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Topic: Research/Metrics

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Estimating Current Demand

Posted by Anonymous on 125 Points

I am considering marketing to a non fiction segment of the consumer book market via mail order within Australia.

My dilemma is how to estimate current market demand, particularly as I don't have all the data I need according to the requirements of some of the typical methods of calculating market demand.

Eg The formula for estimating total market potential
Q = nap.

Where: n = No of buyers in a specific product/market.
q = Quantity purchased by an average buyer.
P = Price of an average unit.

Problem: I don't know the quantity purchased by the average buyer - either for books in general or for the specific segment of the market I have identified.

I also don't know the number of books purchased by buyers split by demographics like gender and age etc.

Chain Ratio Method - Problem: The statistics from my national statistics provider do not split the consumer book market to the level required by the chain ratio method. The closest I can get is the value of non-fiction books sold in Australia for 2001/2.

The Multiple- Factor Index Method

My subject matter is not new to the market but is new to my company so I do not have existing sales figures to place into the Multiple-Factor Index Formula. The figures are not available from a third party book research firm either as they do not have books split by my category.

Is anyone able to offer any suggestions for researching the current market demand under these circumstances.
Please note I am a small business without much money to spend on market research.

I have found statistics from the UK that are close to what I would like to find in Australia but not enough is available for Australia. I wonder if I could adapt the UK stats ?

I have managed to segment my market based on observing the activities of a firm who offer personal services to people with the type of customer problems my books could service. I am not overly concerned about their presence and activities as my books could complement there own services.

I just have not been able to quantify the markets potential and I am really frustrated.


  • Posted on Accepted

    As you know well, Australia is less than 2% of the world market. To sell 2000 non-fiction books in Australia is a good outcome. You'll not get a clear outcome using a statistical calculation as the market is so fractured (thousands of books selling in small volume).

    I suggest the following:
    1 - join the Australian Society of Authors ( - you'll get loads of very relevant information on legals, publishing, promotion, distribution.
    2 - approach several publishers who handle new-name publishers in non-fiction. Contact me off-line and I'll put you in touch with a few (see my profile for email)
    3 - go with a minimum economic quantity (2-3000) and do a reprint if you enjoy success rather than end up with surplus
    4 - consider either pre-releasing in an e-book to get some momentum behind the book before you print, or get ready to give away the first 500 if you go straight to print for the same reasons.

    Good luck, Hugh
  • Posted by Blaine Wilkerson on Member

    You may find some answers there!

    Good Luck!
  • Posted on Accepted
    Your tale is a common one, not limited to any industry, market or organisational size. The tyranny of perfect information, thou u may seek it u won't find it. The first question is why are you seeking it, what value does it give you? Is it to make yourself more comfortable about your market entry, or to validate your plan to an external agency?

    As hugh says 2000 sales is a good result, is your plan viable at this level. My advice to many others when trying to quantify demand is to start with stuff you know, whats your breakeven sales quantity, then what is your financial objective converted to unit sales, now is that figure likely to a significant share of the market. If not no longer worry about the total market size because its irrelevant to acheiving your objective.

    Total market size is a useful measure if you want to calculate market share, but unless your objective is directly related to acheiving a significant (more than 10 %) market share position, then don't spend significant amounts of your time determining the figure. Otherwise the paralysis by analysis will continue to frustrate you.

    Good luck
  • Posted by Chris Blackman on Member

    I concur with previous replies in that it appears you are trying to analyse aspects of the market that will have very little input to your final decision. I presume you are looking for information to support your decision whether to launch into this market or not.

    Frankly, I'd probably take the UK statistics and normalise them back to the Australian population and see how it looks.

    But you can do more than this. You should also have a hard look at the subject matter (you haven't mentioned the precise segment in the nf book market) and see whether it might be peculiarly Australian or peculiarly un-pommie-like.

    If, for example, you're looking at launching into the segment that buys books on how to build an outback dunny from empty VB cans, may I suggest the UK results may prove unhelpful?

    More helpful, perhaps, might be to look not at existing nf book buyers in the segment you plan to address, but to look at the universe of people who might have an interest in the subject matter. For example, is it an area that is supported by amateur interest groups, clubs, web groups, etc? Who is in the potential market, regardless of whether they are actually existing, regular or irregular purchasers of nf books?

    Once you have an idea of who might be interested in the subject, you can then go back to your assumptions on potential purchase rates.

    Ally these assumptions to a launch promotional plan that gets you in front of the audience early and often (is the book something Current Affair might have an interest in talking about, for example?) and you may realise a penetration beyond your wildest assumptions.

    Good Luck

    Chris B

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