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Secondary Market Research

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Business Studies

Marketing without market research is like driving with your eyes closed."

- Dan Zarrella

Market research is fundamental to all marketing activities. Market research allows businesses to get to know their customers, understand their wants and needs, and it helps businesses decide what products to sell and how to sell them. Market research is therefore a key first step to marketing decision-making. But what is secondary market research, and how is it different from other types of market research?

Secondary market research definition

Secondary market research is one of the two types of market research that can be employed by businesses to get necessary information/data about a target market.

Market research refers to the process of studying a target market and determining the market value or viability of a new product or service in said market.

There are two types of market research - primary market research and secondary market research. In this explanation, we will be looking at secondary market research.

Secondary market research, also known as desk research, involves businesses using information or data that already exists. This type of data has already been collected by someone else, other than the researcher. Examples of secondary market data may include population information from the National Census Board, reports published by other companies, information from websites, and presented research from similar businesses operating in the same market.

Secondary market research can be quantitative, based on data and statistics, or qualitative, based on opinions, beliefs, attitudes, or intentions. Tools used for secondary market research include Google Trends, Google Analytics, school archives, libraries, organisational reports, Government reports, market reports, journals, publications, dissertations, etc.

Secondary market research sources

The various secondary market research sources can be grouped into two, namely, internal sources and external sources (see Figure 1 below).

Secondary Market Research, Types of secondary market research, StudySmarterFigure 1. Types of Secondary Market Research

This refers to information or data obtained from past business activities either on a departmental level or organisation level. An example of this is a business's previous sales figures which can be used by the rest of the department to spot sales trends and predict future sales growth. Another example is the use of customer loyalty cards, which provides businesses with the opportunity to gain insight into customer buying habits, thus making it easier to target them for promotional campaigns.

Internal sources of information should be considered first for information because they are cheap, quick, and exclusive to the business. However, there are cases where internal sources may be incomplete, out of date, or have no relevant information for the intended purpose. In any of these cases, businesses can consider using external sources to gather data and information.

This refers to sources outside the business, that have the necessary data needed by the business. This includes public media, trade publications, company reports, governmental reports and commercial market research organisations such as Euromonitor or Statista. These sources are particularly useful when a business either requires new information, is looking to update its existing information, or requires data on external market trends and patterns.

Secondary market research methods and examples

Below are a few examples of secondary market research methods.

Online resources and resource banks such as Google Scholar, Research Gate, Forbes, and Statista provide relevant information and data on the target market for businesses. For example, data can be collected from Statista to identify the services or products customers spent the most money on in a certain industry during a set period of time.

Articles, newsletters, books, reviews, and documentaries are sources of qualitative information businesses can use for market research. Information collected from qualitative sources can be gathered and analysed in order to dive deep into a particular topic. An example of this is seen in a business that needs information on women's buying habits for a marketing campaign; relevant information can be found by analysing online reviews.

Academic articles and journals are particularly useful for this purpose as researchers regularly carry out detailed and empirical research on various topics. Students' dissertations are also a good source as they can both provide key primary data and secondary information needed for market research.

Secondary market research advantages

The advantages of secondary market research include:

  1. Secondary sources with pre-recorded data and information are easily accessible and always available.

  2. Due to the fact that the data and information were pre-collected, market research becomes quicker.

  3. Secondary market research saves businesses from spending too much money on their market research. Information from secondary sources is available for free, or at a lower cost than carrying out your own primary research.

  4. Secondary market research provides businesses with the flexibility to scale up results quickly due to the large range of data available. The businesses might not have enough funds to survey most of the population in a country, but the government often does.

  5. Secondary market research can also be used to get pre-research insights to determine whether it is worth it for the company to carry out long and expensive primary research.

Secondary market research disadvantages

  1. Data obtained from secondary market research is usually not exclusive. It is easily accessible, and can’t be used where very specific data is needed.

  2. Information and data gathered from secondary market research need to be analysed and verified before use to avoid errors. It is important to always use secondary data from reliable sources.

  3. Data from secondary market research needs to be carefully monitored by the researcher before interpreting results.

  4. Data collected from secondary market research may be outdated.

  5. Data collected from secondary market research is extensive and may not be specific, hence it will require researchers to analyse plenty of data to get relevant information.

Secondary market research example

A female clothing brand called Clothes20 is looking to expand its business activity into a new market, thus it is conducting secondary market research to understand its target customers' fashion buying behaviour. External sources will be used to gather information about customer behaviour, as the brand is trying to enter a new market and the business's internal information sources have little information on the subject.

During the course of the research, data showing how much is spent on female fashion within the location of interest will be collected from online platforms such as Statista, Google Trends, and Research Gate. Qualitative information is also collected by looking at customer reviews on identified competitors' websites in order to identify customers' pain points and market opportunities. As a result of this preliminary secondary market research, Clothes20 will understand what opportunities it has in the market.

In conclusion, secondary market research provides businesses with relevant insights on competitors, market trends, market size, and customer behaviour, helping businesses make better decisions and strategies on how to introduce new products or services. These insights can be obtained through either internal sources or external sources, saving the business time and costs.

Secondary Market Research - Key takeaways

  • Secondary market research is one of the two types of market research which can be employed by businesses to get necessary information/data about a target market.

  • Secondary market research, also known as desk research, involves businesses using information or data that already exists. This type of data has already been collected by someone else, other than the researcher.

  • Examples of secondary market data may include population information from the National Census Board, reports published by other companies, information from websites, and presented research from similar businesses operating in the same market.

  • The various secondary market research sources can be grouped into two namely - internal sources and external sources.

  • Secondary market research provides businesses with relevant insights on competitors, market trends, market size and customer behaviour, and helping businesses better position and strategise on how to introduce new products or services.

  • Low costs, speed, flexibility, and insight into large populations are some of the advantages of using secondary research.

  • The disadvantages of using secondary research include the fact that it may be outdated, may contain errors, and may be too broad.

Secondary Market Research

Examples of secondary market data may include population information from the National Census Board, reports published by other companies, information from websites, and presented research from similar businesses operating in the same market.

Tools used for secondary market research include Google Trends, Google Analytics, academic archives, library resources, organization reports, government reports, market reports, journals, publications, and dissertations, among others.

The main methods of secondary market research include collecting information and data from online sources, qualitative reports, and academic resources.

Secondary market research, also known as desk research, involves businesses using information or data that already exists. This type of data has already been collected by someone else, other than the researcher. 

Secondary market research sources can be grouped into two: namely, internal and external sources of secondary data.

Final Secondary Market Research Quiz

Question

List the two ways in which market research be conducted

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Answer

primary market research, secondary market research

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Question

Which of the following is not an example of information that can be gotten from secondary market research

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Answer

None of the above

Show question

Question

What is market research?


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Answer

Market research refers to the process of determining the market value or viability of a new product or service. 

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Question

Which of the following is not a tool of secondary market research?


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Answer

None of the above

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Question

What are the two main sources of data in secondary market research


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Answer

Internal source and external source 

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Question

Information gotten from an organization past activities is a …….. source of information


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Answer

Internal source

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Question

When looking for new data or insights about a market, which secondary research source is most suitable to be employed 


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Answer

External sources

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Question

Which of these sources of information is usually exclusive to a business 


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Answer

Internal sources

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Question

Give two disadvantages of secondary market research 


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Answer

Data obtained from secondary market research is usually not exclusive. They are easily accessible, and can’t be used where exclusive data are needed 



Information and data gotten from secondary market research needs to be analyzed and verified before use to avoid errors 

Show question

Question

How is the extensive nature of data gotten from secondary market research a disadvantage 


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Answer

Data collected from secondary market research is extensive and may not be specific, hence it will require researchers to analyze plenty of data to get relevant information. 

Show question

Question

Name two advantages of secondary market research.

Show answer

Answer

  1. Secondary sources with pre-recorded data and information are easily accessible and always available. 

  2. Secondary market research saves businesses from spending too much money on their market research. This is due to the fact information from secondary sources is available for free or at a lower cost than carrying out its own primary research.

Show question

Question

Explain how secondary market research can be done online.

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Answer

Online resources and resource banks such as Google Scholar, Research Gate, Forbes, and Statista provide relevant information and data on the target market for businesses. For example, data can be collected from Statista to identify the services or products customers spent the most money on in a certain industry.

Show question

Question

Name a few examples of internal sources of secondary market research.

Show answer

Answer

An example of internal sources may include the business's previous sales figures which can be used by the rest of the department to spot sales trends and predict future sales growth. Another example is the use of customer loyalty cards, which provides businesses with the opportunity to gain insight into customer buying habits, thus making it easier to target them for promotional campaigns. 

Show question

Question

Explain your understanding of external sources of secondary research.


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Answer

External sources refer to sources outside a business that have the necessary data needed by the business. This includes company reports, governmental reports and using commercial market research organisations such as Euromonitor.

Show question

Question

What is secondary market research?

Show answer

Answer

Secondary market research, also known as desk research, involves businesses using information or data that already exists. This type of data has already been collected by someone else, other than the researcher.

Show question

Question

Secondary market research is also known as desk research.

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Answer

True

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Question

Secondary market research is also known as field research.


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Answer

False

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Question

Secondary market research can be ___, based on data and statistics. 


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Answer

quantitative 

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Secondary market research can be ___, based on opinions, beliefs, attitudes or intentions.


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Answer

qualitative 

Show question

Question

This refers to information or data obtained from past business activities either on a departmental level or organisation level. What is it?

Show answer

Answer

Internal sources

Show question

Question

This refers to sources outside the business, that have the necessary data needed by the business. This includes public media, trade publications, company reports, Governmental reports and commercial market research organisations such as Euromonitor or Statista. What is it?


Show answer

Answer

External sources

Show question

Question

Secondary market research is cheaper than primary market research.


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True

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Secondary market research is longer than primary market research.

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Answer

False

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Question

___ refers to the process of studying a target market and determining the market value or viability of a new product or service in said market.


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Answer

Market research 

Show question

Question

There are two types of market research - primary market research and...


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Answer

secondary market research. 

Show question

Question

This type of data has already been collected by someone else, other than the researcher. What type of research is it?


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Answer

Secondary

Show question

Question

Secondary market research can be quantitative, but not qualitative.

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Answer

False

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Academic resources cannot be used to conduct secondary market research.

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Answer

False

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Secondary market research used external sources only.

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Answer

False

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Question

Besides secondary market research, there is also ___ market research.

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Answer

primary

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