The Utility of Market Analyses: Key Findings From a Landscape Review

  • Date Posted: October 4, 2016
  • Organizations/Projects: MarketShare Associates; ACDI/VOCA
  • Document Types: Evidence or Research, Evaluation, Evidence or Research
  • Donor Type: Non-US Government Agency

For the majority of market systems development (MSD) projects, conducting market systems analysis at the beginning of a new project is considered standard practice. Yet despite their widespread acceptance, some practitioners and donors are unconvinced that market analyses are living up to their promise. There are concerns about the quality of the analyses, their value for money, and their usefulness in informing subsequent intervention design and adaptive management practices.

This report examines this issue through a review of market analyses and in-depth interviews with key staff from projects seeking to apply an MSD approach. The purpose of this paper is to improve the practices of projects wanting to understand where and how to intervene to facilitate market systems development that creates inclusive benefits for target populations. The report’s intended audience is implementers and donors of MSD projects. While recognizing that market analyses may be used for a variety of purposes, including by donors to inform portfolio investments and policy designs, this assessment focused on the utility of market analysis for implementers who seek to use it to design and constantly improve interventions.