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not only that his product will be able to compete with others already on the market as to price, quality, sales terms, delivery, or peculiar merit, but also how he will be able to induce wholesalers and jobbers to stock it and retailers to handle it. This involves an analysis of existing domestic demand, how it has been created and sustained, whether it is increasing or decreasing, and from what causes.


Tastes and styles that change constantly affect imports as well as domestic products. Not so long ago, one of our leading imports from China was hair nets. No importer could have foreseen 20 years ago that American women would bob their hair and cease to use hair nets, and that the demand for Chinese human hair would fall to a negligible quantity. Imported products that create or cater to new styles have at once an added attraction and also carry a greater risk. These factors must be taken into account in any competitive analysis.


Many products that are imported are of such a character that demand remains constant or increases with normal increases in the population. Japanese crab meat is a good example of such a product. Even such products, however, are subject to some variation and must be constantly advertised to prevent some other product supplanting them in popular favor. A competitive analysis may evaluate such factors and estimate the possibilities of new or competitive products gaining a foothold on the market. Examination of import statistics over a period of years will show the trend to be either above or below the normal expectation. Today we are importing more tungsten for radios and less mahogany for pianos. The increase or decrease may not be noticeable in any one year, but, over a period of years, import statistics will tell the tale.


A factor of extreme importance in any competitive analysis is an estimate of the trend in general economic conditions in the domestic market. The Division of Economic Research of the Bureau of Foreign and Domestic Commerce can be of real assistance to importers on this score. Through the Survey of Current Business and other current publications, this Division can furnish information on general economic trends and also trends in such industrial development as may affect future demand. The Marketing Research Division of the same Bureau, through its many surveys and studies of domestic consumption and distribution, can furnish the importer with valuable material in preparing such an analysis. At all events, no competitive analysis is complete unless the effect of the current trend in general economic conditions upon the particular commodity to be imported is properly evaluated. This would include an analysis of the price level of the commodity in its relation to the general price level, the volume of its domestic production, stocks on hand, imports and exports, and other pertinent data. These general factors are often more revealing than the special experience of any one importer, no

matter how broad it has been. Importers in 1929, for example, who relied upon their own experience and failed to note the gathering clouds on the economic horizon of the United States found themselves in grave difficulties.


The chief value of the import-market analysis is that it brings all the factors to the consideration of the importer before he takes any step that is likely to cost him money. The time and trouble spent in the investigation is more than repaid by the discovery of tħose weak links in the chain that are apt to cause disaster. If the analysis discloses, however, that a new product can be brought into effective demand profitably, or that a product already being imported can be offered with additional attractiveness as to cost, quality, or peculiar appeal, it will have served a constructive and profitable purpose.

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