Forecasts of the general economic environment in which the individual firms and industries will be operating in all large firms. One of the primary functions of marketing research is to offer forecasting to facilitate taking the right decision. Forecasting is not in itself a marketing research technique but it is an objective of many research projects. Economic forecasting, in this case for business, has long been the vocation of the business analyst. As with marketing research generally, the first step in sales forecasting is to define the objective, what the forecast is intended to achieve, since this will influence the nature of the forecast. A forecast for a company or a product while being set within a framework of an industry forecast is mainly due to competitive factors. Exports should follow the general trend of business activity, yet in the United Kingdom internal demand has been artificially depressed a number of times to boost exports.