Researching export markets

Carrying out and commissioning research on overseas markets

There are many sources of market research available from government agencies and commercial organisations.

Conducting your own market research

You can conduct research using media sources, such as newspapers, trade journals and the internet, and get information by networking with experienced exporters. Your trade associations may be able to help you with contacts. For many small businesses the best approach is to visit the market and spend some time interviewing a range of people. Read more about how to develop an exporting marketing plan.

GOV.UK produces 'sector in country' reports for many markets.

Commissioning market research

You can commission a market research agency to investigate your overseas market on your behalf.

Decide whether you want to use a UK-based agency or a local one. A local agency may understand your potential customers better, and will be able to access the necessary information more easily. You should select your agency carefully, and check their proposal shows that they have understood your needs.

State what you expect to find out from your research in a clear brief. This should specify your aims in commissioning the research, and the timescales and presentation you want. Describe your business and product, state the information required and the geographical scope.

For a fee, you can commission research on your market using the Overseas Market Introduction Scheme run by the Department for International Trade.

Published market reports

You can also buy reports on some overseas markets.