What is secondary market research?

Secondary market research involves collecting information or data that has already been produced. Secondary sources are used to gather the data – giving this type of research its name – and these sources may come from either within the organisation or externally.

Secondary research is cheaper and quicker to conduct than primary market research, which is first-hand research conducted specifically to your needs, often with the help of a market research agency.

Acumen offers all types of research services to different sizes of organisations. We are trusted and highly skilled at both quantitative and qualitative research and have won industry awards for our work.

If you have a product, service or new business that would benefit from market research and testing, please get in touch with us for our expert advice and a quote.



Secondary research definition and sources

Secondary research is grounded in information that already exists. It’s helpful to understand where to look for the data and facts you need. You should find much of what you are after spread across internal and external sources.

Internal research should include marketing and financial insights. Did enquiries or bookings rise as a result of the last marketing campaign? Was a promotional deal successful in increasing sales figures? You may be able to speak to colleagues who dealt with similar services or products in the past, and get data and figures related to their work.

Acumen can conduct data analysis related to secondary market research, and we are skilled at running workshops to explore uses for data and findings. We offer various additional services including report writing and pre-task management, and can help shape and guide your research project. Contact us to discuss your needs today.


Secondary market research examples

Secondary market research should also include external sources. These can be internet and social media, newspapers and specialist publications, market reports for your sector, as well as government reports. 

A good approach is to gather information from as many sources as possible, then compile and analyse it. This will help you come to a conclusion or a better understanding of the market and the current trends. Again, analysis of data and information is something that Acumen can help you with.


Mixing primary and secondary research

It’s often worth mixing primary and secondary research. Starting out with secondary market research will uncover what information and data is already out there, and yours for free – or at least at a relatively low fixed cost.

If you have limited funds or your project is not a large one, you may decide that this data is enough for you. But if there are gaps in your research, there is a lot at stake if you get things wrong, or you have a research budget, it’s worth considering primary market research as part of your strategy.

For example, if you are entering the health-food market, secondary research will reveal the size of the market in your country and how much money it generates. You may be able to learn quite a lot about how successful your likely competitors are. But if you want to find out how well your product will be received, only primary market research will give you answers.

We can advise you on the types of research that will best suit your product, and can undertake specialist primary research on your behalf. Get in touch with us to get a quote or find out more.


Advantages of secondary market research

Secondary market research will suit organisations with limited budgets. Most small businesses typically rely on secondary research, because it can be obtained faster and more affordably than primary research.

There is a lot of good information out there, both via articles written by experts and specialised market reports. And internal sources are vital as a starting point for any market research. 

However, it’s worth bearing in mind that the information you find from secondary sources may be out of date or even inaccurate. Is the methodology clear and can you be sure it’s untainted by bias? Be aware of who’s sponsored a survey or study before giving it extra weight in your decision making.


Experts in market research services

It’s worth getting your facts right the first time around, and it can save you money in the long run. So even if you’ve ticked your ‘market research’ box with secondary market research, consider carefully whether it’s delivered what you need. Could adding some primary research give you a fuller picture? 

We would be happy to talk over your research needs with you, and give a quote for the right kinds of services for your project, whether that be online surveys, interviews, focus groups, hall tests or mystery shopping.

Take a look at the kinds of research and services we offer, and get in touch if we can help.

Quantitative market research

Qualitative market research