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Tips for finding an export market

In this article, you'll learn lots of tips for finding an export market to help you take your business global.

You will learn

  • How to use desk research to find an export market
  • Ideas for field research when looking for an international market
  • Where you can go for more support

Finding an export market that is full of customers willing to buy the product that you are selling can be tricky. You are likely to be unfamiliar with international marketplaces and do not know what cultural differences might have an impact on how potential customers perceive your products. This article will give you an overview of some of the things you will need to consider in your market research, as well as point you in the right direction for some extra support. 

Desk research

You should always start with desk research, as it does not cost you anything other than time, as lots of the resources you need are readily available online. Just as you would when starting a business in the UK, you will need to gain a good understanding of your target market, including your customer profiles and potential competitors. 

Once you have an idea of where your product might be well received, you can do a bit more detailed research using Government’s "Exporting Country Guides." The guides include information about markets from all over the world and give you an overview of the business challenges there, what their existing trade links with the UK are, what opportunities exist there, legal and entry requirements for your business and much more. You can browse these guides here. 


Field research 

You might also want to conduct field research by heading over to your potential export market or attending trade shows. By doing this, you can take your product directly to potential customers there and see what they think. Obviously, this is much more costly than doing some Googling, but depending on your business size and potential market, you could be eligible for funding through the Department for International Trade’s Tradeshow Access Programme. 

With field research, you will get a far more detailed understanding of the market you are looking to break in to. You will be able to get a better sense of whether or not the target market you established from your desk research is actually the right one for you based on their reactions to you product. You might even make sales while you are there, and you can meet potential overseas agents and distributors. 

Who can help you with your export market research? 

There are lots of places that you can go to get some help with all parts of your export journey, and we have highlighted a few here for you with handy links straight to their advice on market research. 

Exporting is Great 

Exporting is Great have lots of really useful resources that you can use throughout your export journey. They have a handy search feature that lets you search for export opportunities that international businesses are actively asking for. You simply type in the name of your product and you find out where in the world people are actively wanting to trade with you. It will let you know what potential partners you can have, where they are in the world, when the opportunity expires, and how many other businesses have applied to be their supplier. 

Check it out for yourself here. 

As well as gathering information about the different opportunities you could apply for, Exporting for Growth can also help you find a buyer. If you create a free profile on their site, international buyers will be able to get in contact with you so that you can start a rewarding export partnership with them. On your page, you can also showcase the best parts of your business to encourage people to want to work with you. 

You can create your profile here. 

Export Britain 

Export Britain has some really useful "Market Snapshots" that you can take a look at to help you identify a potential export market for your product. They list key places across Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East, America and Australia and give you an overview of what that market there is like. They also tell you which products are already being exported there to give you an idea of which products are likely to be well received. 

Take a look at the guide here. 

Chamber International 

Chamber International list several key markets that you might be interested in exporting to. It gives you an overview of what the market is like in a specific country, as well as details on their key exports, and has useful detail on what you can do to help you get in to their market. 

Check out their key markets here.
Enterprise Europe Network 

Enterprise Europe Network can help you pinpoint international opportunities that are best suited to your business. They can work with you to explore each of your potential markets in-depth, and put you in touch with international partners and distributors to make it much easier for you when you actually begin exporting. 

Find out more from Enterprise Europe Network here.


Hopefully, this will have given you a place to start when you are thinking about finding your export market, as well as some information about where you can go to find specific support with your export research.


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Written by:

Beth Ellin

How's Business content writer

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