An end market, also known as a destination market, target market or final market, is where goods are sold to consumers who are willing and able to pay for them. An end market can be local, national or international. It could be a market for sports equipment, for example; NIKE and ADIDAS are popular brands that sell their products worldwide, but local manufacturers offer similar sports equipment at a lower price.

End markets are one of the key driving forces behind value chain development. Demand from end markets drives supply chain actors to build capacity to meet that demand, which can drive competitive advantage, growth opportunities and economic viability. For this reason, a key principle of current development practice is to start with end markets in any analysis of market systems.

In the context of a particular business, this means identifying a list of top customers and their associated end markets. In a simple example, ABC conducted a pocket income and market viability analysis for its customer base to identify its top 10 best performing customers. This led to a list of four attractive end markets: landscapers, electricians, carpenters and emergency response teams. ABC leadership decided to focus on the electrician market, which has strong pocket income, a large serviceable market and high local (SOM) and national (SAM) potential.

Identifying a list of attractive end markets is just the beginning; these markets should be reexamined on an ongoing basis to ensure that they remain viable. For example, a new trend might emerge that makes an existing product design obsolete. Failure to recognize this change can result in an inventory surplus, reduced margins and misplaced investment in production capacity.