What Is Secondary Market Research

Secondary market research, also known as desk research, is a research method that involves working with existing data that has already been gathered. Secondary market research data can be collected either from internal or external sources.

Internal market research data

Internal research data sources are ones that exist within the company, and these may include:

  • the company’s financial or marketing information. For example, the data collected from people who previously responded to the company’s advert.
  • recordings of support calls that contain customers’ feedback and complains.
  • data from previously conducted focus groups.
  • data from user forums, if the company has any.

External market research data

External sources of research data exist outside the company. These may include:

  • data from research firms and government organisations.
  • published articles
  • white papers
  • social media. However, social media may be considered a primary source if you control the feed’s content.
  • journals containing information collected by other researchers.
  • internet research
  • market reports.
  • government reports.

When to conduct secondary market research

One of the reasons why companies perform secondary market research is that it is relatively cheaper to conduct than primary market research. This method is therefore preferred by small companies that operate on a limited budget.

Some situations require the company to first perform secondary market research before moving on to primary market research. For example, when planning market research, researchers usually want to know if the relevant information already exist before wasting money on conducting primary research.

Secondary research is a prerequisite for many companies before conducting primary research. If the company conducts secondary research, they may find that other companies have already researched a similar idea. The company then avoids wasting resources researching the same topic. Instead, the company may then wish to refine the concept and study the issue further.

Methods of secondary market research

There are many sources of secondary research data, such as:

  • Internet research
  • Published market reports
  • Government reports
  • Competitive information
  • White papers
  • Analyst reports
  • Previous in-house studies
  • Prior internal focus groups
  • Customer emails
  • Customer surveys and feedback
  • Recordings of internal and external meetings

Internet research

Internet research data includes data gathered from competitors’ blogs, newspaper articles and social media. This type of market research provides a company an overview of information relating to the industry and its competitors.

Published market reports

Market reports can give a company specific data about the market, the industry and the products on the market. For example, a market report might contain information that 70 per cent of all middle aged people prefer medium sized mobile phones to tablets. Then if the company is selling medium sized mobile phones it can then decide to target middle age people.

Government reports

Government reports usually consist of general data that is not usually industry specific. However the data can still be useful for a company doing the research.

Juliet Muturuki

Quantity Surveyor and Freelance Writer.

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