Understanding your market research requirements

It’s important to conduct robust market analysis to identify the markets with your biggest opportunities for growth and return on your investment. Quality insights will help you narrow down your options, and reveal your priority markets. Drill deeper into them, and you will gain clarity on where you should start, sometimes that is not the country or market you intended entering.

Armed with local market insights businesses can re-set their export strategy, with a tailored product or service offering to meet local market needs. They can consolidate and focus their resources and efforts, delivering an increased potential for success.

Don’t make the wrong assumptions, ask the wrong questions and get the wrong answers. Spend time on quality research now and save yourself time, money and the risk of failure.

Understanding your market research requirements

This Export Essentials guide takes you through the key elements of conducting primary and secondary market research. You’ll find information on:

  • What it is and why it’s important
  • The types of things you should consider when screening potential markets
  • Resources to screen potential markets
  • How to find and assess the information you gather
  • Tools and guidance to reliable external sources with market insights

Download our guide on this page to market research and identify your next market opportunity.

Watch this four-minute video of Geraldine Schnauer from Dunninghams and Paul Dibbayawan, NZTE Beachhead Advisor, discussing the benefits of having local insights and how 3-4 months of research is, in fact, a short period to commit to this valuable piece of your strategy development.

If you would like to learn more about developing the right approach to exporting for your business, register now for the next Export Essentials workshop. We’ll give you practical tools and techniques to take your business global.

Paul Dibbayawan: Well, not all markets are the same, so hence why market research is important because of the fact that it gives you an insight into something that you may not have been thinking about if you were back at home in New Zealand. The key benefits of doing research, and doing the right level of research, is first of all it allows you to understand the market that you’re going into, and then it makes you focus on “Well, what differences do you need to do and what adaptations do you need to make to your strategy to go into that market?” 

Geraldine Schnauer: The newest market that we’ve entered is Singapore and we went through that process really to narrow down where we should focus our efforts and we started with about 30 markets of interest and we narrowed them down to a top five. And we considered things like ease of entry, language, currencies, political, social, right through, you know what their habits were, and we ended up with a shortlist and Singapore was the market that was top of the list, so we started there. So, once we had narrowed it down to a few markets then we just drilled deeper down into them and just as time went on gut feel was fight about Singapore looking easier, and then, of course, we started doing some initial cold calls with the help of the research company and that just reiterated what we suspected, which was that it was going to be easier.

Paul Dibbayawan: I think the risks that a lot of exporters face could be a double-edged sword when you are looking at research is because sometimes you can ask the wrong questions and get the wrong answers, so you’re going to go down a path that may not necessarily be right. And on the flipside, if you don’t do the right research and you don’t ask the right questions then you’re not going to get the full, you know, knowledge that you need to do when you’re planning how to enter a new market such as Thailand.

Geraldine Schnauer: In terms of the key decisions it helped us narrow down that Singapore was the best market for us, and also the sort of products that would be suitable there based on the tastes, which were quite different from here. They like spicier products, et cetera, different meats are used. And also the distributors that we would need, distributor for food service as well as for retail for grocery, which is quite a different set-up than here where we go direct to market ourselves.

Paul Dibbayawan: The common mistakes I see that, yeah, some exporters would do, is that they either focus too much on too heavy data and they end up paralysing themselves by over-analysing the market, or secondly, they don’t do any and they just come in and expect it to be exactly the same as what they would do back home in New Zealand. So, the key is to get the right balance.

Geraldine Schnauer: The challenges, and they’re ongoing, and I think would most would agree when getting into new markets is working out the amount of time to be in market yourself being, you know, New Zealand is a long way from most markets, and you really need to make the jump-in and you know put the resources behind and go to market. And we’ve certainly seen that the more time you spend in market yourself the more you learn, the more contacts you make.

Exporter guide

Figure out which market best suits your offering with our easy-to-use market selection tool

  • I want to find out about trade shows or events overseas
    If you’re looking for key trade shows in a particular market, you’ll find a lot of information about trade shows and events through online searches. There are several good online directories of international shows. We suggest 10times, EventsEye and Trade Show News Network (TSNN) as possible starting points.

    It’s a good idea to also look up local or national trade promotion organisations in your target market. Many of them have online calendars of major events and shows.

    Get in touch with any business councils or trade associations within New Zealand that deal with your target market, as they may have knowledge of good shows to attend (or ones to avoid). 

    Don’t overlook learning from other New Zealand companies - ask around within your networks for others who are targeting the same market and get their impressions on shows they have attended or visited before.

    If you’ve found a trade show overseas that looks right for your business, you can also contact us to ask if there’s an official New Zealand stand or pavilion planned, or to get insights from NZTE staff and other companies’ experiences in previous years.
  • I want to find an in-market distributor for my business
    NZTE doesn’t maintain lists of distributors for specific products and markets. We encourage companies to do as much of the initial search process as they can for themselves, while bringing in professional help where needed.

    You’ll find useful information on researching, finding and selecting the right distributor for you in our Export Essentials guide to understanding your channel partner options.
  • I want to find out about regulations and tariffs for export
    Regulations and tariffs should be one of the first things you find out before exporting. They often determine whether a market will be easy or hard for you to export to, or whether you should try to do business there at all.

    Understanding regulations in your export destination is a must-do. For an introduction to what you need to think about, see our guide on understanding international compliance requirements. This includes tips on how to research regulations, as well as insights on local regulations, standards, health and safety, and dealing with local bureaucracy.

    It’s a good idea to take a look at the rest of the international compliance process while you’re doing your work on regulations – see more information in our guide to understanding international compliance requirements.

    If you’re planning to export food or food-related products, you should also check out the food exporting page on the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) website. MPI maintains a list of Overseas Market Access Requirements (OMARs) for New Zealand food products in different export markets – search and identify OMARs for your product online

    Tariffs can make your products more expensive and less attractive to overseas buyers, so you need to know the charges your products will attract before you commit to a new market.

    You can get a big head start in finding tariff information by using the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) tariff finder or the World Trade Organisation’s tariff download facility. You can search the databases by product name, but they work best when you know the approximate Harmonised System (HS) code for your product. HS codes are used by customs authorities around the world to identify products and apply tariffs. The longer the code is, the more precisely it describes your product. The first six digits of an HS code are usually the same worldwide – after that, there can be up to eight further digits, which often vary from country to country.

    New Zealand Customs can help you to find out the first six digits of your HS codes – email VOC@customs.govt.nz.

    To get a longer and more precise HS code for a particular market, look up and contact the local customs authority online, or talk to a customs broker or freight forwarder who has done business in that market.

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