1. Examination of India’s export statistics which are officially published in the “Monthly Statistics relating to India’s Foreign Trade.” This enables the potential exporter to find out where similar products are going, whether the exports are declining or increasing.
If the exports are increasing, what is the rate of growth of the exports? In doing so, data for a period of three to five years should be collected as it may reveal the trend of the markets. Again, always the latest statistics should be looked for. Old statistics may not be very helpful and may at times be misleading.
2. Examination of import statistics of the selected importing countries is the next step. This gives an idea of the relative size of the various markets. How much of the product concerned is being imported in different countries? Who are the competitors in each market? Is the market expanding, static or contracting?
Ideally the market to be concentrated upon should be an expanding market since this means that further sales are possible without affecting the competitors too much. This would also make the marketing task much easier.
Import statistics of foreign countries may be available in Foreign Embassies or Consulates in India and Chambers of Commerce. In addition, OECD World Trade Statistics and United Nations International Trade Statistics also provide these data.
3. Examination of India’s export statistics and foreign import statistics both may give an idea of the possible unit value realisation, as also the price paid for imports in foreign countries from different sources.
4. Examination of research studies are made by the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade, India Trade Promotion Organisation and Export Promotion Councils. These reports contain useful marketing information about the various markets and products covered by them.
5. It generally pays good dividends to talk to some experienced exporters. In this respect, it would be better to approach exporters of allied items. Competitors would not necessarily be helpful.
Contacting trade associations and Chambers of Commerce may also help in the process of appraising markets. In fact, it is one of the important functions of the Export Promotion Councils to help the new exporters to find out foreign markets and give important details about each market.
Freight forwarders may help the exporters to find out availability of shipping services, as also the freight charges to different countries.
6. The Economic Times, Financial Express and other financial newspapers often publish supplements covering one particular country giving a lot of information’s useful to marketers.
7. Commercial banks may also provide a lot of information about the payments position and exchange control restrictions in different countries. They can also supply status reports on the commercial standing of the foreign buyers.
8. India’s commercial representatives abroad may help in collecting information regarding health, sanitary and other regulations like marketing and labeling requirements and also in the selection of agents. An exporter’s letter to Indian Embassies abroad seeking information, must give as much specific information as possible.
For example, if the company wants to export refrigerators, it may give the following details: size of the refrigerators made, possible prices, capacity of production that could be set aside for export, description of the refrigerator line accompanied by brochures, small folders, booklets, the types of outlets that are used at home, the terms which the company is willing to offer to the possible distributors, etc.
9. ‘Yellow Pages’ in telephone directories of various countries contain classified list of prominent trading houses/importers of several products.
The information contained in such directories is considered the most up-to-date and accurate. These directories can be referred to in various Telephone Exchanges, Embassies/ High Commissions of the countries’ concerned and prominent commercial libraries.
10. The various Export Promotion Councils/Commodity Boards are regularly publishing bulletins/journals, inter alia, containing information on prospective customers of the products falling within their purview. The exporter must subscribe to these bulletins.