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Research Guides

INF2325: Launching Information Ventures

A course guide and workshop materials for market research

Market vs industry


Where buyers and sellers come together to exchange value – whether goods, services, money, etc.
Most of the time, market = your customers
Most of the time, market(s) are easier to define or hypothesize.

Industry (or sector)

A group of businesses or organizations that are selling similar goods, services, money to similar (but not always) customers.
Most of the time, industry = (competitors + you)
Often, your venture may belong to more than one industry - or it may be challenging to define your industry.
Often, industry data is used as a substitute for market data - and may even be called 'market data'


Take a look at Canadian startup Frank & Oak

Their market is (broadly speaking) millennial males - but what is their 'industry'?Frank and Oak logo

  • Men's fashion?
  • Men's casual fashion?
  • Men's shoes? Men's accessories?
  • Men's fashion manufacturing?
  • E-commerce?
  • Physical retail?
  • Hybrid retail?

Market research

Most of the time, market research = research about (market + industry)

Who is your market? Market sizing review


Total Addressable Market (TAM): How big is the universe?

Served Available Market (SAM): How many can your venture reach with your sales channel(s)?

Target Market (TM): Who will be the most likely buyers? Who will be the cheapest/easiest to sell to?

(Source: Blank and Dorf, The Startup Owner's Manual p. 72)

Top-down sizing

Sources: Industry analyst reports, market research reports, competitors’ press releases, library resources, discussions with investors

Metrics: units shipped or sold, dollars, page views, sales revenue, etc.

Bottom-up sizing

Sources: Consumer/customer counts and demographics, typical prices, aggregate spending habits

Metrics: Dollars spent, % or # of population, current prices