Regardless of what your product deals about, it is always hard to find the right distributor in Spain. There are two challenges. Number 1 it is still a very fragmented market. And number 2 it is extremely price sensitive.
Starting with the latter issue. Yes. No other but Portugal can resemble our cheap prices marketplace. Some of you, manufacturers, get scared when you make an initial benchmark, this is an important issue. But the first issue is worth to hightlight. The market is very fragmented since the country is wide and our nation has got 17 independent regions and in total we speak 4 languages. Being a local dealer and having friendship with the key decissors is a key point. For that reason it took many years for big organizations to cover the whole country. Still a very local subdealer oriented market. This concern has to be addressed when it comes to find a distributor for your product.
You might want to choose an only and exclusive distributor, so in that case you should evaluate the following points..:
- You should find a big distributor with a big sales structure, with locations on the main areas (Madrid, Cataluña, Andalucia, Vasc Region and Valencia) and with few principals so that they can devote enough attention to your company.
- That exclusive distributor, if it does not feature such a big infrastructure then it should be clearly oriented to distribution, which is often the key to success in Spain. A key account or manager to deal with them, an strategy for disscounts, to send them leads, and the clear believing that subdealers do not rob their margin but help them to gain market and a bigger total contribution margin.
- If your product is clearly a niche itself, like IVF products, or a molecular o cell biology innovating item then you might choose niche distributors. In that case even being small in structure they use to have a very focused porfolio, and it pays off for them covering big areas of spanish territory with 1 or 3 men But please remember subdealers…
We have a bunch of Multinational Catalogue Vendors like any other country (Fisher, VWR, Domnick Dutscher, LLG, Sigma Aldrich etc) and We have our own Catalogue Vendors like Vidrafoc and Scharlab.
We used to have tiny local subdealers which have dissapeared through the years since the 2008 economy crisis exploded. In the latest 20 years three main trends are in place..:
- Concentration of the market. Not only Fisher and VWR purchased local companies, but also medium size local dealers have made their own purchases to grow up. Also, some spanish lab manufacturers keep on purchasing small dealers.
- Regions overlapping. Local dealers do not want anymore to keep in their area. It is common that dealers in Almería have a powerful sales team in Madrid. That makes difficult to split regionally your distribution in Spain if this is your aim.
- Establishment of subsidiaries of Multinationals. More and more manufacturers every year.
Diagnostic & Research & Industry
In general there is a clear distinction between spanish dealers who make their bread and butter from hospital and clinical labs and those who earn a living from Universities and Food Industry. Be wary of those who claim to be good at two if they do not prove to have a clear distinction between in their internal structure. Spain Lab business is a mature market, and only those with a clear specialization are lasting.
Any dealer in any province might be of interest for you, since Spain has a great highway and high speed train network. Whether in Galicia, Almería or Barcelona it does not care for your purpose, Only the motivation of your distibutor cares. It is a myth that only Madrid and Barcelona can hold big distributors. There are exclusive dealers in Barcelona which find hard to cross the borders of their region while there is a distributor in Asturias (small region in the North of Spain) for a plant culture´s manufacturer who makes the yearly turnover from there. As I said, they should be able to explain how are they going to cover the main areas: Madrid, Cataluña, Valencia, Andalucia and the Vasc Region. to some of them, like Phytopathology reagents it my even be more effective to have a location in the SouthEast.
You might also be tempted to split your product between two distributors upon their market focus. Take care. They ought to be fully different if you do not want to hold continous conflicts. The american company Li-Cor has got Geonica for environmental range and Bonsai Lab for Biotechnology, but this an exception which works.
if your product is a full commodity you might be interested in the spanish Catalogue Vendors. If your product is a booming one, like any related to COVID then you can choose any dealers to start with. This market is so changeable that it will evolve rapidly and figures themselves will say… However if your product is a premium one I recommend to take a tour of Spain and better seeing. The best choice is always mid size companies with 10-20 people in their staff and 3-6M€ turnover located quite often out of Madrid and Barcelona and willing to invest and showing their interest in your product and your company.
If your product is a niche in Solid Analysis, Chromatography, Cell Culture or Anatomic Pathology then you should find the specialists or the Categoy killers on that market
Local Manufacturers competition
Please, do not forget there is spanish competition. We have some biotech companies doing great products like Canvax biotech or Operon. We have a huge refrigeration cluster in Andalucia manufacturing -86 Ultra freezers and clinical freezers. Deltalab is one of the most succesful plasticware manufacturers worldwide. Be aware of this when starting your conversation with the spanish distributor of your choice and ask him clearly how is he going to deal with that.
If you are looking for the right distributor for your company in Spain CONTACT US. We might be able to give you a bunch of 10 target distributors, or maybe your are interested in hiring a full consulting strategy to prepare your landing in our country.