How to research international markets

It is essential to research overseas markets as each one is different. You need to find the right market for your business and the right way to approach it. This guide will help you with your:

  • Research
  • Where to find research and support
  • The benefits of networking
  • Finance



You need to understand the market you are going into and how your product fits into it. Look at customer behaviour, what they buy, language and cultural issues. You can carry out your own market research through visiting the target country/region. Talk to as many relevant people as you can and use media sources – newspapers, trade journals and the internet. Talk to experienced exporters and entrepreneurs who have traded with the country concerned – ask your business contacts and trade association. You can also commission a market research agency to do the job either in the UK or in the target country. Select these carefully and state your expectations and aims.

  • If you research overseas markets it can save you making mistakes and losing money
  • Discover consumer habits and lifestyles by talking to people and using media or possibly using a market research company

Where to find research and support

UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) produces country sector reports which are produced by the British Embassy in your target country. You can also commission research using the Overseas Market Introduction Scheme run by the UKTI. Free advice on conducting market research and finding market research options is available via the export marketing research scheme run by British Chambers of Commerce.

  • Try UK Trade & Investment, the British Embassy, the UKTI and British Chambers of Commerce


Trade visits are organised visits to your target country and many are led by the British Chamber of Commerce. Trade shows are another networking option where you can meet potential customers, get contacts and get some useful feedback about your product and its opportunities in the country. A personal visit can help you develop long term relationships and give you a greater understanding of language, cultural and transportation issues.

  • Going to trade shows and visiting the country on a trade visit can help
  • A personal visit to the country gives you greater cultural understanding and starts building relationships


To reduce any risks, research the market conditions in your target country. Look at the fluctuations in currency rates, creditworthiness of potential customers, strength of the economy and political stability there. Also research the stability of the banking sector and whether this could affect the speed with which you receive payment. UKTI can help here. You can also talk to your bank about the volatility of some countries currencies and how to hedge using forward foreign exchange contracts. UKTI can also help by offering a number of grants to help you research new markets.

  • Explore the country’s market and economic conditions
  • Your bank can help you find out how volatile your target country’s currency is
  • Talk to the UKTI for more help

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Topics: Export Process, Getting Started, and Market Research
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