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Rethinking Country Segmentation

By: Greg Seminara, Export Solutions

                                              

Global dynamics has caused seismic shifts in international business development and country prioritization. Every company maintains a proprietary methodology for segmenting markets.The traditional process categorized markets by continent and ranked them with filters such as population,gdp per capita, category development , and proximity to producing plant. In the past few years, Export Solutions aligned countries according to business potential. Our analysis looked at countries in three groups: Strategic ( Invest), Priority ( Manage), and Opportunistic (Profit).Our new segmentation approach allows us to deliver increased emphasis on different types of emerging markets which are dominating growth trends. Strategists should continue to apply historical models and filters. However, the below segmentation exercise allows us to measure progress in markets that represent greatest future potential.

 


Established


Developing



New Frontiers

 

 

Markets

 

Western Europe
USA/Canada
Japan/Australia

 

Central/East Europe
Latin America (ex Brazil)
Russia/Saudi Arabia/Gulf
China/Korea/Taiwan



Africa/Brazil
India/Turkey
Balance Asia
Balance Mid.East

Population

 1 billion

2.2 billion

4.0 billion

Share Global
Population

14 %

30 %

 56 %

Share Global
Retail Sales (estimate)

70 %

20 %

10 %

2012 GDP Growth

 0-2 %

4-9 %

3-7 %

Established Markets
Most manufacturers source the majority of their sales from established markets.
These countries may share similar eating and product usage habits, languages, proximity, and historical ties. Most established markets are mature and expensive to enter or build share.
These markets tend to be price sensitive with consolidated retail environments and demanding retailers serving as "gate keepers" to the shelf. Many retailers in established markets publicly commit to expanding private label at the expense of the national brands that consumers prefer. Established markets serve as our core business. However, reduced dependency will allow us higher ROI in new markets with better mid-long term growth potential.

Developing Markets
Many brands have well defined export programs with sales to 30, 50, 100 countries or even more. I believe that Tabasco, one of the world's great brands, is sold in an impressive 160 countries.  Simple presence in a country is not enough to generate excitement from management. Companies must perform per capita consumption analysis to evaluate brand performance relative to category size and potential. In our model, developing markets are countries where you've conducted business ,but still maintain significant room to develop your business. For many companies, China is a developing market, while for others it may represent a "new frontier". Developing markets projected 2012 GDP growth ranges from 4-9 % , suggesting healthy economic conditions, with more consumers moving to the middle class.

New Frontiers
There are 196 countries in the world today. 4 billion people live in countries where few international brands are available and accessible. This includes challenging markets like Sub-Saharan Africa, Pakistan, and Iran. However, this group also includes large countries such as India and Brazil that maintain complex and costly requirements serving as a barriers to market entry. Our history tells us that as "new frontier" consumers gain spending power, they reward themselves with the purchase of an international confectionery, food, or personal care products. They view the purchase of global brands as "doing something nice for their familes.These countries represent 56 % of the worlds population, but only 10 % of the worlds retail sales.

Next Steps
An interesting exercise is to segment your business according to the above three groups.

Adjust parameters based upon what makes sense for your brand. Do not stress if 95 % of your business is in Established markets. The key metric is to set 3-5 year objectives for increased business share contributed by Developing and New Frontier markets.

Export Solutions can help
Export Solutions helps companies of all sizes with strategic planning and new country prioritization. We are able to quickly apply "Lessons Learned" from more than 300 projects across 5 continents. Our point of difference is that we are "independent" and provide a "Fresh Look" at your international business. We offer a "hands-on" commercial approach . Contact Greg Seminara at gseminara@exportsolutions.com to discuss your project.