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International market selection and segmentation: a two‐stage model

Charlotte Gaston‐Breton (Department of Business Administration, University Carlos III of Madrid, Madrid, Spain and University Paris Quest Nanterre, Paris, France)
Oscar Martín Martín (Department of Business Administration, Public University of Navarre, Pamplona, Spain and Department of Business Studies, Uppsala University, Sweden)

International Marketing Review

ISSN: 0265-1335

Article publication date: 31 May 2011




The purpose of this paper is to present a two‐stage international market selection and segmentation model addressed to help decision makers such as foreign institutions and market‐seeking multinational enterprises (MNEs) identify and select the most suitable European countries and groups of consumers.


The first stage is conceived as a macro‐segmentation screening process based on market attractiveness. The second is a micro‐segmentation process addressed to identify which groups of people are most similar across Europe in terms of social and personal values. The authors' model is rooted in previous assumptions and findings from international market selection (IMS) and Inglehart's theory of material and post‐material values.


The model is applied to the current 27 European Union (EU) member states and is validated through the groups of countries empirically obtained. The model allows us to cluster the European countries by market attractiveness, group the European consumers by personal and social values and describe the value orientation of the resulting clusters.

Research limitations/implications

The authors used cross‐sectional data to validate their model. Among the implications, they encourage international marketing and business scholars to make use of Inglehart's framework.

Practical implications

Institutional decision makers and market‐seeking MNEs can follow or adapt the prescribed model in order to identify the most promising and similar European countries and groups of consumers. Public policy makers can gain an in‐depth understanding of specific personal and social values allowing them to shape public policy agendas.


This paper contributes to the existing literature on IMS and segmentation in three ways: it proposes an original and parsimonious two‐stage IMS and segmentation integrative model for both country‐level and consumer‐related analyses (suitable to handle and reduce the European diversity that decision makers have to face when dealing with the general public or consumer products); it applies theoretically grounded general segmentation bases and an alternative established framework of consumer values (Inglehart's value system), and it adopts an updated and pan‐European perspective over the enlarged EU.



Gaston‐Breton, C. and Martín Martín, O. (2011), "International market selection and segmentation: a two‐stage model", International Marketing Review, Vol. 28 No. 3, pp. 267-290.



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Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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