When is a market saturated?

Hi there,
first of all, great community here. I really love to read the discussions here.

I’m currently working on an idea of mine that solves a problem for myself. There are several businesses doing similar things but somehow I thought every other business was either too bloated or not doing the thing I wanted to. It’s about straightforward website monitoring (keyword based, not just HTTP Response based).

And currently I’m a bit worried that it will be too difficult to get customers for my idea, because of all the other services out there. I want to dominate the market. Having around 50 customers is totally enough for me.

When is a market too saturated? And do you think it might be possible to attract people through clever marketing angles - I mean “niche down”?

Happy to hear your thoughts

I entered in the DNS market in 2010, followed by domain registration later that year, and SSL certificates in 2011. This market was definitely saturated, even at that point. Even so I’ve been able to build up the DNSimple customer base over 7 years to a healthy amount. I started down the path by focusing on a service that solved my needs, which happened to fit well with the needs of a specific market segment (developers).

My point to the story is that at small volumes no market is ever totally saturated. There is always room for a good product that is just different enough from the competitors to solve a problem of a segment of customers.

Whether you can attract enough people to hit your target mark of 50 customers is really up to your ability to build the thing that is slightly different and useful and getting out and finding those potential customers. If you can do those two things, then yes, you can get enough customers to have a nice small business, even in a market that seems saturated.


There are a number of factors to consider, which would make a seemingly saturated market ripe for a new competitor:

  1. Market is highly fragmented, with no clear leader.
  2. Important customer Needs are not well satisfied.
    (The service meets the need but not very well).And you can either meet those needs in a way that your Price/Cost is more attractive. (Either the are willing to pay more for your product meeting their needs better or, even better, you can meet those needs better AND do so at a lower cost (to you). For example: if the current solution is bloated users really only want one feature and you could supply that in an easier to use product. So you are looking for a Need that is IMPORTANT and NOT satisfied.

Example of #2

Compete with PhotoShop
It does everything, if you spend 10 hours learning it.

But what if I created just one part of it: Removing Backgrounds from photos. But I made it super easy and effective.
That’s what https://clippingmagic.com/ did. They also got clever with their pricing: it’s a subscription service, just $4/month.

Or Instagram Filters.