Mustard director, Colin Auton, takes inspiration from the “wheels or doors” debate, and shares his thoughts and considerations regarding the challenges of market sizing.
It’s a question that’s swept the Internet, all triggered by a Twitter poll, with the world arguing slightly in favour of wheels (53.6%) over doors (46.4%), before the debate went viral on Twitter and TikTok.
Team Doors might raise the issue of how many doors there are on containers across the world, with Team Wheels countering with the number of wheels that LEGO® make.
As those who are up on the debate will know, there’s actually no right answer. All we can do is scope out everything we know and then make estimates.
This reminded me a lot of the issue that companies have trying to work out their market share. This is especially difficult where the information simply isn’t available, either through retail sales data, trade bodies or published market research reports. Typically, this is more often the case in niche sectors and in b2b markets, and becomes even more complex where businesses are operating internationally.
In this instance, the best you can do is try to estimate your market share, and the approach and cost to do this depends on the level of accuracy required.
One approach is to do a lot of desk research, trawling through government data, trade association figures and published market research reports to build a logical assessment of the market to estimate the total size, from which you can then calculate your market share.
Alternatively, you can scope out the list of your competitors, and then start to search for data to determine their annual sales turnover. Adding this data together will provide you with an estimate for the total market size. In the past, we were able to do this more accurately for the UK express parcels market. Many of the main competitors signed up, and shared their sales data with us confidentially every quarter. We then consolidated this data in a format agreed with the participating operators, and provided them with an estimate of their market share in each of the different service categories. This was a complex programme, requiring a lot of legal work beforehand to reassure companies in the programme that their confidential sales data would not be shared with the competition.
Finally, you can look to elicit the data via customers. More often than not, this requires primary research, completing surveys or interviews to quantify purchasing behaviour, and then extrapolating the data accordingly to arrive at market size and share estimates. Typically, this is more costly, dependent on the sample size required, and it’s also important to ensure representation and weight the data captured as required.
In summary, if market share data isn’t readily available, it can be a time intensive and costly exercise to determine and track your market share, and the chances are it won’t be 100% accurate. Clearly, any decision to undertake this work needs to be considered alongside the importance of having access to this market intelligence, which can be crucial to assess performance, identify areas for improvement and inform investment decisions.
For more advice on market sizing and market share, feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.