Researching the market

Consultation and bespoke research

Taking a strategic approach
Doing business in Ireland is straight forward and easier than many other markets. It is always advisable for companies to conduct reliable research before taking the plunge and venturing into any new market. This is vital, and will save you money and improve the efficiency of your venture.

A good first step is to spend time thinking about what objectives your company has in Ireland.

The questions listed below should help you to focus your thoughts. Your answers to them will highlight areas for further research and also suggest the right way forward for your company. You may then want to use this as a basis for developing a formal Ireland strategy, although this may not be necessary or appropriate for all companies:

Your Company

  • What are the unique selling points for your product or service?

  • Do you know if there is a market for your product in Ireland?

  • Do you know if you can be competitive in Ireland?

  • Are your competitors already in Ireland? If so, what are they doing?

  • Do you have the time and resources to handle the demands of communication, travel, product delivery and after-sales service?

  • Where does Ireland fit in with your wider plans – for example, are you planning to use Ireland as a stepping stone to other markets?

Your Knowledge

  • Do you know how to secure payment for your products or service?

  • Do you know where in Ireland you should start?

  • Do you know how to locate and screen potential partners, agents or distributors?

  • Have you carried out any Ireland-specific customer segmentation, and do you know how to best reach potential customers in-market?

It is unlikely that you will have the answers to all these questions at the outset and these “knowledge gaps” should form the basis for further research and investigation. Some of these questions will require quantitative research in your sector, while others involve more contextual and cultural considerations. Talking to other people in your industry and regularly visiting Ireland will give you access to the most current advice, and such experience can often lead to new insights and form the basis for further research.


Help available for you

You will be able to find out some free information from carrying out desk research. As a minimum, you are advised to contact the UKTI team at the British Embassy in Dublin prior to your visit to discuss your objectives and what help you may need. They provide a range of services to UK based companies, including the provision of market information, validated lists of agents/potential partners, key market players or potential customers; establishing interest from such contacts in working with UK based companies; and arranging appointments. In addition, they can also organise events for you to meet contacts or promote a company and its products/services. In addition, read the EU’s practical guide to doing business in Europe:

Events and missions
Events are one of the most effective ways to support companies that are looking for trade opportunities and that are undergoing periods of transition. The UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) calendar of events has some 400 core events and missions, and 1,000 opportunities across the TAP ‘Trade Access Programme’ and the English National Regions.

UKTI Events Portal
The UKTI Events Portal provides a single calendar view of all UKTI Events and Missions, and has been developed to provide companies with more detailed information on each event in order to help them decide on the most appropriate event to attend. The calendar can be filtered and searched by sector and/or market.

There are also detailed events websites which include more information about the event and also allow users to register for an event.

The UKTI Events Portal is your central hub for business and networking opportunities. Search for future events and missions, register online and network with fellow delegates. Register online at:

Export Opportunities
The UKTI Export Opportunities service is a web-based system that allows UK companies to register for thousands of free sales leads in 42 sectors in over 100 countries.

These are sourced by UKTI experts and put you in touch with companies in that market who are looking to source millions of pounds worth of goods and services from the UK.

To register for this free service and tailor your alerts for business opportunities, please visit:

The UKTI Webinar service runs hundreds of free hour-long internet events covering topics, sectors and countries around the world, helping you shape your export plan.

These events allow you to interact with the experts in specific sectors and countries and allow you to ask questions to enhance your knowledge

To see upcoming UKTI Webinars, please visit: and search for webinars.

Overseas Market Introduction Service
You can also commission a UKTI Overseas Market Introduction Service (OMIS) to help you enter or expand your business in Ireland. Under this service, the Embassy’s Trade Advisors, who have wide local experience and knowledge, can identify business partners and provide the support and advice most relevant to your company's specific needs in Ireland.

UKTI services are ever changing and evolving, below are some examples of services on offer. For more information check with the UKTI Ireland team.

Other UKTI services

UKTI assists new and experienced exporters with information, help and advice on entering overseas markets such as Ireland. These services include:

  • An Export Health Check to assess your company’s readiness for exporting and help develop a plan of action

  • Training in the requirements for trading overseas

  • Help to grow your business through online exports

  • Access to an experienced local International Trade Adviser

  • Specialist help with tackling cultural issues when communicating with Irish customers and partners

  • Advice on how to go about market research and the possibility of a grant towards approved market-research projects

  • Ongoing support to help you continue to develop overseas trade and look at dealing with more-sophisticated activities or markets

  • Information, contacts, advice, mentoring and support from UKTI staff in the UK and their network of staff in Ireland

  • Support to participate in trade fairs in Ireland

  • Opportunities to participate in sector-based trade missions and seminars

  • Access to major buyers, local government and supply chains in Ireland

  • Advice on forming international joint ventures and partnerships

  • Exploratory visits to Ireland

  • Alerts to the latest and best business opportunities

To find out more about commissioning any of these services, contact a UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) Export Adviser at: for a free consultation, or see further details at:


Business Opportunities
UK companies are set to benefit from a unique new five-year programme presenting real-time export opportunities that you can apply for online. This is part of a move to get 100,000 additional companies exporting by 2020.

Launched in November 2015, Exporting is GREAT is part of the UK government’s GREAT campaign, and presents live export opportunities to UK businesses across a range of media outlets and digital channels. Hundreds of these export opportunities, with a potential total value of more than £300 million, are hosted on a new platform,, with many more set to come online each month.

“Exporting is GREAT” provides advice and expertise to support businesses at every step on their exporting journey, from initial interest to selling in-market, and includes a year-long roadshow travelling the UK, giving face-to-face assistance to potential exporters, and using the latest technology to connect these businesses with live export opportunities.

E-Exporting Programme
UKTI’s E-Exporting Programme aims to help UK companies get their brands to millions of global consumers and grow their business through online exports. UKTI’s E-Exporting Programme helps UK companies who are:

  • new to selling online

  • already selling online, but need help with specific issues

  • experienced in online sales, but are looking to sell on multiple platforms globally

The programme enables you to:

  • arrange a free meeting through your local UKTI office to get expert international trade advice and support, and access to UKTI’s global network of contacts. See:

  • meet a Digital Trade Adviser where relevant, to help develop and implement an international online strategy

  • set up on e-marketplaces quickly and also identify new e-marketplaces around the world

  • access better than commercial rates to list on some e-marketplaces, including lower commission fees and ‘try for free’ periods. See:

  • access the ‘E-Expertise Bank’, a community of over 175 B2B/B2C service providers offering free advice. See:

  • join UKTI’s mailing list for opportunities to hear from industry experts, network with like-minded individuals and find out about e-commerce trends

Open to Export
Open to Export is UKTI’s free, online advice service for UK companies looking to grow internationally. It offers free information and support on anything to do with exporting and hosts online discussions via its forum, webinars and social media where businesses can ask any export question, and learn from each other.

Open to Export can be accessed at:

If you are interested in exporting to Ireland, Contact a UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) Export Adviser at: for a free consultation.

[Source: UK Trade & Investment/ (Feb 2016)]

Other agencies that can help
British Irish Chamber of Commerce (BICC) is the leading business group serving the interests of businesses with interests in Britain and Ireland. The Chamber plays a vital role in maintaining focus on the value of two-way trade between the United Kingdom and Ireland. They also operate BIG, the British Irish Gateway for Trade, which is an online community of businesses people interested in export and business development. For more information: and

British Irish Trading Alliance (BITA)is a non-profit making organisation that encourages its members to build relationships to generate business through exciting networking, educational and social events held in both countries.For more information:

Enterprise Europe Network (EEN) helps Irish businesses innovate and grow internationally.  With over 600 member organisations, throughout the world, they are the largest support network for SMEs and combine international business expertise with local knowledge to help companies take their innovation into new markets. For more information:

Small Firms Association (SFA) is the national organisation exclusively representing the needs of small enterprises (i.e. those employing less than 50 employees) in Ireland. For more information:

Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association (ISME) is the independent representative association for Small and Medium Enterprises in Ireland and currently has in excess of 10,200 members throughout Ireland. For more information:

In addition, read the EU’s practical guide to doing business in Europe:


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