new consumption pattern," Rufino says.
Another paradigm break caused by the pandemic was the digitalization of one of the most traditional sectors in the country. With new processes, the segment needed to modernize rapidly, a phenomenon that should continue even more in 2021.
"The crisis made the regulatory agencies - such as the Ministry of Agriculture, Inmetro - accept electronic signatures on customs clearance documents, which were necessarily physical until then," says Pietro.
"In management, working remotely also had an impact not only on reducing travel costs, but also on the agility to decide. Today, we've been able to considerably increase our operational efficiency and accelerate the efforts to digitalize foreign trade in Brazil," says Rufino.
As we can see, 2021 will still be uncertain, but the changes and paradigm shifts we saw in 2020 bring to Foreign Trade good analysis of what will be highlighted next year.
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