guide to basic market research
product is competitive in the U.S. market, it
is likely that it can also be competitive in
international markets. You will need to know
the Harmonized Commodity Code (HS) for your
product. The Harmonized System (which the
U.S. calls Schedule B) classifies products to
be traded by a 10 digit code, which is used
in trade statistics and on export documents.
Information on product classification is
available through the The
step in conducting market research is to
assess potential markets for your product.
One of the best methods is to look at trade
statistics (in terms of both volume and
value) for the past three to five years.
Trade statistics provide information on U.S.
exports of different products to various
countries (e.g., U.S.
Trade Reports), the
size of the market you are targeting, and the
US share of a country's imports (e.g.,
Bulk, Intermediate and Consumer (BICO)
examination of trade statistics can help you
identify, for your product, the historically
largest markets, the fastest-growing ones or
the more under-developed markets that may
provide ground-floor opportunities.
You should also make use of the various
market reports and publications available,
which often contain original research on
specific countries and may contain
information on both buyers and competitors.
FAS offers several of these Attaché Reports
Research Reports, Product
Sector Reports, Food
and Agriculture Import Regulations and
Standards (FAIRS), Promotional
Opportunities Report and Exporter
Guides by country. World
Markets and Trade Publications,
Market and Trade Short Reports.
Finally, you should look at overall trends
for your target countries, such as economic
conditions and demographics, that could
influence demand. Sources include the United
Nations Food and Agricultural Organization
(especially the statistical databases),
State Department Background Notes,
Department of Commerce Country Commercial Guides,
and the CIA
step in conducting your basic marketing
research is to look at pricing information
for your class of product. You should monitor
the price trends for your target markets, to
help identify the pricing strategies of your
potential competitors and the buying habits
of your potential customers. This will help
you determine if your prices are in line with
the market and industry, so as to help you
develop a competitive pricing strategy. The
U.S. Department of Commerce International
Trade Administration publishes a Basic Guide
to Exporting, which covers pricing,
quotations, and choice of terms of sale and
are many sites for price information; the
sites below are published by the Agricultural
Marketing Service of USDA.
Livestock and Grain
International Terminal Market Price
Reports (By Commodity):
links for market research
Transportation and Marketing Web site of the
Agricultural Marketing Service
contains valuable information on
transportation and export documentation as
well as other valuable links.
and export publications are also very useful;
Transportation and Marketing Publications
give you a good overview of what's
Economic Research Service (ERS)
is a major source of expertise, data models,
and research information about the
agricultural economies and policies of
foreign countries, the agricultural trade and
development of relationships between foreign
countries and the United States, and U.S.
National Agricultural Library (NAL)
is the largest agricultural library in the
world, with approximately 2.2 million volumes
and subscriptions to 26,000 periodicals from
all over the world.