International market research
The 3 basic steps of international market research are: screening markets, assessing their potential, and drawing conclusions.
Screen potential markets
- Collect statistics related to your sector that show product or service exports to various countries.
- Identify 5 to 10 large and fast-growing markets for your product or service. Look at them over the past 3 to 5 years. Has market growth been consistent year-to-year? Did import growth occur even during periods of economic recession? If not, did growth resume with economic recovery?
- Consider smaller emerging markets that may hold ground-floor opportunities for you. If the market is just beginning to open up, there may not be as many competitors as in an established market.
- Target a few of the most promising markets for further study.
Assess target markets
- Examine trends that could influence demand for your product or service. Calculate the overall consumption of products or services like yours and identify the amount imported.
- Study the domestic and international competition. Look at each competitor's Canadian market share.
- Identify what affects the marketing and use of the product or service in each market, such as channels of distribution, cultural differences and business practices.
- Find out if you will encounter any trade barriers (tariff or non-tariff) in your potential market, as well as any Canadian barriers (such as export controls) affecting exports to the country.
- Search for Canadian or foreign government incentives to promote the export of the product or service.
- Analyzing the data you have collected should help you decide which markets to go after, and assist in the development of your export plan and marketing strategy.
- If you are new to exporting, experts recommend that you focus your energy on no more than one or two countries at a time.
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