Whether you’re new to exporting and wondering where to start or just trying to expand your reach, here are 5 markets that need to be on your radar right now.
Spending over $630 billion on international goods per year, Japan surpasses the UK (and many other countries) in imports. Because Japan lacks some natural resources such as oil and natural gas and industry staples such as machinery and metals, it relies heavily on other countries to make up the difference. More than half of Japan’s total imports by value are purchased from other Asian countries, but Europe and the US are still high on the list of trade partners. If you’re not into oil and metals, Japan might still have a place on your buyer’s list: between 2009 and 2016, Japanese imports of solar power diodes, semi-conductors and phone system devices (including smartphones) rose by about 150%. Other in-demand items include luxury retail goods, food products and quality “Western” goods made in Europe and the United States. If you haven’t found your niche product to sell here yet, you will. Japan accounts for more than 55% of the Asian retail market.
Although Deutschland is the third largest exporter in the world, it also imports about $1 trillion in goods annually. If you export electrical and optical circuit boards or panels, Germany could be your next big market. The demand for them in Germany has increased 174% in the past 8 years. Cars, motorcycles and public transport vehicles are also highly desired imports in the German market. Other distinctions: Germans are the largest group of foreign consumers of Indian textiles, have a taste for French aircraft and they are trending healthier: consumption of imported veggies has increased 28% in the last 5 years. But if you want to score big in trade with Germany, try selling computers, machinery or electrical equipment – the things they need to manufacture the goods they will eventually turn around and sell to the rest of the world.
China isn’t one of the countries most people think of as a big importer. But at nearly $1.5 trillion in imports, it’s one of the top 3 importers on the planet. More than half of China’s imports come from other Asian countries; but Europeans, North Americans and Africans are strong trading partners as well. In addition to electronic equipment and machinery, items like baby formula, fashion apparel, cosmetics and skin care products, food and nutritional supplements are good sellers. The key theme here is product quality. Chinese consumers are looking for reliable products they can trust. In the agricultural sector, China has recently signed a deal to import rice from the United States for the first time ever. New population dynamics – a growing urban and aging rural sector – combined with depleted soils have caused food imports to rise.
As a country known for it’s blatant consumer culture, perhaps the only surprise here is that the US is second on the list of top importers. Spending more than $2 trillion on imports annually, there’s almost no limit to what US businesses and consumers are looking to buy. So here’s a tip about how to sell it to them: be authentic. Since the last economic crash, Americans have creatively backlashed against all things corporate, disposable and mass-produced. That means that even if you manufacture 100,000 pieces per month, it should feel like you put some amount of care and attention into each and every one. Branding and package design can go a long way, and recyclable and sustainable products are big sellers.
Beating out the US by nearly $250m, the EU tops the list of world importers. But numbers can be a bit misleading: this figure includes trade within the EU itself, which is pretty widespread. That’s because trade within the EU is relatively streamlined – member countries enjoy intra-EU free trade. But foreign traders enjoy some of the benefit as well, because once a product has entered the EU, it can be transported freely within the EU. So if you’re selling to one EU country, you might as well sell to them all. The EU is the top trading partner for 80 countries, offers reduced and zero tariffs and is the most open to imports from developing countries. In fact, the EU imports more from developing countries than the USA, Canada, Japan and China combined (excluding fuels).
Ready to find your next importing contact? Check out some of these verified buyers from around the world.