Understanding the market

In order to develop your export business into a success, you should make sure that you understand your target market(s). This means you have to do some research about your export destination(s). It allows you to acces market opportunities and the cost of capturing them.

Good market research should not be an academic way of only embedding assembled facts and figures. It rather has to focus on what drives your target market(s) and how to get the best out of it.


Top tips to understand the market

  1. Gather basic market information, from import regulations to trade statistics. You can make use of several freely available Market Analysis tools.
  2. Narrow the focus of your research to your product or service. This will make the whole process more specific.
  3. Research competitor markets. Find out what they are doing right and how they are doing it.
  4. Attend market-specific seminars. Seek out practical advice for experienced businessmen.
  5. Develop direct contacts with potential buyers. You can make use of several freely available online directories.
  6. Try to understand the market environment. Relevant trade fairs and embassies are good sources of information.


Research areas

The first step of market research includes gathering basic information, ranging from import regulations to trade statistics. You should include several areas in the first phase of your market research. The most important aspects are:

  • Trade statistics and trends
  • Trade policies
  • Regulatory framework
  • Business environment
  • Business culture
  • Distribution channels
  • Trade logistics
  • Risk assessment


Tools for market analysis

There are numerous online Market Analysis-tools online available. These tools can be used for free. We recommend to make use of these tools in your process of understanding your target market(s). Check out a list of the relevant tools and start using them directly in your research!

Product specific market research

After you have gathered and analysed basic information, you should narrow down the research to your specific product or service. This also involves presenting your product or service to buyers overseas. Gather feedback on your offer by sending data or samples to buyers. Also pay attention to analysing the competitors of your target market(s) in this stage.


International buyer directories

You want to send out your product samples to get feedback from buyers. But how can you then find your buyers? Fortunately there are plenty of international buyer directories available (some free of charge, others with paid subscriptions). Check out a list of buyer directories NEPC recommends to use during your market research!


Exporter advantages

While it will take some time, good market research gives you several great advantages in your further export process. The main benefits for you:

  • it helps you to identify your most promising market
  • it will include rich inputs for your export plan
  • it will give you full understanding of the competitive landscape of your target market
  • it will support you in minimising risks and maximising prospects



Do you have any other questions with respect to understanding your market(s)? Please contact us and find out how NEPC can help!

Alternatively you could also check out the e-learning course from ITC. Find more details below.

SME Trade Academy

Powered by the International Trade Centre, the “SME Trade Academy” provides free online courses on lots of export topics. Courses are tutored and include lectures, exercises and case studies on topics like:

  • Considering export markets
  • Setting-up an export marketing strategy
  • Introduction to cross-border contracts
  • Introduction to standards and sustainability