International Market Research

What is market research, and how does it provide sufficient information for a company or corporation to make an informed decision regarding any major directional change in the organisation’s future?

A few years ago, my company was commissioned to provide market research relating to the laundry sector in Dubai. The commission came from an industry giant in South America which wanted to break into the laundry services market in the Middle East and decided Dubai would be the best place to start.

Our proposal was selected from the others because of a number of factors that the client felt were important. The first was our knowledge of the business environment in the region, especially the UAE, the second was our knowledge of the hotel business, a large consumer of laundry services. The research we undertook pointed out several factors that ultimately prevented expansion in the region and the company decided to expand into other South American countries instead.

One of the services we provide is a ‘country tour’ for senior executives and their husbands/wives working for companies looking to relocate into the region. A first-hand visit to see what is available in terms of shops, schools, entertainment and the like, is an important step before deciding to move. Relocating to a foreign environment often means adapting to a different culture and, certainly in terms of the UAE, a different temperature. It is also important to appreciate that countries in the region are not the same; assuming that the UAE is the same as Saudi Arabia is the same as assuming England is the same as Italy. Likewise, life in Sharjah and life in Dubai differ even though they are neighbouring emirates within the UAE.

Working conditions and human resource queries can be addressed by meeting HR professionals, and real estate companies can clear up any doubts regarding offices and warehouses. A visit to immigration to see the modernity of the process are all comforting elements available to visitors wishing to know more about an overseas lifestyle.

Market research is also important as it helps prepare the company and Board to make commercial decisions which may affect shareholders and stakeholders alike. Research could take the form of a visit to gather first-hand intelligence, or it could be an in-depth feasibility study to determine viability, cost effectiveness, P&L projections or investment opportunities.

From consultative firms to lawyers and accountants, the choice is endless and diverse. One law firm in Dubai is well known for its studies and research and the English Business Council has complete access to its resources.

If you are starting a new job and want some information on what it is like living in the UAE, or if you represent a corporation wanting to set up an office in the region, we can assist at all levels to make your journey easier.

A quick tip. Most International law and accountancy firms with offices in major cities will have guides to doing business on their websites. Click here for an example guide on how to set up a business in the UK.

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