How to find the right export market

By Beatrice Thomas

Your export success hinges on finding the right international markets for your product or service. But with a whole world to choose from, where do you start?

Michael Carter, manager of CCIWA's International Trade and Investment Centre, breaks down how to take on market research, and start building your export plan.

Identifying your market 

Before you consider exporting, you need to make sure you've covered your business basics: you must understand your business and your product. It may be that both have shifted as you've grown or adapted to consumer changes. Once you're firm on the basics you're ready to apply this knowledge to your international market.

Mine the data 

DFAT publishes regular statistics, updates, reports and articles online via its website. This information, combined with desktop research on market size, growth statistics and end-user segments (a term used to identify who you are selling to, i.e. the demographic, or sector) can start you on your journey toward identifying your potential growth markets.  

You can also take advantage of your own data: if you've had international enquiries, where are they coming from? Who is looking at your website from overseas?  

You also want to have a sense of your local competitors in that market, and what they're currently paying for similar products and services.  

By now, you should be able to start narrowing your potential markets. The more time and expertise you can put towards honing down into these potential markets the better. You can also save time and take some of the unknowns out of the equation by bringing in experts, like those at ITIC, to help with this research.

Trade agreements

The Federal Government is on a fairly ambitious program to lock in several free trade agreements that may ease the cost of exporting and create new opportunities in particular sectors. The UK-Australia Free Trade Agreement is anticipated to come into force in late 2022 with the EU Australia Free Trade Agreement following soon after.

There have also been moves to develop more economic cooperation between Australia and India. So, in a very short period, three new trade agreements may be rolled out to benefit exporters. If you're looking to identify new markets, it's worth keeping across news on these developing agreements as well as familiarising yourself with those already in place. 

Experts at ITIC utilise the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade's FTA portal to drill down into import and export agreements in a more forensic way to apply them to products.

Read more: A guide to FTAs  

Next steps: can I find importers, distributors or channel partners? 

Once you have identified a market you will need a market entry strategy. Trustworthy, reliable partners - distributors or service providers - is key to a successful launch into a new market. Identifying these businesses, and approaching them, can be daunting.

Start by taking a look at their pricing structure, consumer base, and the brands they represent. Once you have approached the distributor, dig deeper into their track record, and references. Getting this step wrong can be a costly mistake and damage your business's reputation. We'd recommend reaching out to our trade team of experts for support and guidance through these steps. 

Remember choosing the right importer, distributor or channel partner can make the difference between success or failure in market.  

You will also need to investigate import protocols and documentation, as well as other potential import enquiries. 


ITIC is a TradeStart partner of the Australian Trade Commission in WA, providing our clients with a direct link to Austrade’s exporter services and access to an extensive overseas network. To discover how we can help your business contact the team at ITIC on (08) 9365 7620 or via [email protected]. 

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