Market sizing means estimating the potential of a market – specifically the number of people who might consider buying your product or service and the total revenue that these sales may generate.

This is a necessary step for new brands looking to launch, and equally for established brands wanting to change tack or expand into new markets. 

It’s about finding out if there’s demand, then quantifying your pool of potential buyers.

When done in enough detail, market sizing can also help to inform the reach of advertising campaigns.

So how is it done? And why does the right survey data make such a difference? 

4 reasons to use market sizing

Before delving into how to do it, you need to know how and where to apply your findings to get the best out of the results.

As mentioned above, brands use market sizing for a number of reasons, and here are a few:

Expanding into new markets

If a brand is looking enter into a new space, whether that’s international markets or new a sector, market sizing helps you assess the landscape and whether there’s benefits in targeting specific audiences. 

Launching new products and services

Effective testing of new ideas and concepts will allow you to both estimate the potential for success and refine your concept before market launch.

Having a solid idea of who your target audience is, and the number of them present in a market means you can accurately test new products, services or ad campaigns on a small sample of your audience. 

This means finding out if a new brand message, campaign or product will work, before you invest.

Optimizing campaign spend 

When looking to measure the effectiveness of your advertising, brands need as much information on the potential market size as possible. 

Being able to translate the number of people who were actually reached by your campaign is a hugely valuable form of measurement.

Winning business and investment

Knowing the worth of your market makes it very easy for other brands to see the value in your business. 

If you’re able to dig down into the numbers and demonstrate the pool of people you’re selling to, how many you expect to purchase, and the expected profits per sale, it’s possible to accurately estimate ROI for potential partners and investors.  

Market sizing using survey data: how it’s done

1. Start with the resources at hand.

For entrepreneurs and startups who may be unclear of exactly who their audience is, looking at competitors in the industry is a good place to start.

There are plenty of reports and resources to shed light on this, as well as the current consumer landscape, which can be used to initially identify your audience.

Here are some examples of sources you should have at your fingertips: 

2. Define your target market.

Consumer and industry trends are great to get you off the mark, but they only get you part of the way. Now you need to build out your audience in detail, to ensure your brand aligns with consumer demand. 

Start by using global market survey data from GlobalWebIndex to accurately segment and profile your audiences by demographics, behaviors, lifestyles, motivations.

With tens of thousands of data points to apply your audience against, you can develop a clear picture who will engage with your brand, and ultimately buy your products, in a specific region or sector.

Overall, taking time to build a vivid picture of your audience is the basis of a market sizing analysis, so the more thorough your research at this stage, the more the data will reveal new audiences to explore and ones to leave out.

3. Uncover the wider numbers.

Having invested in understanding who your audience is, now’s the time to quantify them.  

One of the biggest benefits of market sizing using survey data is it offers an instant estimate of how many of your audience exists in a market. 

Provided your data set is detailed  enough, you can apply your audience segments against the whole population, or a specific area.

Ultimately, you can create any audience and GlobalWebIndex will instantly estimate how many people there it includes in the real world. 

4. Taking market sizing a step further.

With custom survey data, you’re in control of the questions you ask. 

This means you can identify your niche, reveal their demographics, and ask about specific interests, motivations and perceptions surrounding the market you’re looking to size up.

Let’s take a hypothetical example to bring together all the points above.

Survey data in action

A successful Brazillian online coffee brand selling beans and pods directto-consumer is looking to expand out of South America into new regions.

The company wants to carry out research into the market potential in each region, specifically, which nations have the highest demand for coffee beans and pods. Here’s how they do it.

Putting numbers behind assumptions

The brand uses survey data to identify 380,600 respondents globally who say they’ve purchased coffee in the last month. They then segment by region.

Using the universe weighting, the survey data expands the sample of coffee drinkers in each region to to give an estimate of the number of actual population who purchased coffee in that area: 

  • 160m people in China (14.6% of the population)
  • 108m in the USA (10%)
  • 88m in India (12%)
  • 52m in Indonesia (5%)

China appears to have the highest number of regular coffee buyers, with the U.S., India and Indonesia also showing potential. 

Having identified coffee’s overall popularity by region, the brand then assesses the costs of setting up a business in each of the countries, identifying India as the best opportunity.

Getting a true view of demand

Now they need to ensure there’s a demand for the online purchase of coffee in India. 

Using the universe weighting, they find that 26.3m consumers in India have bought coffee online in the last month, and they’re 12% more likely than the average online consumer to do so.

But before taking any further action, because they specialize in Brazilian coffee, they want to ensure there’s a demand for it.

Carrying out a custom survey into coffee drinkers in India, they reveal that the most popular types are: 

  • Colombian (25%)
  • Brazilian (22%)
  • Ethiopian (10%)
  • Kenyan (5%) 

Brazilian coffee shows to be the second most popular coffee type in India, following closely behind Colombian, with 22% of coffee drinkers in the area preferring to purchase coffee from this region.

The custom survey also reveals the most popular brands in the region, the current spend, consumer loyalty and their openness to switch brands.

Through their market sizing analysis, the brand can guarantee that there’s a significant opportunity in expanding into India, and by introducing Colombian and Ethiopian coffee into their range, they can widen their potential market further.

Case study: signing a global partner with market sizing

Blizzard Entertainment is a leader in entertainment software development and one of the most popular and well-respected makers of computer games. 

Commercialization is one of their main focuses, and a large part of that is driving partnerships. To do this, the brand has to craft compelling narratives with data to showcase Blizzard and its esports audience are worth the investment.

The challenge

A lack of global insight.

For sales teams looking to close a deal, they need to tell a story that stands out and is supported by hard data.

When an opportunity arose with a leading U.S.-based snack brand, they needed to prove their esports audience had a shared interest in purchasing the snack. But they were missing that global view.

The action

Revealing the market potential.

Alan Lan, Strategy & Analytics Manager, AB Esports at Blizzard, explains they set to work leveraging GlobalWebIndex data to reveal how esports fans across key markets really felt about the snack brand.

Here’s what they did: 

Graphic showing how Blizzard used data to reveal market size

“The data on purchase intent and consideration is especially valuable. It proves we’re never making assumptions – our recommendations are based on fact, ” Alan explains.

The result

Signing a global partner.

Using this data, they found:

Graphic showing how Blizzard found market size

Blizzard showcased the true market potential of the partnership, offering quantifiable proof it was worth a long-term investment.

Once the team had proven to the brand how valuable their audience was, a sponsorship deal was signed for the latter half of their prominent Overwatch League.

The leading brand also signed a multi-year partnership with them, and Blizzard are looking forward to even further growth.

Key takeaways

Market sizing has a number of benefits for any business, both starting out and expanding. Carrying out a trusted analysis involves the following: 

  • Get a broad understanding of who your audience is and the trends in a particular market using the latest reports. 
  • Assess the demand for your product or service in the market.
  • Build out your audiences in detail to ensure you know exactly who to pursue, which channels to reach them on, and who to ignore. 
  • Use a data source that provides instant answers – quantifying the number of your audience present, both globally, and in specific markets.

Whether you’re looking to launch a new brand or product, assess the current landscape, or expand into new areas, you need to quantify exactly who you’re targeting to make decisions with confidence.

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