Market sizing matters!

As part of European Supply Chain day (April 21st, today!), which aims to raise awareness of the logistics and supply chain profession, Transport Intelligence (Ti – in case you’re in the dark, Ti is a leading provider of market research solutions to the global logistics industry) is trying to do its part to rubbish the perception that the industry is ‘boring’ or just about ‘trucks and sheds’. To that end, I’d thought I’d write a bit about my role and why market sizing of the transport and logistics sector really matters.

Note: If you’re not into quantitative analysis, market sizing, market shares or forecasting then this article might not be for you. If you sighed at the words used in the previous sentence, you should probably stop now. Otherwise, welcome to my world…

First, a bit of background. I have worked at Ti for almost five years, gradually progressing to the role of an Economist (after achieving my master’s degree in the subject), becoming increasingly involved in our market sizing efforts concerning various logistics markets, ranging from European road transport, contract logistics, express & parcels, freight forwarding and e-commerce logistics. Over this time, I have come to realise the importance of market sizing to all sorts of companies – logistics providers, retailers, manufacturers, banks and consultancies.

So what sorts of numbers are companies interested in when it comes to market sizing? For me, it can be boiled down to just a few key needs which are actually pretty obvious. On the numbers side, the interest is primarily in knowing actual market sizes, needing to understand past, present and future growth of markets and finally what market shares are. On the written analysis side, companies primarily just want to know why things are the way they are (or will be when it comes to forecasting).

What purpose does market sizing data and analysis really serve? There are numerous reasons but some popular ones are:

  • Has my company beaten the market’s growth in country X?
  • Is my company bigger than company Y in this region?
  • We’re thinking of setting up or expanding in country Z. What are the growth prospects for that market in the short, medium and long term? Are they better than some other potential locations we are thinking of investing in?

So even just from those three points, I hope it’s pretty easy to see the value of market sizing.

Finally, some golden rules when it comes to market sizing in transport and logistics: don’t try to delve too deep and be incredibly specific, always check, recheck and check again, and finally, never try to forecast freight rates – you will be made to look a fool!

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