Mexico: Country Pulse (May 2010)

Hot topics in May 2010:

  • Fear stalks the streets,
  • “Saving” is a dirty word for Mexicans,
  • Street parties to celebrate divorce.

Fear stalks the streets

Most consumers who live in the capital are not thinking about buying an iPad to read a book on the metro or wearing flashy Nike shoes because they are frightened and want to be as inconspicuous as possible. A survey conducted by Mitofsky Consulting Agency and the Association of United Mexicans Against Crime during early 2010 found that four out of five citizens consider their living situation to be less safe than a year ago.

78% were afraid of being robbed at gunpoint, while 72% feared being kidnapped. In this context, ‘fear habits’ (such as spending more time at home and trying to be inconspicuous as possible while on the streets) have become much more commonplace.

Saving, a dirty word for Mexicans

It is a familiar story: “I cannot save money,” “I spend all my earnings,” “I give the extra money I have to my kids.” These and many other similar phrases are heard over and over in Mexico as consumers struggle to save.

A survey conducted by insurance company AXA during early 2010 found that 80% of Mexicans do not save. Those that do save usually put away no more than 10% of their salary. In Mexico, many cannot look beyond the short term, and when they have money in their hands, they tend to spend it.

Street parties to celebrate divorce

A meeting of 15 or 20 single women on the street could only mean one thing in Mexico until recently: a bachelorette party for someone who was getting married. Nowadays, it may mean exactly the opposite: the celebration of a divorce.

It has now become relatively commonplace to see such groups of women, particularly in the capital. Restaurants and night clubs offer special prices for ‘divorce parties,’ while some women even hire strippers. In Mexico, there are around 600,000 marriages annually and about 67,000 divorces.