Key facts new exporters need to know

Gathering good market intelligence is critically important to your export success.

What do you need to know about your export market?

1. The size of the market – this could be in terms of population, the economy, GDP, or particular sectors or demographics. You need to take account of your competitors in the market, the market share they have and the share you could acquire.

2. Its politics and economics – an unstable political climate or unfavourable trading conditions can make exporting risky. Make sure you are up to date with what’s happening currently and what’s bubbling under.

3. The culture of your export market – this may affect your selling proposition. Investigate any barriers to your product's success. Will potential customers in your target market have the same reasons to buy it? Do you need to review your packaging or marketing material?

4. Its language and etiquette – can you market your product effectively in the local language? It is important to communicate effectively and understand cultural differences.

5. Legislation, technical and quality regulations – will your product need to be modified to meet regulations in your target market?

6. Key market challenges – eg political stability and safety guidelines. Supporting information can be found on the FCO website.

Where can you get the market information?

1. Desk research – there is a lot of excellent information online that is worth checking out.

• Get general advice on researching customers and markets abroad on the nibusinessinfo website.

UK Trade & Investment produces 'sector in country' reports for many markets.

The Marketing Donut provides reliable advice from industry experts specially for small and medium size businesses.


2. Ask the experts – our Business Information Centre has extensive market research, company databases, worldwide business directories and legislative information.

3. Sign up for Explore Export – the event on 7 November in Belfast offers companies the chance to get four one-to-one appointments with trade advisors representing 33 countries. Register for Explore Export »

4. Take part in a trade mission – this will give you the chance to speak directly with potential partners, contacts and even scope out your competition.