"Once those three parts have been addressed and you believe you have a viable product or line of products...is it important or even possible to project what your market share might be within your product category?"
Market Share by definition is "The percentage or proportion of the total available market or market segment that is being serviced by a company"
When we apply this definition to a product, we are saying it’s the number of people who buy our product out of the total possible number of people available to buy any product in that catagory.
That being said, the short answer is “No” but it’s not the entire answer. There are some things you can do to get a feel for what your market share may be, and several of them you should already know from the research you did BEFORE you decided to take your product to market.
Current number of players in the market – Go into stores & search the web. After a few trips to the store it will become evident who is selling in that category and who teh big players are. Be careful though, often a company sells under several brand names, so look for the distribution information on the back of the package.
Count the hooks – Often the number of hooks a product has is a great indication of their market share. Products that sell get the most hooks – it’s that simple.
Ask the manager – sometimes a store manager will run a “Movement Report” on a product for you if you ask. It will tell you the number of units sold over a given time. This is only a snapshot of that one store, but it should serve as an indicator of the product performance overall.
Look at the benefits – After all, if your product isn’t better, or cheaper, or sexier – why does the buyer want to change anyway? The more benefits you have to your product over the others the better chance you have of selling more products.
In the end all you can really do is take a few data points and extrapolate what may be a logical trend. The market share for your product isn’t something you want to spend a lot of time on. However, understanding the size and players in the market BEFORE you commit to developing a product is a much better effort to undertake.