Market Research Basics
Where do I start?
Maybe you read an article about a foreign market's interest in your product. Perhaps you met a potential international buyer at a trade show. Whatever the reason, the key to export success is researching the market to develop a careful and throrough plan.
Step 1: Screen Potential Markets
For each product consider:
- Using historical value and volume data is it possible to identify market demand and trends. Statistics on product exports are available from a variety of sources including FAS, Department of Commerce and the National Trade Data Bank.
- Identifying several (i.e. 6) markets that are large and growing fast. Look for consistent market growth or growth after a recession.
- Identifying smaller markets. These markets may provide ground-floor opportunities so as to develop customer loyalty before your competitors enter the market. While value and volumes may be small, smaller markets should have much higher growth rates than the large markets.
Of the countries investigated – which have the most potential? Which have the strongest supporting data?
Step 2: Assess Target Markets
For each market, the following should be considered:
Use the checklist!
- Trends for the Product: consumption, value of the import market, demographic information, etc.
- Sources of Competition: domestic and import.
- Marketing and Use: channels of distribution, cultural differences, pricing.
- Trade Barriers: tariff and non-tariff, packaging requirements, labeling, certificates.
- Promotion Opportunities: Trade shows, missions, trade leads, industry partners.
Complete a Market Assessment Checklist in Word format (.doc)
or Market Assessment Checklist in Adobe Acrobat (.pdf)
. This can be used to fill in detailed information about each country to assess the market. You can also give each market a score on a scale of 1-5 to help compare markets.
Step 3: Develop an Export Plan
Contact the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service | Phone: (202) 690-3576 | email us