Customized Primary Research for Market Sizing

IPR researchers design primary research to leverage secondary research.

Clients often want to estimate the market size for their products. “Who can we potentially sell to in country X?” “How many consumers, employees, or companies already have our product?” “How many of these potential customers can we realistically yet acquire?”…are questions IPR is used to hearing.

We find the following framework helpful for thinking about the various definitions of market size for a product:




Regardless of your particular definition or partition of interest in the above, IPR typically combines primary market research with our extensive demographic and economic indicators to measure market size for products. IPR uses a proven battery of survey questions that match key demographic categories to size a company’s current and potential B2B customers by country, industry, occupation, company size, and even metropolitan statistical area or zip code.

Exactly how does primary research and secondary research work together to yield a market size estimate?

In business-to-business marketing, product use (or potential use) often correlates to some degree with job type, job role, company type, and a country’s competitive and economic landscape, etc. IPR collects and maintains a database of these indicators for over 200 geographic entities around the world.

At the same time, a primary research survey, if executed correctly, can measure individual, specific perceptions—things like attitudes and product behaviors—outside the scope of demographics.

When companies engage with IPR, we recommend they include key survey questions in their survey instrument – survey items that we can map back and link to our demographic and economic database. We can then marry the survey results with our demographics and successfully estimate actual counts of potential customers. IPR can even estimate the market size for your product in every country, demographic and economic strata that exists in our database.

We can even project your primary research results by U.S. zip code (even if you didn’t survey in all ~43,000 of them)!

Ask IPR for an example of combining primary research results with our powerful demographics.

My product hasn’t even hit the market yet. How do I measure potential sales?

There are a TON of primary research techniques out there for measuring product attractiveness and the potential for customer acceptance. The one thing all primary research tools require (and what primary researchers frequently don’t do very well) is an accurate projection of the study results beyond the study’s sample frame. So what if your primary research tells you that X% of your sample is likely to buy your product Y% of the time? To fully understand market potential requires converting those percentages into actual numbers of people or companies.

Ask IPR how it reliably projects primary research results for new-to-the-world products.

What one thing do primary researchers most often overlook when designing their market sizing surveys?

We get it. You’re busy. You’ve got deadlines. And you and your internal clients are heavily focused on asking just the right survey question, creating just the right research design, to measure the relative attractiveness, purchase, or choice probability for your product of interest. You’re so focused on the research technique, in fact, that you may forget one very basic thing: asking the right screener questions and recording screener incidence to enable you later to reliably project your research results to sound demographics.

Ask IPR what survey questions you absolutely NEED to include in order to turn your survey results into actionable market size estimates.

What to do if you can’t afford to conduct a survey in all your countries of interest? How do you make the most of your research budget?

You know that your product is useful around the world. You speculate there are potential customers all the way from Malaysia to Malawi. But you can’t afford to conduct your survey in all 195 (at the moment of this writing) countries in the world. Which countries should you select for your survey?

Most clients resolve this by choosing to survey in those countries that contain the (assumed) largest customer base or largest potential customer base. Oddly, that’s often a mistake! It turns out that your worldwide market size estimates are likely to be more accurate if you survey in a more demographically diverse list of countries. For instance, if Germany and the United States are the largest markets for your newest and most technologically sophisticated piece of printing equipment, surveying in BOTH of these markets might not be as helpful in creating a worldwide estimate as is choosing just one of them and surveying in a more obscure country instead. The characteristics of the German and U.S. printing equipment market might be similar enough that surveying in both countries won’t double the amount of valuable information you obtain.

If an understanding of the market size or market potential across a large list of countries (or even worldwide) is your goal, let IPR use its database of economic and demographic indicators to select an optimum list of survey countries. IPR will then apply its analytic techniques (something we call “proxy mapping”) to project your survey results to ALL your countries of interest—including those you haven’t directly surveyed in.

Ask IPR more about its proxy mapping tools.