Benefits of market research

Market research is a valuable tool to help you understand your:

  • industry and market
  • customers and their needs
  • competitors and what they are doing
  • market trends and economic changes.

This understanding can help you to better focus your marketing efforts, make informed decisions about your business and make the most of opportunities. It’s important to make sure market research is part of your ongoing business plan and daily operations.

When to research your market

It's important to regularly assess:

  • who your competitors are and their strengths and weaknesses
  • who your customers are and what they want
  • whether there are any gaps in the market.

This can be crucial during all stages of your business and can help:

  • identify your customers
  • select an appropriate business location
  • identify new opportunities and markets
  • identify problem areas in your business
  • increase profit and growth.

Look for information in market reports, government statistics, trade publications and industry association publications. These can be useful for finding new developments and possibilities — both in your industry and in the commercial environment.

Types of market research

Primary market research

This involves gathering information first-hand through surveys, interviews, and talking to customers and other businesses.

Your research can be formal or informal and can help you discover:

  • what your customers' needs are
  • how your business can improve
  • what you are good at
  • what other businesses are doing.

Primary market research uses qualitative and/or quantitative research methods. Examples include:

  • telephone, mail or email surveys
  • informal face-to-face or written customer feedback
  • interviews
  • questionnaires
  • focus groups.

Looking at your business data can be a cost-effective way to quickly and easily understand your customers. For example you could look at customer complaints or sales data.

Secondary market research

Secondary research uses information and data that has already been collected and analysed by others. You can research your market using information such as government statistics and trade publications.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) – Australia's official statistical agency and provides a wide range of economic and social statistics.

ABS Small Business Portal

The ABS Small Business Portal can help you to find the information you need to research your market, understand your customers and plan a business case. It provides:

  • links to ABS publications containing data specifically on small business
  • links to non-ABS data that can help with business planning
  • training, consultancy services and other useful information.

The ABS also provides:

Open government data is another source of free data that you can use for your market research on a range of topics.

There are also a number of other government sources of statistics for use in your research.

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Read next

Learn how to do market research.

Find out how to write your marketing plan and develop a marketing strategy based on your research.

Read our industry information to find out more about your industry.