What is market research?
Market research identifies and investigates the needs and preferences of target markets or customers and can be conducted using either primary or secondary research methods.
Many companies use third party market research firms to gather information on target customers. Listed below are listed several firms that provide extensive access to market research reports. These reports provide information on a variety of industries, and typically include information on the market size, segmentation, channels, consumer demographics, and sometimes even psychographics.
Journal and news articles can also be excellent resources for understanding target markets. For more information on searching for articles, visit the Business News, Articles & Books page of this guide.
Consulting Firm White Papers
Consulting firm white papers are incredibly rich and credible sources of market and industry research available for free online. They are well-researched and provide citations for the sources the analysts used. Think of these as mini market research reports - they are typically under 20 pages long, but they provide an excellent snapshot of the landscape of a particular industry, including challenges, trends, opportunities, and much more.
You can locate consulting firm reports (Deloitte, PWC, EY, KPMG, Bain, BCG, McKinsey, Accenture) through a simple Google search by using the inurl tool. Only search one consulting firm at a time, changing name for each additional firm. Use advanced Google search strategies to find even more tips for locating consulting firm white papers.
What is industry research?
Industry research reports contain a strong analysis of an industry's operating conditions, trends, challenges and opportunities, competitive landscape, and much more. These reports often go hand-in-hand with market research reports, but they are more concerned with the current landscape of an industry, and provide less detail on consumer need and preferences.