Market Analysis: Diary Study App

Using Porter’s 5 forces framework as the basis for analysis, I looked at the forces at play in the market that the Diary Study App will occupy.

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The diary study app aims to fill a need that researchers have that is currently not being met adequately. There are many work-arounds that researchers use to accomplish their goals but none that they feel perfectly meet their needs and help them with the task at hand.

I know there is a need out there from researchers who have not quite found a good solution to running a diary study:

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Threat of new Entrants

  • The field is currently wide open. There are a few enterprise solutions out there created and marketed to large market research firms. Small, affordable solutions that allow scrappy researchers to get the job done simply don’t exist.
  • There are a few products in development at the moment that aim to solve this problem. They are in closed beta right now, and may enter the market before the Diary Study App gets up and running.

Threat of Substitutes

  • Research methods change slowly. The diary study method is relatively fresh in the business world and I don’t see it declining as a popular method. If anything, tools will become available, making it more accessible as a method for researchers to utilize.

Bargaining Power of Suppliers

  • Apps in the market have been unbundling for a long time. There are many apps that exist today which offer many of the services that would be useful in a diary study app (Tumblr, Lookback). The app will aim to bring the best of those services and combine them into a tool that will provide an easy solution for researchers.

Bargaining Power of Buyers

  • There are potentially many buyers at many levels of need. Those who are currently hacking together a solution from many services are unlikely to pay high prices but could be persuaded to spend a little extra to lighten their workload.
  • Thos buyers who are not cost sensitive will not be easily phased by the cost of a solution that adds value to their business as long as it is less than the enterprise solutions out there, and as long as it adds the same or more value to the researchers life and the business’s goals.

Degree of Rivalry

  • The research community as I have found it is relatively cooperative. I believe there is room for multiple solutions out there and that we all have a vested interest in seeing the success of the research industry and I believe we will work together to do so.

If I were to size up the market for this app on the back of a napkin, it might look something like this:

Target Market: Researchers in Small to Medium Enterprises (also possibly small groups within larger companies).

How many companies are there in the US who have research departments or care about doing research? I’ll bet it’s about 1% of the total SMEs in the US

How many companies are there in the US? (there are about 30 million today)

There are probably about 300,000 people in the US who might care about the existence of a diary study app.

Trend Analysis

When looking at the four key types of trends, I see a few trends that might affect the Diary Study App in various ways.

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Technology Trends

  • As more and more people adopt technology in their daily lives, data collection may become easier and participant compliance may become better.
  • As sensors become a larger part of our lives, we will be able to gather more information about participants than we ever could before. How hot is their environment? How much do they move around during the day?

Social Trends

  • Technology is becoming a part of everyday life in the US and as this trend continues, it will be less strange for researchers to request information from users. As frequent users of  products that are frequently changing, being part of the process of product development might be an exciting prospect for some participants. The acceptance of technology in our lives may make them  more willing to contribute their digital experiences to a research project.

Regulatory Trends

  • Privacy laws may restrict what some researchers can gather through the app.
  • Some companies have restricted their platforms from sending data to third parties. The future of open source, or free flowing information is relevant here.

Socio Economic Trends

  • As long as there are customers for products, this trend may not affect the Diary Study App. I suppose, if there were a radical recession and people stopped buying and companies stopped caring what people wanted to buy, then the Diary Study App might cease to be useful. But in this case, I could see it being useful for another sector – non-profit data collection.

All in all, it sounds like there is a solid market and an engaged audience for the Diary Study App. Some more solid market research will be able to back up these claims.



About calliewheeler

Callie is an enthusiastic proponent of user centered design and usability research and discovery. Her passions lie in social entrepreneurship and experience design.

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