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Study Notes

Secondary Market Research

AS, A-Level
AQA, Edexcel, OCR, IB

Last updated 22 Mar 2021

Secondary market research uses data that already exists and has been collected by someone else for another purpose.

Sources of secondary data can come from within the firm itself – this is known as internal secondary data. External secondary data, on the other hand, is data that has been published by other organisations

What are internal sources of secondary data?

Every department within an organisation will have its own records that represent a potential source of valuable data. For instance, records of past advertising campaigns within the marketing department can be compared with copies of invoices held in the sales department in order to judge their effectiveness and get ideas for future campaigns. Past sales figures can also be used to spot trends and forecast future figures.

The increasing availability and use of loyalty cards and big data has given businesses the chance to gather a wide range of valuable information on customer buying habits, allowing them to target promotional campaigns more effectively.

Internal sources of data should always be considered as a first line of enquiry for any investigation because they are usually the quickest, cheapest and most convenient source of information available. Internal data will also be exclusive to the organisation that generated it, so that rival firms will not have access to it.

However, internal data may be incomplete or out of date, and, if a project is new, there may be no relevant data at all. In such cases, an organisation may need to consider using external sources of secondary data.

What are external sources of secondary data?

There are several sources of existing data available from outside of the business that may be of value. These include:

  • Commercial market research organisations – including MINTEL, Keynote and Euromonitor
  • The Government – the much wider availability of open data from the government has significantly increased the availability of such data
  • Competitors – company reports and websites are easily accessible and contain a limited amount of information
  • Trade Publication
  • The general media

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