In economics and marketing, the niche market is a segmentation of the market that involves sub-sets of a specific market which are made up of people and organizations that demand similar products or services based on qualities related to those products.
A more easy and explicit definition presents the niche market as a small but profitable segment of a market suitable for focused attention by a marketer. Market niches do not exist by themselves, but are created by identifying needs or wants that are not being addressed by competitors, and by offering products that satisfy them (Business Dictionary).
The niche market is highly specialized, aiming to survive among the competition from numerous larger or big companies.
In a Niche market, “the final product quality (low or high) is not dependant on the price elasticity of demand; it is associated more with the specific needs that the product is aimed at satisfying and, in some cases, aspects of brand recognition (e.g., prestige, practicability, money saving, expensiveness, planet environment conscience, power, etc…” (Wikipedia).
In Lebanon, among the broad spectrum of market niche adopted by individual investors and SMEs, a new small market segment has emerged lately and forge its way amidst a gigantic conventional market: it’s the Dry washing (or Waterless washing) car system versus the classical water washing of cars.
Several systems of dry washing have entered the market since the last decade. Even though not yet widely spread, yet they gradually invade malls, supermarkets, large shopping open and closed areas. Most of the existing systems are manual washing systems or use small machines and be described as follows:
- Steam wash: consist in the projection of dry steam at 170°C at a pressure of 8 Bar with the help of a transportable machine. Its advantages reside in the absence of emissions and the possibility to clean the car externally and internally.
- Normal dry wash: consists in the spraying of the car with a product (chemical, biodegradable or natural) and then capturing and removing impurities and dirt with a microfiber cleaning cloth. The system suffers the inconveniences related to the impossibility of cleaning the wheels well and underbody of the car. The cleaning cost can also be high.
The marketing strategy adopted by the marketers of dry wash uses the arguments and tools of the ecological solutions to environment care and mitigation of pollution: the ecological axes used for the dry wash are :
- Water saving
- Waste treatment
- Usage of biodegradable products
- Renewable energy sources, particularly solar heating
The dry washing car system as a niche market has still a long way to go in Lebanon. Its development is still timid when compared to a more comfortable situation in Dubai. Penetration of the market in the greater Beirut is going slowly but surely. Awareness of the public is increasing and the market will soon reach notoriety.