What is Qualitative Forecasting? Definition and Methods You Can Use

Qualitative forecasting is an estimation methodology that uses expert judgment, rather than numerical analysis. This type of forecasting relies upon the knowledge of highly experienced employees and consultants to provide insights into future outcomes.

Forecasting is crucial for business owners to increase the success of their enterprises. They are able to forecast future sales and labor demand and make adequate budgetary plans thanks to effective demand forecasting. Whether businesses choose to use qualitative or quantitative methods, management can make more informed decisions that will meet their specific goals by being aware of the advantages and drawbacks of each strategy. Demand forecasting can generally be divided into two categories: qualitative and quantitative.

This approach to forecasting focuses on the perceptions, assessments, and practical knowledge of sector experts. Businesses can assemble a group of subject-matter experts to get feedback on suggested budgets, demand for particular goods or services, labor requirements, and other topics. As an alternative, they can conduct questionnaires with members of their target market as well as market or consumer surveys to find out how people feel about particular goods or services.

Forecasting – Qualitative methods

Why is qualitative forecasting important?

For executives to make decisions for the company, qualitative forecasting is crucial. Making decisions about how much inventory to keep on hand, whether to hire new employees, and how to modify a company’s sales operations can all be informed by qualitative forecasting. Additionally, qualitative forecasting is essential for creating projects like marketing campaigns because it can highlight the aspects of a company’s service that should be highlighted in advertisements.

Using sources other than numerical data, being able to foresee future business trends and phenomena, and using information from industry experts are some advantages of qualitative forecasting.

What is qualitative forecasting?

With the help of expert judgment, qualitative forecasting makes predictions about a company’s financial health. By identifying and analyzing the relationship between current knowledge of past operations and potential future operations, skilled employees carry out qualitative forecasting. This enables the experts to predict how a business will perform in the future based on their insights and the data they gather from other sources, such as staff surveys or market research.

Industries that use qualitative forecasting

Almost any industry can benefit from the use of qualitative forecasting by businesses to make predictions about their upcoming operations. Heres how a few industries might use qualitative forecasting:

Qualitative vs quantitative forecasting

Another method of forecasting is quantitative forecasting. Because it uses numerical values and calculations to make predictions and guide decision-making, quantitative forecasting differs from qualitative forecasting. In contrast to qualitative reasoning, which uses analysis of judgments and opinions to inform decisions, qualitative reasoning is based on objective data from previous operations. Historical data forecasts and associative data forecasts are the other two categories of quantitative data. The mathematical calculations used in these forecasts can assist a business in recognizing trends in areas like sales or investments.

Here are five methods of quantitative forecasting:

Examples of qualitative forecasting methods

Here are a few examples of qualitative forecasting methods:

Delphi method

The Delphi method entails asking each member of a group of experts for their individual opinions. Avoiding bias and making sure that any consensus regarding business predictions comes from the experts’ individual opinions can be achieved by interviewing or gathering information from the experts one at a time as opposed to in a group. Then, other staff members evaluate the experts’ responses and send them back with more inquiries before arriving at a prediction that makes sense for the company.

Jury of executive opinion

This strategy is dependent on the opinions of professionals from the sales, finance, purchasing, administration, or production teams. By using executive opinion, a team can complete a forecast quickly and take into account a variety of viewpoints from various departments to produce the most accurate forecast possible. Some businesses might combine a quantitative approach with executive opinion forecasting.

Market research

By exposing potential customers to a company’s services or products and tracking their reactions, market research analyzes how successful they are. Companies can either hire outside firms that specialize in market research activities or use their own employees to help with the research. Focus groups, consumer surveys, and blind product testing, in which a customer tries a product they have never heard of before, are a few methods of conducting market research. Companies can decide which goods or services to continue producing based on participant feedback, and which ones might require revision during the production stage.

Consumer surveys

Customers of a business are questioned in surveys about their experiences as consumers. Customers may receive consumer surveys from businesses via email or mail-in questionnaires. Cold-calling customers on the phone and inviting customers into the office for in-person interviews are additional methods for conducting consumer surveys. Employees can use the details they learn to help inform their predictions about the future of a company based on the experience of their current customers after collecting information from consumer surveys.

Sales force polling

Speaking with salespeople, who interact frequently with customers and may have detailed knowledge of their satisfaction and experiences with the business, is known as sales force polling. The fact that sales force polling uses data from staff who are frequently involved in actual business operations can help to ensure that the specifics are accurate and pertinent. Since it only requires meeting with salespeople and concentrating on the data they provide, sales force polling is also simple to carry out.


What is qualitative forecasting example?

Qualitative forecasting techniques are based on the perception and assessment of experts and consumers, and they are only appropriate in the absence of historical data. Examples of qualitative forecasting techniques include market research, informed opinion and judgment, and the Delphi method.

What is quantitative forecasting?

Qualitative forecasting is based on information that can’t be measured. Since there isn’t much historical data available when a company is just getting started, it’s particularly crucial. Quantitative forecasting is based on measurable and manipulatable historical data.

What is the advantage of qualitative forecasting technique?

Sales teams use quantitative forecasting, a data-based mathematical process, to analyze performance and forecast future sales using data and patterns from the past. Businesses can make educated decisions about strategies and procedures to ensure ongoing success by forecasting results.

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