Spanish Market Insights
With seven times the landmass of Ireland and ten times the population, the scale of Spain is not to be underestimated by Irish companies.
With a population of 47.4 million, the size of the opportunity is not to be underestimated as it can also be seen as a valuable bridge to the South American market. Having suffered enormously in the financial crash, the country is showing sustained recovery. Banking sector balance sheets are stronger, private sector debt is coming down and credit availability is improving. Reforms instituted on foot of the crisis has enabled Spain’s economy to become more competitive, flexible and resilient.
€356.2m Exported by Enterprise Ireland clients (2020)
€23,690 GDP per Capita (2020)
Get Export Ready
Spain is the 4th largest country on the continent and is divided into 17 autonomous regions. Among the most important of these are Madrid, Catalunya, the Basque Country, Andalucia, Valencia, and the Balearic and Canary Islands. Though big, it is also a very urban society with close to one third of its population living in its various provincial capitals. Madrid is the capital of Spain with a population of 3.2 million. Other large cities include Barcelona, Valencia and Bilbao.
Key Market Sectors
Enterprise Ireland is playing a key role in supporting ambitious companies seeking opportunities in Spain’s agritech, retail and fintech sectors.
Additionally, pet food, traveltech, telecoms and pharmaceutical sector continue to perform and add appeal to Irish exporters and service providers who want to scale, and develop a presence in the Spanish market.
Read more on Spain’s sectoral successes in our Going Global Guide.
- €356.2 million Enterprise Ireland client exports to Spain in 2020.
- 2nd most visited destination in the world.
- 2 of Europe’s largest airports are in Madrid and Barcelona.
The Spanish market is typically price sensitive, more so than quality sensitive. This means premium quality products or services can be hard to sell in a B2B context.
Although it is normal practice for European and US companies to disclose key data such as turnover and profit figures, this is not always the case in Spain. Such requests must be handled diplomatically.
Spanish working hours are variable and can run from 9am to 2pm, and again from 4pm to 8pm but many business have adopted office hours of 9am to 6pm.
Best Routes to Market
Choosing the right route to market is very important.
Agents bring a deep understanding of local business practices and distributors can deliver products geographically across large nations. Joint ventures and acquisitions bring valuable established contacts, customers and market knowledge. Local representatives may not always be necessary with many global markets open to direct sales and prospecting from Ireland. Other markets require a ‘boots on the ground’ approach – the power of referrals and networking shouldn’t be underestimated. The key routes to market in Spain are commercial agents, partnerships, distributors and a direct local presence. Download our Going Global Guide to Spain to find out more.
Before You Go
Before you go, we recommend you invest some time in researching the terrain before you explore the Spanish market. Here’s a few starting points to consider…
- Market Landscape
- Market Trends
- Target Market
- Market Segmentation
- Market Competition
- Market Research Resources
Enterprise Ireland’s Market Research Centre offers client companies access to market intelligence in the form of company, sector, market, and country information to explore opportunities and compete in international markets.
Helping You Succeed
We are committed to helping you succeed in global markets and have an immense wealth of knowledge and expertise in the Spanish market.
Enterprise Ireland assists clients entering new markets with pre-visit support, in-market support, international trade events, additional supports and access to mentors.
Our Market Advisors are always available to support you and provide business expertise and on-the-ground knowledge.