Overview: The right export strategy for mature markets

There is nowhere that Switzerland exports more to than Germany, the USA, France or Italy. Together, these markets account for almost half of Switzerland's export volume. But these countries are all mature markets filled with strong competition. How can Swiss exporters hold their own in this environment? An overview of strategies for mature markets. 

Where do you export to? Examine export to mature markets with our consultants
Where do you export to? Examine export to mature markets with our consultants


Germany continues to be Switzerland's most important export market. The cultural and geographical proximity as well as economic relations create optimal conditions for this. The competition is correspondingly strong, niches in the German market are often already occupied and customers are also price sensitive. It is therefore worthwhile for Swiss exporters to position themselves clearly against the competition, rethink their price model and review new forms. At the same time, innovative products that follow the megatrends of digitization or sustainability are in demand. Those who meet these requirements will find good sales opportunities in Germany; a market that forms the backbone of many Swiss exporters' success and can be profitable in the long term. Country consultation Germany


Swiss products enjoy a good reputation with our eastern neighbor and are highly valued. However, this is not enough to be successful in the Austrian market. The market is too saturated and there are too many alternatives. For Swiss SMEs to be contenders in Austria, the product or service needs a clear unique selling point. Market cultivation is also particularly time-consuming at the outset, as exporters have to take the time to invest in good contacts and get to know their customers. This is a worthwhile effort. After all, Austria is one of the most important export markets for Swiss companies within Europe and has a stable economic environment. Country consultation Austria

Southern Europe 

Even though southern European countries such as Italy, France or Spain might seem alike to the Swiss, they have their own particularities that can often be decisive for success in these countries. In order to avoid cultural faux pas and to open up markets (cost-) efficiently, it can often be worthwhile to cooperate with a local business partner; for example, local sales staff can be hired directly in the Swiss company to build up the market. Southern Europeans attach great importance to personal relationships, and personal meetings with customers and suppliers are expected. Swiss exporters who want to be contenders in Southern Europe also need a good pricing strategy. Even though Swiss-made and quality products are highly valued, price is often an important criterion for long-term success. Country consultation Italy Country consultation France Country consultation Spain 


A typical mature market where the niches are occupied: In the UK there is oversupply in many areas and the competition is enormous. As a result, customers are becoming increasingly sensitive and are looking for innovations in products or services that stand out from the crowd. And this is precisely where the potential exists for Swiss exporters: Demanding customers mean that new developments are driven enormously fast – as one of the most innovative countries in the world, Switzerland can often meet these requirements as well as the demand. One keyword with regard to this rapid development and the desire for continuous improvement is certainly digitization. The British are accustomed to both B2B and B2C agile business models – and they are always looking for digital solutions. It is therefore not surprising that there are good business opportunities for Swiss companies in the areas of e-commerce, fintech and insuretech, among others. Country consultation Great Britain 



USA + Canada

The USA and Canada are highlydeveloped markets characterized by enormous competitive pressure and demanding customers. The potential for Swiss companies in these two markets is a great as their size and and stature. It pays to initially focus on selected customer regionsand expand from there. Regulations and legal framework conditions are often different from those in Europe and differ between the USA and Canada in almost all cases. It is worth getting an overview in the form of an in-depth market and customer analysis. Swiss companies should think digitally in a holistic sense and adapt their business models to the needs of customers in North America. E-commerce, for example, has become an important sales channel, in business-to-consumer and business-to-business alike. Country consultation USA Country consultation Canada


Japan is a modern market in which there is a great demand for technical applications. Due to their expertise, Swiss solutions are in demand in areas such as IT, life science and medical technology. Opportunities are opening up for Swiss exporters in the latter, above all due to the ageing society. However, anyone who wants to be successful in this demanding market must be able to take on the local competition, position themselves with a strong product and offer services such as after-sales service – this is the be-all and end-all in Japan and the service must be available 24/7. Knowledge of the culture and maintaining relationships with local business partners and customers are equally important for success in the Japanese market. Country consultation Japan

Australia + New Zealand

Two markets “down under” that present Swiss companies with challenges primarily due to distance and time differences. The long transport route and the shelf life of goods can spell additional costs. On the contrary, however, this factor should not dissuade Swiss companies from exporting there. Australia and New Zealand are promising markets, both rely on quality and do not produce all goods themselves. They are therefore dependent on imports, and "Swissness" enjoys a very good reputation. Due to the high level of competition from Asia, however, Swiss exporters need a clear focus, value and performance promise (USP). Even though Australia and New Zealand are considered high-cost countries, customers there tend to question prices. In order to gain a foothold in these markets, it is particularly worthwhile for Swiss companies to cooperate with a local partner during the initial phase. Country Consulting Australia

Aussenwirtschaftsforum, March 26, 2019

Would you like more strategies and tips for growth in mature markets? Come to the Aussenwirtschaftsforum, exchange ideas with experts from all regions of the world and learn from the experiences of other SMEs. The Aussenwirtschaftsforum is the meeting point of the year for Swiss exporters.


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