Primary and secondary market research

Market research is a critical component of any successful business strategy, and it can be broadly categorized into two main types: primary and secondary research. The difference revolves around the sources and methods of data collection.

Primary market research

Primary research is the process of collecting firsthand data directly from individuals or groups for the purpose of studying any aspect of your market, target audience or business opportunity. This type of research involves gathering data that is not already available from existing sources. It is conducted to obtain new insights, opinions, behaviours and preferences of your named population. The advantage of primary research is that it offers tailored data collection that directly addresses the specific research question you might have, and might therefore be more accurate for your study.

Secondary market research

Secondary research on the other hand, refers to the process of collecting and analysing existing data and information that has already been published, compiled or recorded by another source. It can be used to gather insights, trends, and information without directly conducting new data collection activities. Secondary research is particularly useful for gaining a broader overview of your market, bench-marking against competitors, and to validate findings from primary research. It is cost-efficient, because you are leveraging existing data instead of conducting new experiments. There are however limitations, which includes outdated or incomplete information, and a lack of customization for specific research objectives.

Should you use primary or secondary research?

Both primary and secondary research have their advantages, but they are often best used when paired together. Secondary research is sometimes preferred because there is a misunderstanding of the feasibility of primary research. However, at Norstat we are experts at collecting the right data tailored to your needs.

We are happy to help you conduct the primary research for your objective, and you may combine that data with the secondary data of your choosing (e.g. internal sources or public sources).

Interested in learning more?

Conducting thorough market research is essential for comprehending all aspects of the market your business operates in. In an era where consumers seek recognition and the fulfillment of their needs, market research becomes an invaluable asset. Learn more about market research below.

A guide to market research

Market research is the cornerstone of informed decision-making for businesses. Explore what market research is, and how to do it effectively.

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Qualitative and quantitative research

Learn about the differences between quantitative and qualitative research, and the advantage of combining different types

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Get an overview of the different methods we are using for our data collection

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