Guide

Market research and market reports

Primary and secondary market research

Once you have identified the information you need, you can start to gather it. Sources of market research may be ‘primary’ or ‘secondary’. It is a good idea to first conduct secondary market research, then do your own primary research.

What is primary market research?

Primary market research is either conducted by your business or by a research agency you have hired. It is also known as ‘field’ research. It is tailored to find the specific information your business needs. You could use it to test customer opinion on your new product or learn how your brand is perceived.

Some examples of primary market research include:

  • questionnaires
  • focus groups
  • examining your businesses own data eg sales and inquiries
  • customers’ online behaviour

What is secondary market research?

Secondary market research comes from information previously gathered by external organisations. It is also known as ‘desk’ research. It provides general information about the market and isn’t based on your own business. There are many free sources of secondary market research. The research may be detailed and useful, however it isn’t tailored to your specific needs.

Sources of secondary market research include:

For other useful sources of data, see how to do competitor research.