# Estimating Market Potential: Is There a Market?

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1 Estimating Market Potential: Is There a Market? Estimating Market Potential: Is There a Market? Karen Mundy, Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, Virginia Tech S. Gary Bullen, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, N.C. State University Adapted from material by Kent Wolfe, Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, University of Georgia Part 1. What the Agent Needs to Know Your clients have decided the price they want, the geographic location of the market, their possible customers, and who and where the competition is. Next, they must calculate the portion of the market they can reasonably expect to capture. Market potential is an estimate of the amount of money your clients can expect to make from the product or service they plan to market. Their estimate will only be as good as the information they use and the assumptions they make. There are seven steps to estimating market potential (they have already completed the first four steps). 1. Define the market segment (target market). 2. Define the geographic boundaries of the market. 3. Define the competition. 4. Define the market size. 5. Estimate market share. 6. Determine the average annual consumption. 7. Estimate an average selling price. Step 5, estimating the market share or potential, will allow your clients to determine if their markets will support their businesses by covering their costs and paying them a salary. Generally, the market potential is the highest estimated net revenue that they will realize from their enterprise. In the second meeting, you covered estimating a price. When they estimate market potential and use the price they calculated, they will see if they have covered their costs. One way for your clients to use their market potential analysis is to change their assumptions and see if they can still cover their costs. They can either lower their expectations of the number of people who will buy from them, or they can raise their prices. Writing down the assumptions they use to estimate their market potential and the changes they make to those assumptions is essential. The market potential is the number of potential buyers, an average selling price and an estimate of usage for a specific period of time. The general formula for this estimation is simple: Estimating Market Potential MP = N MS P Q Where: MP = market potential N = total number of potential consumers MS = market share percent of consumers buying from you P = average selling price Q = average annual consumption To illustrate the concepts discussed, we use the agritourism example of a farmer wanting to add a corn maze and educational tour. Define the market segment Your clients have identified the target market of the customers who are most likely to buy from them. The target market was generally described using demographic variables: gender, age, education and income. The market is also described using psychographic variables: lifestyle, interests and belief system variables. A client might have more than one target market. The most important piece of information from identifying the market is how many potential customers fit the target market description based on the variables a client chooses: 30

4 Your client has the following information to use in calculating the market potential for an agritourism operation: N Total number of consumers(based on Wake County census): 45,700 MS Market share (based on teacher survey results times the client s estimate of how much of the market can be captured from the competition): 0.06* P Average selling price (based on cost of production): \$8.00 Q Average annual consumption (number of visits per student based on teachers survey): 1 MP = N MS P Q MP = 45, \$ MP = \$21,963 *To calculate the percent of consumers buying from a client, multiply the percentage of consumers who are potential customers by the percentage of the market the client expects to capture from competitors. In the example, this calculation would be = 0.06 Any market potential estimate is only as good as the assumptions a client makes and the data used. Your clients are better off estimating on the low side and setting their prices to cover their costs. If an estimate of market potential is low, the client will show a profit above his or her costs. If, however, the estimate is too high, your client may find it difficult to pay the bills at the end of the season. 33

5 Part 2. Market Potential Worksheet Ask your clients to complete this worksheet at home. 1. Total number of people within the target market area 2. Consumption (How often is the product consumed, and how much of the product is consumed?) 3. Competition (number of competitors) 4. Calculate the market share: How many people matching your demographics live within the defined market area? Market Area Number of People (target market) County 1 County 2 Total number of people How much of the product is consumed by your target customers? Market Area Consumption or usage (pounds) 1. Market area 1 2. Market area 2 Total all market areas Who is your competition? Competitor What product is offered? Price Competitor 1 Competitor 2 34

6 What percent of total potential customers go to the competition? Competitor Number of customers Percentage of market Market share (customers percentage) Competitor 1 Competitor 2 Total all competitors 7. Total the information: Numbers you need to estimate your market potential: Total number of potential customers (N) Total consumption (Q) Total market share (MS) Your price per customer (P) Estimating Market Potential: MP = N MS P Q Where: MP = market potential N = total number customers MS = market share P = average selling price Q = average annual consumption (usage, number of times individual would attend) Your numbers MP = N MS P Q N = MS = P = Q = MP = 35

7 References Bullen, Gary Direct Answers for Direct Marketers. Marketing Resource CD developed as part of Southern Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) grant. Raleigh: N.C. State University, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics. Contact McConnon, J Estimating Retail Market Potential. Bulletin #3012. Home-Based Business Fact Sheet series. Orono: University of Maine Cooperative Extension. Online: htmpubs/3012.htm Wolfe, K September. Estimating Market Potential Check-List. Center Report Athens, Ga.: Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development, The University of Georgia. Online: edu/publications/2006/pdf/cr pdf 36

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