In 1879, Thomas Edison invented the first electric light bulb.
Before this, people used kerosene lamps, candles, and fireplaces to light their houses when it was dark.
You could say that Thomas Edison knew there was an untapped market in electricity.
While Edison used previous research and development from other inventors, he knew that making the light bulb needed to be practical and inexpensive so he could sell it.
As an entrepreneur, it's important to recognize untapped markets so you can innovate on products or bring a new product to market.
Below, let's review what an untapped market is, how to find one, and look at some examples.
What is an untapped market?
An untapped market is when there's a demand for a product or service that isn't being supplied by any company yet. This provides businesses an opportunity to be the first brand offering a product or service.
Finding an untapped market requires observation and an understanding of emerging trends. You might be wondering, "How can I find an untapped market?" Let's dive into it below.
How to Find Untapped Markets
- Pay attention to emerging trends.
- Conduct a competitive analysis.
- Read industry blogs.
- Look at Google Trends.
- Do keyword research.
1. Pay attention to emerging trends.
One of the most important ways to find an untapped market is to pay attention to emerging trends. It's hard to be observant of what customers want if you don't know what's developing in your industry.
There are several ways you can do this. First, you can set up Google alerts for any industry you're interested in. When you set up a Google alert for something like "marketing trends," you'll get articles sent directly to your email that contains that keyword.
Similarly, you can read market prediction articles. These will help you learn what other experts think is on the horizon.
To keep up on the latest trends, read the comments. By doing this, you can see what users are interested in and find out what motivates them. This will help you develop new products for them that aren't currently solving their issues.
2. Conduct a competitive analysis.
Sometimes (okay, all the time), it's easier to see your competitor's mistakes than it is to see your own.
Look at your competitors and search for gaps in their products and services. This will help you brainstorm new products that aren't being sold yet.
Additionally, developing these products will help you stand out from competitors when you bring it to market.
The first company to innovate a new product in an untapped market is usually well-respected.
3. Read industry blogs.
This goes along with the first point, but reading and subscribing to industry blogs helps keep you "in the know" in your industry.
For example, I'm subscribed to about half a dozen (if not, more), marketing newsletters. The first thing I do in the morning is read those articles. Doing so helps me prepare and brainstorm new ideas to bring to upcoming meetings.
You might also consider following startup blogs to see what kind of new companies are forming. Where do competitors see an untapped market?
4. Look at Google Trends.
Another way to keep up with the trends is to actually look at Google Trends. If you have an idea and you want to see if there's any substance to it, you can go to Google Trends and type in a keyword.
You'll learn whether people are searching for your topic. If they are, you'll learn about what kinds of keywords users are typing and the variety of those keywords.
This should help you validate an idea and begin your research into whether there's enough demand to warrant a new product or service.
5. Do keyword research.
This will give you the actual keyword volume so you can see how many people are actually searching for your topic. Plus, these tools can help you research competitors and brainstorm content ideas as well.
For a less robust keyword research tool, you can use the free Chrome extension, Keyword Surfer. With this extension, anytime you type into Google, you will see keyword volume and keyword ideas.
Again, these tools will help you validate your market research. If people are searching for something that isn't garnering many results, you can fulfill that need.
Now, you might be curious about an example. Below, let's review some examples of untapped markets from this year.
Top Untapped Market Examples from 2020
- Remote work platforms.
- Face masks.
- Instructional design platforms.
1. Remote work platforms.
While remote work was growing in popularity, the demand for remote work platforms skyrocketed internationally this year.
Similar to an untapped market, while some brands existed, there wasn't enough supply to meet the demand.
2. Face masks.
Before this year, wearing face masks wasn't a popular thing to do globally. This was an untapped market that most people didn't know we'd need.
As the year continued, many new face mask brands have started because there has been a high demand for this product to be stylish, comfortable, and breathable.
3. Instructional design platforms.
Similar to remote work platforms, the demand for online learning platforms grew exponentially this year.
Again, this industry did have some players in the arena before 2020, however, demand exceeded supply this year. The education industry needed new tools that made online learning platforms accessible so students could learn from home.
Sometimes finding an untapped market is as easy as paying attention to current events and trends. You don't always need to be granular in a certain industry, but looking at supply and demand as a big picture.