The impact of firm and export characteristics on the accuracy of export sales forecasts: evidence from UK exporters
The empirical literature on forecasting practice has hardly distinguished between export and domestic sales forecasting. This is surprising given the importance of exporting for companies and the additional difficulties involved in preparing export as opposed to home market forecasts. Drawing from the forecasting and export literatures, this study examines several linkages between firm and export characteristics and the accuracy of short- and medium-term export sales forecasts (as captured by self-reported MAPEs). Using survey data derived from UK exporters in the manufacturing sector and a multivariate analytical framework, the results indicate that export experience (as reflected in the firm's stage in the export life cycle), export diversity (as reflected in the number of export markets served) and the turbulence of the export environment are the key variables affecting export sales forecast accuracy. The implications for the study of export sales forecasting practice are considered and future research directions suggested.