Which Type of Forecasting Method Is Used When There Is Little or No Historical Data?


Larry Thompson

Which Type of Forecasting Method Is Used When There Is Little or No Historical Data?

Forecasting is an essential tool for businesses to make informed decisions and plan for the future. However, what happens when there is little or no historical data available?

In such cases, traditional forecasting methods may not be applicable. This article explores alternative approaches that can be used when faced with this challenge.

Qualitative Forecasting

In the absence of historical data, qualitative forecasting methods can be employed. These methods rely on expert opinions, market research, and subjective analysis to make predictions. Let’s explore some commonly used qualitative forecasting techniques:

1. Expert judgment

Expert judgment involves seeking insights from individuals with deep knowledge and experience in a particular industry or domain. These experts provide their opinions and predictions based on their expertise. While this method is subjective, it can be valuable when there is a lack of historical data.

2. Delphi method

The Delphi method is a structured approach that involves collecting anonymous opinions from a panel of experts. The experts provide forecasts individually, and their responses are aggregated and shared with the group for further analysis. This iterative process continues until a consensus is reached.

Time Series Analysis

If there is limited historical data available, time series analysis can still provide some insights for forecasting. Time series analysis involves analyzing patterns and trends in sequential data points over time.

1. Moving averages

Moving averages are commonly used when there is a small amount of historical data available. This method calculates the average value of a specific number of preceding data points to predict future values. Exponential smoothing

Exponential smoothing is a technique that assigns exponentially decreasing weights to past observations.

It gives more importance to recent data points while still considering older ones. This method is suitable when there is little historical data available.


Simulation models can be used to forecast outcomes when historical data is scarce. Simulations involve creating models that mimic real-world scenarios and running multiple iterations to generate forecasts.

Monte Carlo simulation

Monte Carlo simulation is a widely used method in situations with limited historical data. It involves running simulations based on random sampling from known probability distributions. By repeating the simulations multiple times, it generates a range of possible outcomes, allowing for more informed decision-making.


When there is little or no historical data available for forecasting, traditional methods may not be applicable. However, qualitative methods, time series analysis techniques like moving averages and exponential smoothing, and simulation models such as the Monte Carlo simulation can still provide valuable insights.

Choosing the right method depends on the specific circumstances and available resources. By incorporating these alternative approaches into your forecasting process, you can make informed decisions even in the absence of historical data.

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