A nation's economic situation represents its current and potential capacity to produce goods and services. The key to understanding market opportunities lies in the evaluation of the stage of a nation's economic growth.
A way of classifying the economic growth of countries is to divide them into three groups: (a) industrialized, (b) developing, and (c) less-developed nations. The industrialized nations are generally considered to be the United States, Japan, Canada, Russia, Australia, and most of Western Europe. The economies of these nations are characterized by private enterprise and a consumer orientation. They have high literacy, modem technology, and higher per capita incomes.
Developing nations are those that are making the transition from economies based on agricultural and raw materials production to industrial economies. Many Latin American nations fit into this category, and they exhibit rising levels of education, technology, and per capita incomes.
Finally, there are many less developed nations in today's world. These nations have low standards of living, literacy rates are low, and technology is very limited.
Usually, the most significant marketing opportunities exist among the industrialized nations, as they have high levels of income, one of the necessary ingredients for the formation of markets. However, most industrialized nations also have stable population bases, and market saturation for many products already existing. The developing nations, on the other hand, have growing population bases, and although they currently import limited goods and services, the long-run potential for growth in these nations exists. Dependent societies seek products that satisfy basic needs-food, clothing, housing, medical care, and education. Marketers in such nations must be educators, emphasizing information in their market programs. As the degree of economic development increases, so does the sophistication of the marketing effort focused on the countries.