International Market Research – A Guide

International market research is a specialist branch of analysis that is essential for any business or organization that either operates globally or has a desire to do so.

The fundamental aim of international fieldwork is to ensure that analysis and findings are accurate for geographical areas of interest.

The research provides confidence and also helps to highlight both similarities across regions but also key differences.

In this page, Acumen, a leading UK market research company with a specialism in international research, will provide key information about this specialist form of market research.

What is International Market Research

At the most basic level, this form of research is exactly what it says – it is market research that has an international scope, rather than being limited to one country or region.

However, this does not just mean acquiring data from a lot of different regions. For instance, an online survey could be set up that analyzes shopping trends, this survey open to participants throughout Europe.

For this data to be useful, it is likely to need segmentation, otherwise generalisations could be made that do not apply to a specific nation.

Users in Spain and Italy might respond in a way that is different to those in the UK and yet, unless the data is segmented out, the findings from Spain and Italy could be used to inform decisions in the UK.

International market research would help to ascertain what can be done in a similar way across regions, and what needs to be done differently.

One example is with car manufacturing.

There is an overall trend towards automatic transmissions, with manual becoming less common; this, though, is less pronounced in the UK than most of continental Europe.

Any car manufacturer that stopped selling manual cars in the UK might find this had a far bigger hit on their sales than the same decision would have in other nations.

The trend is true across all nations – the move to automatics – but the scale of the trend differs greatly.

Benefits of International Market Research

Many of the benefits of international market research are similar to those of standard market research – however, they extend this to the global stage and also ensure that false conclusions are not drawn.

Specific benefits include.

  • Ensuring product launches and alterations are suitable for specific markets. The areas of greatest opportunity can also be found – given marketing budgets are not infinite, it naturally makes sense to find out where success is most likely to be achieved.
  • Product / Usage service can be analysed by region. Is there uniform use, or does this change by area and, if so, what does this mean for iterations.
  • Which rival products or services exist. This is likely to be very different by country.
  • How is the company, or organisation perceived in different areas? Some will find that their overall reputation is much better in some areas than others
  • Which gaps in the market exist locally
  • How mature is the market, how much user sophistication exists in the area of interest.
  • How does market size and potential market size alter by location. Which markets have the highest potential to be profitable?
  • Public awareness by location. A British company might be well known in the UK, but are they a household name in the US and, if not, how does this impact the ability to launch new products or services to market.

The above is just a small selection of the ways in which international market research can be of benefit.

Ultimately, for any organisation that has ambitions to trade or work in more than one region, this form of research is essential. Even for those who operate just in one region, it is important to be aware of global trends – are there foreign competitors who could impact the domestic market?

Are there advances made elsewhere that could be learnt from and applied?

International Market Research Specialism

At Acumen, we pride ourselves in being specialists in international market research. This helps clients in the following ways.

  • Available database of users. We have databases of users from across the world and also work with partners globally. This ensures that we can find suitable research participants for any research question, in any part of the world.
  • We have a dedicated team for international research, this means that your research project would be led by those who are always working on international research and its unique challenge. This is very different from when it is just an occasional part of someone’s work.
  • All research is filed into a singular point of contact who can then be the sole point of contact with your organisation.
  • We have a headstart in understanding the nuances of different markets and regions having worked on numerous projects involving international market research questions.
  • Acumen is known for using modern approaches for acquiring research data, and we have been nominated for many awards because of this approach. Globally, this can include using the social media platforms in each country to find participants, and also using online communities. This ensures data is captured promptly, yet also in a cost-efficient manner.

International Market Research Examples

On this site, there are case studies relating to two interesting research projects that involved international market research.

One involved the Games Industry to look at global information about PlayStation users.

Research was required in five specific countries – Turkey, Poland, France, Spain and Italy – and a fast turnaround was essential.

We found and screened all participants and held scheduled in-home interviews with all participants across the multiple time zones.

All those undertaking the interview reported back to us, so there was a single point of contact collating all the data – we have in-house data teams who work with the research experts,

The work ultimately enabled the client to develop new understandings about their users in locations they deemed to be key. There were, of course, similarities between the gamers across Europe, but also many subtle differences, these then helped to shape the company’s direction.

Other case studies have included in the beauty industry and also in healthcare.

Please contact us if you would like examples of work pertinent to your area of interest.

Next Steps

If you are looking to undertake international market research, please contact us for an obligation-free conversation.

About Acumen

Our large research agency team are on hand to help with all your research queries.

We’ve got years of experience working with big brands, large agencies and boutique market research companies.

Our award-winning research team has been recognised throughout our industry, with a reputation for lateral thinking and problem solving that seeks to answer the questions at the heart of your brief.

We provide a tailored approach which begins from our earliest conversations and continues with your dedicated project manager who will keep you updated throughout the research process.

We are happy to discuss any research methodology and will provide transparent and practical advice on the feasibility of your project. Some of the more common types of qualitative market research services we regularly provide are:

  • Focus groups
  • Interviews
  • Workshops
  • In-home research
  • Online communities
  • Accompanied shops
  • Customer and stakeholder events
  • Recruitment from client lists


Please call us on 0161 234 9440 or use our Contact Form to discuss your requirements for market research.