Last year, a client hired me to do a market assessment on a number of housewares product categories. They wanted to understand market and competitive dynamics of each category and product segment so they could decide where to focus their new product efforts.

I learned long ago that there is no single definitive source of market data for all housewares product categories. The trade publications publish annual reports on size and growth trends of the major housewares categories but the information is very topline and not available for many housewares categories, let alone product segments within the categories. The NDP Group, Nielsen, and IRI/Symphony sell retail store sales tracking data but only for a limited number of housewares categories. That’s why doing a market assessment is like trying to put together a jigsaw puzzle that has lots of missing pieces. Hopefully, you can find enough puzzle pieces to be able to piece together a somewhat complete picture.

To get market data for all the categories that I needed to evaluate, I had to conduct primary research. I conducted an online survey with a sample of U.S. households to find out what housewares products U.S. consumers had purchased in the past year, how many times they purchased that type of product during the year, how many items they purchased on each purchase occasion, and what they paid. I then calculated market size using that consumer purchase data.

That’s why I decided to launch Market Tracker. I firmly believe that you have to have a pretty thorough understanding of the market and competitive dynamics of your product categories if you want your company to not just survive but thrive. But it is really hard to understand your product category if there is little market data. With Market Tracker, housewares companies will have an affordable source of market data.

Today, Market Tracker covers the bakeware, cookware, and kitchen gadget and tool product categories. I hope to add several product categories each quarter so that within a few years, you’ll be able to get Market Tracker for most housewares categories.

Market Tracker uses the same methodology that I used for that big market assessment project, with two notable differences. First, respondents are asked to recall what they purchased in the past three months, not the past year. Second, Market Tracker captures far more data about consumer purchase behavior than the research I did a year ago. In addition to finding out what respondents bought, how often they bought, and what they paid, Market Tracker provides insight into where respondents bought, how and when they made the decision on what to buy, and why they bought.  CLICK HERE to learn more about Market Tracker.