On This Page:
- What is a Market Analysis?
- What Should a Market Analysis Include?
- How to Write a Market Analysis
- Formatting the Market Analysis Section of Your Business Plan
- Business Plan Market Analysis Examples
- Market Analysis Conclusion
- Other Resources for Writing Your Business Plan
- Other Helpful Business Plan Articles & Templates
A market analysis is an important part of your business plan. It answers the crucial question, “Is there a good reason for someone to invest in this business?”
What is a Market Analysis?
Sometimes referred to as the industry analysis, this section of your business plan outlines the economic environment, political, social, and technological factors in your particular industry.
It provides an industry overview of historical performance, both globally and domestically. The industry information provided will be used to help determine if you are entering a growing or shrinking market or one that is simply not growing as fast as other industries.
This section must convince investors that not only can you run a profitable company, but that it will be easy to do so because there are plenty of customers in your target market.
What Should a Market Analysis Include?
You’ll want to address these issues in your market analysis:
- Size of Industry – How big is the overall industry?
- Projected Growth Rate of Industry – Is the industry growing or shrinking? How fast?
- Target Market – Who are you targeting with this product or service?
- Competition – How many businesses are currently in the same industry?
Learn how to write the full market analysis below.
How to Write a Market Analysis
Here’s how to write the market analysis section of a business plan.
- Describe each industry that you are competing in or will be targeting.
- Identify direct competition, but don’t forget about indirect competition – this may include companies selling different products to the same potential customer segments.
- Highlight strengths and weaknesses for both direct and indirect competitors, along with how your company stacks up against them based on what makes your company uniquely positioned to succeed.
- Include specific data, statistics, graphs, or charts if possible to make the market analysis more convincing to investors or lenders.
In your industry overview, you will define the market in which you are competing (e.g., restaurant, medical devices, etc.).
You will then detail the sub-segment or niche of that market if applicable (e.g., within restaurants there are fast food restaurants, fine dining, etc.).
Next, you will describe the key characteristics of your industry. For example, discuss how big the market is in terms of units and revenues. Let the reader know if the market is growing or declining (and at what rate), and what key industry trends are facing your market.
Use third-party market research as much as possible to validate the discussion of your industry.
Here is a list of additional items you may analyze for a complete industry overview:
- An overview of the current state of the industry. How big is it, how much does it produce or sell? What are its key differentiators from competitors? What is its target customer base like – demographic information and psychographics? How has the industry performed over time (global, domestic)?
- Analyze the macro-economic factors impacting your industry. This includes items such as economic growth opportunities, inflation, exchange rates, interest rates, labor market trends, and technological improvements. You want to make sure that all of these are trending in a positive direction for you while also being realistic about them. For example, if the economy is in shambles you might want to wait before entering the particular market.
- Analyze the political factors impacting your industry. This is an often-overlooked section of any business plan, but it can be important depending on what type of company you are starting. If you’re in a highly regulated industry (such as medical devices), this is something that you’ll want to include.
- Analyze the social factors impacting your industry. This includes analyzing society’s interest in your product or service, historical trends in buying patterns in your industry, and any effects on the industry due to changes in culture. For example, if there is a growing counter-culture trend against big oil companies you might want to position yourself differently than a company in this industry.
- Analyze the technological factors impacting your industry. This includes analyzing new technologies being developed in software, hardware, or applications that can be used to improve your product or service. It also includes emerging consumer trends and will be highly dependent on your business type. In a technology-related venture, you would analyze how these changes are impacting consumers. For an educational-related venture, you would analyze how these changes are impacting students, teachers, and/or administrators.
For each of these items, you want to provide some detail about them including their current state as well as what external factors have played a role in the recent past. You can also include many other important factors if they apply to your business including demographic trends, legal issues, environmental concerns, and sustainability issues.
When you are done analyzing all of these factors, wrap it up by summing them up in a statement that includes your view on the future of the industry. This should be positive to attract investors, potential customers, and partners.
If you’re having trouble thinking about all of these factors then it might be helpful to first develop a SWOT analysis for your business.
Once you have an understanding of the market, you’ll need to think about how you will position yourself within that potential market.
Picking Your Niche
You want to think about how large your market is for this venture. You also want to consider whether you’d like to pick a niche within the overall industry or launch yourself into the mainstream.
If you have an innovative product it can be easier to enter the mainstream market – but at the same time, you might face some additional competition if there are similar products available.
You can choose to specialize in a niche market where you’ll face less competition – but might be able to sell your services at a higher price point (this could make it easier for you to get potential customers).
Of course, if your product or service is unique then there should be no competition. But, what happens if it isn’t unique? Will you be able to differentiate yourself enough to create a competitive advantage or edge?
If you are planning on entering the mainstream market, think about whether there are different sub-niches within your specific market. For example, within the technology industry, you can choose to specialize in laptops or smartphones or tablets, or other categories. While it will be more difficult to be unique in a mainstream market, you will still be able to focus on one type or category of products.
How Will You Stand Out?
Many companies are able to stand out – whether by offering a product that is unique or by marketing their products in a way that consumers notice. For example, Steve Jobs was able to take a business idea like the iPhone and make it into something that people talked about (while competitors struggled to play catch up).
You want your venture to stand out – whether with an innovative product or service or through marketing strategies. This might include a unique brand, name, or logo. It might also include packaging that stands out from competitors.
Write down how you will achieve this goal of standing out in the marketplace. If it’s a product, then what features do you have that other products don’t? If it’s a service, then what is it about this service that will make people want to use your company rather than your competition?
You also need to think about marketing. How are you going to promote yourself or sell your product or service? You’ll need a marketing plan for this – which might include writing copy, creating an advertisement, setting up a website, and several other activities. This should include a description of each of these strategies.
If you’re struggling with the details of any of these sections, it might be helpful to research what other companies in your market are doing and how they’ve been successful. You can use this business information to inform your own strategies and plans.
Relevant Market Size & Competition
In the second stage of your analysis, you must determine the size and competition in your specific market.
Target Market Section
Your company’s relevant market size is the amount of money it could make each year if it owned a complete market share.
To begin, estimate how many consumers you expect to be interested in purchasing your products or services each year.
To generate a more precise estimate, enter the monetary amount these potential customers may be ready to spend on your goods or services each year.
The size of your market is the product of these two figures. Calculate this market value here so that your readers can see how big your market opportunity is (particularly if you are seeking debt or equity funding).
You’ll also want to include an analysis of your market conditions. Is this a growing or declining market? How fast is it growing (or declining)? What are the general trends in the market? How has your market shifted over time?
Include all of this information in your own business plan to give your readers a clear understanding of the market landscape you’re competing in.
Next, you’ll need to create a comprehensive list of the competitors in your market. This competitive analysis includes:
- Direct Competitors – Companies that offer a similar product or service
- Indirect Competitors – Companies that sell products or services that are complementary to yours but not directly related
To show how large each competitor is, you can use metrics such as revenue, employees, number of locations, etc. If you have limited information about the company on hand then you may want to do some additional research or contact them directly for more information. You should also include their website so readers can learn more if they desire (along with social media profiles).
Once you complete this list, take a step back and try to determine how much market share each competitor has. You can use different methods to do this such as market research, surveys, or conduct focus groups or interviews with target customers.
You should also take into account the barriers to entry that exist in your market. What would it take for a new company to enter the market and start competing with you? This could be anything from capital requirements to licensing and permits.
When you have all of this information, you’ll want to create a table like the one below:
|Barriers To Entry|
Once you have this data, you can start developing strategies to compete with the other companies which will be used again later to help you develop your marketing strategy and plan.
Writing a Market Analysis Tips
- Include an explanation of how you determined the size of the market and how much share competitors have.
- Include tables like the one above that show competitor size, barriers to entry, etc.
- Decide where you’re going to place this section in your business plan – before or after your SWOT analysis. You can use other sections as well such as your company summary or product/service description. Make sure you consider which information should come first for the reader to make the most sense.
- Brainstorm how you’re going to stand out in this competitive market.
Formatting the Market Analysis Section of Your Business Plan
Now that you understand the different components of the market analysis, let’s take a look at how you should structure this section in your business plan.
Your market analysis should be divided into two sections: the industry overview and market size & competition.
Each section should include detailed information about the topic and supporting evidence to back up your claims.
You’ll also want to make sure that all of your data is up-to-date. Be sure to include the date of the analysis in your business plan so readers know when it was conducted and if there have been any major changes since then.
In addition, you should also provide a short summary of what this section covers at the beginning of each paragraph or page. You can do this by using a title such as “Industry Overview” or another descriptive phrase that is easy to follow.
As with all sections in a business plan, make sure your market analysis is concise and includes only the most relevant information to keep your audience engaged until they reach your conclusion.
A strong market analysis can give your company a competitive edge over other businesses in its industry, which is why it’s essential to include this section in your business plan. By providing detailed information about the market you’re competing in, you can show your readers that you understand the industry and know how to capitalize on current and future trends.
Business Plan Market Analysis Examples
The following are examples of how to write the market analysis section of a business plan:
Business Plan Market Analysis Example #1 – Hosmer Sunglasses, a sunglasses manufacturer based in California
According to the Sunglass Association of America, the retail sales volume of Plano (non-prescription) sunglasses, clip-on sunglasses, and children’s sunglasses (hereinafter collectively referred to as “Sunwear”) totaled $2.9 billion last year. Premium-priced sunglasses are driving the Plano Sunwear market. Plano sunglasses priced at $100 or more accounted for more than 49% of all Sunwear sales among independent retail locations last year.
The Sunglass Association of America has projected that the dollar volume for retail sales of Plano Sunwear will grow 1.7% next year. Plano sunglass vendors are also bullish about sales in this year and beyond as a result of the growth of technology, particularly the growth of laser surgery and e-commerce.
Business Plan Market Analysis Example #2 – Nailed It!, a family-owned restaurant in Omaha, NE
According to the Nebraska Restaurant Association, last year total restaurant sales in Nebraska grew by 4.3%, reaching a record high of $2.8 billion. Sales at full-service restaurants were particularly strong, growing 7% over 2012 figures. This steady increase is being driven by population growth throughout the state. The Average Annual Growth Rate (AGR) since 2009 is 2.89%.
This fast growth has also encouraged the opening of new restaurants, with 3,035 operating statewide as of this year. The restaurant industry employs more than 41,000 workers in Nebraska and contributes nearly $3 billion to the state economy every year.
Nebraska’s population continues to increase – reaching 1.9 million in 2012, a 1.5% growth rate. In addition to population, the state has experienced record low unemployment every year since 2009 – with an average of 4.7% in 2013 and 2014.
Business Plan Market Analysis Example #3 – American Insurance Company (AIC), a chain of insurance agencies in Maine
American Insurance Company (AIC) offers high-quality insurance at low prices through its chain of retail outlets in the state of Maine. Since its inception, AIC has created an extensive network of agents and brokers across the country with expanding online, call center and retail business operations.
AIC is entering a market that will more than double in size over the next 50 years according to some industry forecasts. The insurance industry is enjoying low inflation rates, steady income growth, and improving standards of living for most Americans during what has been a difficult period for much of American business. This makes this a good time to enter the insurance industry as it enjoys higher margins because customers are purchasing more coverage due to increased costs from medical care and higher liability claims.
American Insurance Company provides affordable homeowners, auto, and business insurance through high-quality fulfillment centers across America that have earned a reputation for top-notch customer service.
AIC will face significant competition from both direct and indirect competitors. The indirect competition will come from a variety of businesses, including banks, other insurance companies, and online retailers. The direct competition will come from other well-funded start-ups as well as incumbents in the industry. AIC’s competitive advantages include its low prices, high quality, and excellent customer service.
AIC plans to grow at a rate that is above average for the industry as a whole. The company has identified a market that is expected to grow by more than 100% in the next decade. This growth is due to several factors: the increase in the number of two-income households, the aging population, and the impending retirement of many baby boomers will lead to an increase in the number of people who are purchasing insurance.
AIC projects revenues of $20M in year one, which is equivalent to 100% growth over the previous year. AIC forecasts revenue growth of 40%-60% each year on average for 10 years. After that, revenue growth is expected to slow down significantly due to market saturation.
The following table illustrates these projections:
|Target Market Size (Revenue)||
|Industry’s Growth Rate||
Direct Competition: P&C Insurance Market Leaders
Indirect Competition: Banks, Other Insurance Companies, Retailers
|Year 2||Year 3||Year 4||Year 5||Year 6||Year 7||Year 8||Year 9||
|Projected Revenue ($M)||
Market Analysis Conclusion
When writing the market analysis section, it is important to provide specific data and forecasts about the industry that your company operates in. This information can help make your business plan more convincing to potential investors.
If it’s helpful, you should also discuss how your company stacks up against its competitors based on what makes it unique. In addition, you can identify any strengths or weaknesses that your company has compared to its competitors.
Based on this data, provide projections for how much revenue your company expects to generate over the next few years. Providing this information early on in the business plan will help convince investors that you know what you are talking about and your company is well-positioned to succeed.
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