Choosing a market for your product or service requires careful research. Here are some pointers to take into consideration.
Last Published: 10/18/2016
To succeed in exporting, you must first identify the most profitable international markets for your products or services. Without proper guidance and assistance, however, this process can be time consuming and costly — particularly for a small business.

  • Thorough market research is key to success. Understanding your export markets will give you vital information about how to manage your efforts.
  • Do not choose too many markets. For most small businesses, three foreign markets will be more than enough, initially. You may want to test one market and then move on to secondary markets as your experience level develops.
  • Focus on regional, geographic clusters of countries. This can be more cost effective than choosing markets scattered around the globe.
Begin with:
  • Classifying your product
  • Finding countries with the largest and fastest growing markets for your product
  • Determining which foreign markets will be the most penetrable
  • Defining and narrow those export markets you intend to pursue
  • Researching export efforts of U.S. competitors
  • Determining which countries might be profitable markets for your product/service
Tools & Resources:
  • Find your HS (Harmonized System)/Schedule B number
  • Find Market Research  Access to more than 100,000 industry and country-specific market reports, web sites, events, and trade directory listings.
  • Get Customized Market Research
  • Leverage a Free Trade Agreements in your target markets
  • Do you know your HS classification/Schedule B code?
  • Which target market(s) have you selected for your company?
  • What are the pros and cons of the market(s)?
  • What R.O.I. do you need to achieve to make the market(s) worthwhile?
  • Do you know where you can find help to identify the best markets?

Prepared by the International Trade Administration. With its network of 108 offices across the United States and in more than 75 countries, the International Trade Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce utilizes its global presence and international marketing expertise to help U.S. companies sell their products and services worldwide. Locate the trade specialist in the U.S. nearest you by visiting

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