What is Multi-Country Market Research?

sis multi-country research

Multicountry market research is an essential tool for understanding new and diverse markets, providing valuable insights into consumer trends, local customs, and industry procedures.

As companies expand their reach overseas, the importance of effective and comprehensive market research gains momentum – and for consulting firms, conducting multicountry market research is not only vital to assist their clients in strategic planning, but also to ensure their competitive advantage.

About Multicountry Market Research

Multicountry Market Research involves multiple countries as part of a Qualitative or Quantitative research project. It allows managers to uncover patterns, attitudes, similarities, differences and new opportunities.

This information is fundamental to develop marketing strategies and identify opportunities for growth in foreign markets. However, it is a challenging study and the research methods must be tailored to take into account cultural and linguistic differences, and a thorough understanding of the target market is essential for success

Importance of multicountry market research

The international business environment is in a constant state of change, making multicountry market research key to capturing the many facets of different markets.

Thus, by conducting multicountry market research, consulting firms can identify potential opportunities and risks in different markets, enabling them to design effective, customized strategic plans and solutions for their clients. This type of research also provides a comprehensive perspective of the global marketplace, considering the economic and political elements that can affect business operations in various nations.

Keys to understanding target markets in multicountry market research

  • Identifying target markets: To effectively conduct multinational market research, consulting firms must identify the target markets that are meaningful to their clients. These target markets are determined considering geographic location, demographics, and psychographic factors such as age, gender, income, education, attitude, and values, among others.
  • Evaluating economic and political factors: When evaluating the viability of a target market, consulting firms must consider the essential economic and political factors that influence the success of any business. This includes an examination of the size and potential of the market, the regulatory landscape, and economic indicators such as tax laws, intellectual property rights, inflation rate, and unemployment rate, among others.
  • Cultural analysis: It is essential to assess the culture of a target market to gain an understanding of the influence it has on consumer behavior. This should include analyzing the norms and values, attitudes, beliefs, and social structures of the target market. As a result, companies can adapt their marketing and advertising campaigns to the local culture.
  • Language considerations: When conducting multicountry market research, language barriers can be a significant obstacle. Consulting firms must be aware of local language translation and usage to ensure that research materials and surveys are culturally appropriate and easily understood. In addition, non-verbal communication and body language may differ from culture to culture and should be considered when conducting research.
  • Consumer behavior: To effectively reach their target market, consulting firms must understand local consumer behavior. This includes understanding buying patterns, brand loyalty, and decision-making processes.
  • Market size and potential: When assessing a target market, it is crucial to evaluate both its size and its growth potential. If a target market has a considerable market size and substantial market potential, this indicates that the target market has a considerable capacity to reach many customers.
  • Regulatory environment: When conducting multicounty market research, the regulatory environment must be taken into account. Since regulations vary in multiple countries, it is critical to be familiar with the applicable laws and policies governing the target market.
  • Economic indicators: Economic metrics may provide invaluable insights into the economic landscape of a target market. Consulting firms should study economic indicators such as gross domestic product (GDP), inflation rate, unemployment rate, and exchange rate to get a good picture of the target market’s financial outlook.
  • Political Stability: Political stability is another key factor because civil unrest, changes in government policies, and unstable governing bodies may affect and have a profound effect on a company’s operations in the target market.

Best Practices in Multicountry Research

SIS has been conducting multi-country research for 40+ years. Given our experience with multi-country research, we recommend the following:


  • Plan to expect a wide range of outcomes from country to country

  • Account to plan for at least 1 – 2 weeks to set up the recommended research design

  • Plan to have the questionnaire vary from country to country to account for cultural differences

  • Plan to have the qualitative and quantitative expected deliverables in the same format across all countries.


  • Do not plan to have one methodology fit all countries

  • Do not plan a tight timeframe as translations and fieldwork may take longer than expected

  • Do not plan for “a global solution” as the results may reveal that you need a specific country or regional solution.

  • Do not expect that one single research design will be appropriate across developed and emerging economies

Opportunities and challenges of multicountry market research

As with any complex research, multicountry market research has opportunities and limitations to be taken into consideration before starting the market study – and its main opportunities and challenges are the following:


  • Multicountry market research can provide businesses with an in-depth look into potential markets. Through the analysis of local market dynamics, consumer behavior, and other pertinent factors, consulting firms can equip businesses with the tools necessary to develop tailored marketing strategies and product offerings tailored to specific markets’ needs.
  • Through the use of multicountry market research, businesses can gain insight into optimizing their products to meet the needs and preferences of different target markets. Consulting firms can provide data on local consumer habits, cultural differences, and other factors to assist businesses in customizing their offerings to best suit their customer base.
  • Consulting firms can assist businesses in creating culturally-aware marketing campaigns that are tailored to local markets by providing market research across multiple countries.
  • Businesses may reduce the risk associated with entering new markets. By procuring data regarding local market dynamics, regulatory requirements, and other pertinent information, consulting firms can assist in the identification of any potential risks and the implementation of strategies to manage them.


  • Cultural and linguistic dissimilarities can create considerable difficulties when executing multicountry market research. Consulting firms may have to collaborate with local professionals to guarantee that research efforts are culturally aware and correctly interpreted for different markets.
  • Navigating the distinct regulatory frameworks across countries can be a complex task for those conducting research.
  • The analysis of data from multiple countries can pose practical and methodological complexities. Variations in research protocols, questionnaires, or metrics of measurement between countries may hinder data evaluation and comprehension.
  • When conducting multi-country market research, data security, and privacy must be taken into account. Consulting companies must ensure compliance with the diverse data protection regulations in each country, which can add complexity and expense to the research process.

Future Trends and Considerations

  • As the technology landscape continues to advance, consulting firms and corporations must remain up-to-date with emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and blockchain. These technologies can significantly enhance data gathering and analysis, enabling consulting firms to gain deeper insights into target markets.
  • Sustainability and corporate social responsibility (CSR) are becoming increasingly important considerations for businesses. Customers are developing awareness of the environmental and social implications of the goods and services they purchase, making it advantageous for companies that prioritize sustainability and CSR.

SIS International offers Quantitative, Qualitative, and Strategy Research. We provide data, tools, strategies, reports and insights for decision-making. We conduct interviews, surveys, focus groups and many other Market Research methods and approaches. Contact us for your next Market Research project.