Estimating market size for a new startup

You might be wondering, “Hey I tried doing Google search but no press release mentions about market size for my company. What magical number should I quote?”

Published: 18th May 2017 02:56 AM  |   Last Updated: 18th May 2017 02:56 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

KOCHI: A lot of investors might have asked you this question by now. Most of your entrepreneur friends might be quoting how their startups are addressing a billion dollar market and you might be wondering how and why. You might be wondering, “Hey I tried doing Google search but no press release mentions about market size for my company. What magical number should I quote?” If the press isn’t quoting your number, here is a thumb rule for estimating your startup’s market size:

Market Size = Total No. of Possible Buyers x Average Selling Price (or ASP) x Frequency of Purchase in one year

For example, let’s calculate market size for a toys shop selling toys worth Rs 500 on average for kids between 9-12 years for a locality having 1,000 kids in that age group. 

Given the assumption that kids buy two toys in a year, its market size = 1,000 (number of possible buyers) x Rs 500 (ASP) x 2 (frequency of annual purchase) = Rs 10 Lakh.

The number of possible buyers can vary depending on the geographies you serve. Also, remember that the frequency of purchase can vary depending on product to product. Some products can be of utility on a daily basis while some can have as low purchase frequency as once in three years.

The last but most important aspect of market sizing exercise is the price of the product. Do a competition analysis and determine what your price has to be. (More on pricing strategy in coming weeks). Good then? But yo may ask, why to do this market size exercise?

Doing this market size exercise will help you understand your growth potential. This will also affect a lot of strategic decisions: deciding which technology to invest, how to build a distribution network, which geographies to approach first, how to market to reach the target customer and so on. 

Most VCs and angel investors will need to know whether they are investing in a big enough market or not. You might get turned down if your market size doesn’t make sense for the kind of investment you are looking for. Even if you are not an entrepreneur and reading this, remember that this market size exercise will be useful for you, espec ially if you are getting interviewed for business-related roles. 


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