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What is Market Research?

What is market research

Market Research is the systematic process of gathering, analyzing, and interpreting information about a specific market. This includes understanding the target audience, identifying market trends, assessing competitors, and more.

The information collected through market research helps businesses make well-informed decisions, reduce risks, and identify new opportunities.

For a comprehensive guide on initiating and executing successful market research, be sure to explore our detailed post on Conducting Market Research 101.

Why is Market Research Important?

In an increasingly competitive and dynamic business environment, market research has become an essential tool for success. It provides the insights needed to:

  • Understand Consumers: It helps businesses know their customers’ needs, preferences, and behaviors.
  • Identify Opportunities: Market research uncovers gaps in the market that can be filled with innovative products or services.
  • Mitigate Risks: By understanding the external environment, businesses can avoid potential pitfalls.
  • Shape Strategies: It informs decision-making processes, ensuring that strategies are aligned with market realities.

In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the many facets of market research, leveraging decades of industry experience and knowledge. Whether you’re a business owner, a marketing professional, or simply interested in the field, this article will provide you with the expertise you need.

Here’s what we’ll cover:

  1. Market Size: Understanding the total volume of a given market.
  2. Potential Growth: Forecasting market expansion and opportunities.
  3. Market Trends: Analyzing current and future trends affecting the market.
  4. Consumer Analysis: Examining consumer behaviors and preferences.
  5. Competitors Analysis: Assessing your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses.
  6. SWOT Analysis: A strategic tool for evaluating a business’s internal and external environment.
  7. PESTEL Analysis: Investigating macro-environmental factors affecting the market.
  8. Porter’s Five Forces Analysis: Analyzing the competitive forces within your industry.
  9. Additional Analyses: Exploring other relevant tools and frameworks.

From understanding the market size to employing advanced analytical tools like SWOT and PESTEL, this article offers a complete guide to market research. It’s built on years of professional expertise and aims to be a reliable and authoritative source for anyone seeking to navigate the complex world of market research.

Uncover the role of SWOT analysis in decoding the restaurant industry’s intricacies in our article: SWOT Analysis for Restaurant.

Market Size

Market Size refers to the total number of potential buyers or the total volume of sales for a particular product or service within a given market. It’s a critical metric that offers valuable insights into the landscape of an industry and can significantly impact strategic business decisions.

Understanding market size allows businesses to:

  • Identify Potential: Knowing the market size helps in assessing the potential demand and the feasibility of entering a new market or launching a new product.
  • Allocate Resources Efficiently: With accurate market size data, companies can allocate their marketing and production resources more effectively.
  • Benchmark Performance: It enables businesses to compare their sales and performance against the total market potential.

Calculating the market size can be complex, depending on the industry and the information available. Here are some common approaches used by experts:

  1. Top-Down Approach: This method starts with a broad view of the industry and narrows down to a specific segment or product. It often involves using existing research and industry reports.
  2. Bottom-Up Approach: A more granular method, this starts with the smallest part of the market and builds up. It often involves primary research, such as surveys and interviews.
  3. Demand and Supply Analysis: Examining both supply and demand factors within the market to understand the overall size and potential.

Market size isn’t just a number; it’s a vital part of strategic planning:

  • Segmentation and Targeting: Understanding market size helps in segmenting the market and targeting specific customer groups effectively.
  • Investment Decisions: Investors and stakeholders often use market size to gauge the potential returns and risks associated with a market.
  • Competitive Positioning: It helps businesses understand where they stand in comparison to competitors and the overall market.

Potential Growth

Potential Growth refers to the future expansion opportunities within a given market. It’s a forecast that provides insights into the possible growth of a market segment, industry, or economy. Understanding potential growth helps businesses in strategic planning, investment decisions, and resource allocation.

Identifying potential growth requires careful analysis using various methods and tools. Here are some commonly utilized techniques:

  1. Market Segmentation Analysis: Breaking down the market into smaller segments to identify underserved or emerging areas.
  2. Trend Analysis: Studying current market trends and extrapolating them to predict future growth paths.
  3. Competitive Landscape Analysis: Evaluating competitors’ strategies and performance to uncover opportunities for differentiation and growth.
  4. Economic Forecasting: Using economic indicators and models to predict the overall growth potential of a market.

Potential growth isn’t just a projection; it’s a critical component of business strategy:

  • Product Development: Guides the innovation and development of new products to meet future market demands.
  • Investment Planning: Assists in making investment decisions based on expected returns and growth prospects.
  • Marketing Strategy: Helps in shaping marketing campaigns and channels to reach emerging market segments.
  • Risk Management: Aids in understanding potential risks and uncertainties associated with market expansion.

Market Trends

Market Trends refer to the general direction or movement of a market or industry over time. These trends can be upward, downward, or even sideways and are typically influenced by various factors such as economic conditions, consumer behaviors, technological advancements, and more.

Understanding market trends is pivotal for businesses for several reasons:

  • Strategic Alignment: Aligning products, services, and marketing strategies with current trends enhances relevance and competitiveness.
  • Opportunity Identification: Recognizing emerging trends can lead to the discovery of new business opportunities or potential threats.
  • Consumer Engagement: By resonating with current trends, businesses can create a stronger connection with their target audience.

Examples of Market Trends:

  • E-commerce Growth: The ongoing shift towards online shopping, especially amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Sustainability Focus: Increasing consumer interest in environmentally friendly products and sustainable business practices.
  • Personalization in Marketing: The use of data analytics to provide personalized experiences and offerings to consumers.

Utilizing Market Trends for Competitive Advantage

Successfully leveraging market trends can give businesses a significant competitive edge:

  • Product Innovation: Developing new products that align with emerging trends.
  • Marketing Adaptation: Adapting marketing messages and channels to resonate with current market sentiments.
  • Strategic Partnerships: Collaborating with other businesses or influencers that align with trending topics or values.
  • Investment Decisions: Allocating investments into areas that are trending upward, providing better returns.

Market trends are a vital aspect of market research, offering insights that can shape business strategies and drive success in today’s fast-paced and ever-changing business environment.

Consumer Analysis

consumer analysis

Consumer Analysis involves studying the behavior, needs, preferences, and buying patterns of consumers. It’s a crucial part of market research, allowing businesses to tailor their products, services, and marketing strategies to meet the specific needs of their target audience.

Consumer behavior encompasses the decisions and actions that consumers undertake when selecting, purchasing, using, and disposing of products or services. Here’s how businesses explore this aspect:

  • Psychographics: Studying attitudes, interests, lifestyles, and values of consumers.
  • Demographics: Analyzing age, gender, income, and other statistical aspects.
  • Behavioral Patterns: Observing purchase history, brand loyalty, and interaction with products.

Tools and Techniques for Consumer Analysis

  1. Surveys and Interviews: Direct interaction with consumers to gain insights into their preferences and opinions.
  2. Observational Research: Studying consumers in a natural setting to understand their behavior.
  3. Data Analytics: Leveraging big data and analytics tools to process large amounts of consumer information.
  4. Social Media Monitoring: Analyzing social media activity to gauge consumer sentiments and trends.

Implementing Insights into Marketing Strategies

Consumer Analysis isn’t just about gathering data; it’s about translating those insights into actionable strategies:

  • Product Development: Tailoring products to meet the specific wants and needs of the target audience.
  • Personalized Marketing: Using consumer insights to create personalized marketing messages and offers.
  • Distribution Decisions: Choosing the right channels and locations based on where the target consumers are most active.
  • Customer Service Enhancement: Improving customer service by understanding and anticipating consumer needs.

Consumer Analysis is the heartbeat of market research, putting the consumer at the center of business decisions. By understanding who the consumers are, what they want, and how they behave, businesses can create more compelling offerings and build stronger connections with their audience.

Competitor Analysis

Competitor Analysis

Competitor Analysis involves evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of current and potential competitors. This essential aspect of market analysis provides insights into the competitive landscape, allowing businesses to identify opportunities, threats, and strategies to gain a competitive edge.

Understanding the types of market research required for Competitor Analysis involves recognizing the different levels of competitors:

  • Direct Competitors: Businesses that offer similar products or services.
  • Indirect Competitors: Those who provide alternatives that could replace your product or service.
  • New Entrants: Companies that are newly entering the market and could become competitors.

In conducting the research to analyze competitors, businesses often employ both secondary and primary research methods:

  1. Primary Market Research: Involves collecting firsthand information directly from the market through surveys, interviews, and direct observations. This approach offers specific insights into competitors’ customer satisfaction levels, brand perception, and more.
  2. Secondary Market Research: Utilizes existing data and research studies, like competitors’ annual reports, websites, and industry publications. This method is more cost-effective and helps in understanding competitors’ market positioning, financial health, and product offerings.

Importance of Analyzing Competitors

  • Strategic Planning: Understanding competitors’ strategies helps in shaping your own business plans and tactics.
  • Benchmarking: Comparing your business performance against competitors to identify areas for improvement.
  • Risk Mitigation: Identifying potential threats from competitors and developing strategies to counter them.

Research companies often employ Competitor Analysis to provide tailored solutions to their clients. For example, they might analyze competitors’ social media strategies to help a client improve its online presence or evaluate pricing strategies to support a client in positioning its products more competitively.

Competitor Analysis is an indispensable part of what market research is. It equips businesses with the intelligence they need to navigate the competitive landscape effectively. By employing both primary and secondary research methods and leveraging research tools, companies can build robust strategies that resonate with their market positioning and goals.

Looking to delve deeper into understanding your competition? Discover our 6-Step Competitor Analysis Guide that provides actionable insights for staying ahead in your industry.

SWOT Analysis

SWOT Analysis is a strategic tool used to identify and analyze the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats related to business competition or project planning. It’s a crucial part of the market research analysis process, offering a comprehensive view of the internal and external factors that can impact a business.

Components of SWOT Analysis:

  1. Strengths: Internal attributes that give an advantage over competitors.
  2. Weaknesses: Internal limitations that might hinder success.
  3. Opportunities: External factors that the organization could potentially leverage.
  4. Threats: External challenges that could negatively affect the business.

Importance of SWOT Analysis

  • Strategic Planning: SWOT helps in setting objectives and developing strategies to achieve them.
  • Decision Making: It aids in making informed business decisions by understanding the internal capabilities and external market dynamics.

When conducting a market research using SWOT, it’s vital to follow these steps:

  1. Identify Objectives: Define clear goals for the analysis.
  2. Gather Information: Utilize both primary and secondary research to collect relevant data.
  3. Analyze Strengths and Weaknesses: Assess internal factors by evaluating resources, processes, and capabilities.
  4. Identify Opportunities and Threats: Examine external market conditions, regulations, and trends.
  5. Create Strategies: Develop actionable plans based on the insights gathered.

SWOT Analysis is an invaluable component of market research that provides a holistic view of an organization’s position within the marketplace. It guides strategy, informs decision-making, and fosters a deeper understanding of the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

You can also read our 10-Steps for Writing a Powerful SWOT Analysis article.

As we continue to explore the different facets of market research, we’ll delve into other analysis techniques like PESTEL Analysis and Porter’s Five Forces Analysis, which further expand our understanding of the market environment.

PESTEL Analysis

PESTEL Analysis is a strategic tool used to identify and evaluate the macro-environmental factors that might affect an organization. It examines the Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Environmental, and Legal aspects that can influence the market landscape.

PESTEL Analysis helps in understanding the external environment in which a business operates. Here’s why it’s essential:

  • Strategic Alignment: It allows businesses to align their strategies with the external factors that might affect them.
  • Risk Identification: Identifies potential risks and uncertainties in the market, enabling proactive planning.
  • Opportunity Discovery: Unveils potential opportunities that can be leveraged for growth.

Components of PESTEL Analysis

  1. Political Factors: Government policies, regulations, political stability, etc.
  2. Economic Factors: Economic growth, inflation rates, exchange rates, etc.
  3. Social Factors: Cultural aspects, demographics, lifestyle trends, etc.
  4. Technological Factors: Technological advancements, automation, innovation, etc.
  5. Environmental Factors: Environmental regulations, climate change, sustainability concerns, etc.
  6. Legal Factors: Legal frameworks, labor laws, intellectual property rights, etc.

Understanding the broader market trends requires a systematic approach to PESTEL Analysis:

  1. Identify the Scope: Define the industry, region, and time frame for the analysis.
  2. Collect Data: Utilize secondary research methods, like industry reports, government publications, and academic research.
  3. Analyze Factors: Evaluate each PESTEL factor and its potential impact on the business.
  4. Develop Strategies: Craft strategies that capitalize on opportunities and mitigate threats.

Market research companies often incorporate PESTEL Analysis to offer a comprehensive view of the market conditions. This analysis helps in identifying opportunities, understanding risks, and crafting strategies that resonate with the current market environment.

PESTEL Analysis is an indispensable part of market research, providing insights into the macro-environmental factors that shape the market landscape. It complements other analyses like SWOT and Competitor Analysis by adding a broader perspective that informs strategic planning and decision-making.

In our next section, we’ll explore Porter’s Five Forces Analysis, further delving into the analytical frameworks that support market research.

Porter’s Five Forces Analysis

Porter’s Five Forces Analysis is a framework that helps businesses understand the competitive forces that shape an industry and impact profitability. Developed by Michael E. Porter, this analysis focuses on five key forces that determine the intensity of competition and attractiveness of an industry.

  1. Competitive Rivalry (Industry Competition): Analyzes the intensity of competition among existing players in the industry. A high level of rivalry may lead to price wars and reduced profitability.
  2. Bargaining Power of Suppliers: Evaluates the ability of suppliers to influence prices and terms. If suppliers have significant power, they may demand higher prices, impacting business costs.
  3. Bargaining Power of Buyers: Assesses the influence of buyers (customers) on prices and product features. If buyers have substantial bargaining power, they can pressure businesses to reduce prices or enhance quality.
  4. Threat of New Entrants: Examines the ease with which new competitors can enter the market. Barriers to entry, like capital requirements and regulations, affect this threat level.
  5. The threat of Substitute Products or Services: Analyzes the risk posed by alternative products or services that can replace the existing offerings. A high threat of substitutes can reduce demand and profitability.

Conducting a Porter’s Five Forces Analysis requires a systematic approach:

  1. Define the Industry: Identify the specific industry or market segment under examination.
  2. Analyze Each Force: Evaluate the five forces to understand their influence on the industry.
  3. Identify Key Players: Recognize the main competitors, suppliers, buyers, and potential entrants.
  4. Assess Barriers and Opportunities: Determine barriers to entry, potential threats, and opportunities for growth.
  5. Develop Strategies: Formulate strategies that leverage strengths, counter threats, and capitalize on opportunities.

Research companies use Porter’s Five Forces Analysis to provide in-depth insights into an industry’s competitive landscape. It aids in strategic planning, investment decisions, market entry strategies, and more.

Porter’s Five Forces Analysis is a vital component of any market research process, offering a nuanced understanding of the competitive forces that shape an industry. By comprehensively evaluating these forces, businesses can craft robust strategies that align with the market dynamics and foster growth and sustainability.


Market research is a comprehensive and multifaceted discipline that sits at the heart of successful business strategy.

The process of conducting a market research involves both primary and secondary approaches, employing various market research tools to collect, analyze, and interpret data. It helps organizations understand market size, growth potential, emerging trends, competition, and consumer preferences.

Research companies leverage these analyses and tools to offer actionable insights that guide decision-making, strategy formulation, product development, and marketing efforts. Understanding what is market research and how to effectively conduct it is essential for businesses seeking to navigate the complex and ever-changing market environment.

With the right approach to market research, organizations can uncover opportunities, mitigate risks, and craft strategies that resonate with their target audience. It’s not just about gathering information; it’s about translating that information into meaningful actions that drive growth and success.

Whether you’re an established corporation or a burgeoning startup, market research is an indispensable asset that fosters innovation, competitiveness, and sustainability. By embracing the myriad analyses and methodologies encompassed within market research, you set the stage for informed decision-making and strategic excellence.

If you find yourself in need of professional assistance in conducting market research, look no further than our expert team at Globemonitor. With a wealth of experience and specialized tools at our disposal, we provide tailored market research solutions that drive actionable insights and business growth.

Whether you’re looking to understand your target audience, analyze competitors, or explore new market opportunities, we’re here to help you every step of the way. Don’t hesitate to contact us today, and let’s embark on a successful market research journey together.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. What is market research, and why is it important?

Market research is the process of collecting, analyzing, and interpreting data about the market, including customers, competitors, trends, and other factors. It is vital for understanding market needs, identifying opportunities, minimizing risks, and making informed business decisions.

2. What are the 7 steps in marketing research?

The seven steps in marketing research are:

  1. Defining the research problem
  2. Determining the research design
  3. Choosing the research method (primary or secondary)
  4. Collecting data
  5. Analyzing data
  6. Interpreting findings
  7. Reporting and presenting results

3. How is market research done?

Market research is conducted through various methods such as surveys, interviews, observations, and experiments. It includes both primary research, involving direct data collection from target audiences, and secondary research, utilizing existing data sources.

4. What is a good example of market research?

A good example of market research might be a company conducting surveys and focus groups to understand customer preferences for a new product line. The insights gained from this research can guide product development, pricing, and marketing strategies.

5. Who uses market research?

Market research is used by businesses of all sizes, government agencies, non-profit organizations, and educational institutions. It helps in understanding market dynamics, customer needs, competition, and other critical factors to make informed decisions.

6. How do you define market size?

Market size is defined as the total number of potential customers or sales volume within a specific market segment or industry. It can be measured in terms of revenue, units sold, or population, depending on the context.

7. How do you identify market segments?

Market segments are identified by dividing the market into distinct groups based on shared characteristics such as demographics, psychographics, behavior, and needs. Segmentation helps in tailoring marketing strategies to specific target audiences.

8. How to design a marketing strategy?

Designing a marketing strategy involves understanding the target audience, analyzing the competition, defining marketing goals, choosing marketing channels, developing unique selling propositions, and implementing, monitoring, and adjusting the strategy as needed.

9. What are some credible governmental sources that can be utilized for data in market research process?

  1. For national economic statistics and insights, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis provides valuable information that can be instrumental in market research.
  2. Analyzing labor market trends is made easier with data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, a credible governmental source for employment statistics and forecasts.
  3. For businesses looking to explore international markets, the World Bank’s Open Data is an essential resource that offers free and open access to global development data.
  4. The U.S. Census Bureau provides detailed demographic and population data, essential for segmenting and understanding target audiences in market research.
  5. To assess industry regulations and legal considerations, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission offers comprehensive resources and guidelines that can influence market entry and compliance strategies.
  6. For healthcare market researchers, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides crucial data on public health trends and policies, influencing product development and marketing strategies.
  7. Environmental considerations in market research can be informed by data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), especially for businesses focusing on sustainability and ecological impact.

10. How to do market research for a startup?

Conducting market research for a startup means setting clear research objectives, pinpointing the target audience, gathering data via diverse methods such as surveys, interviews, and competitor analysis, and then analyzing this information to derive actionable insights.

For a detailed guide on this process, check out our comprehensive post on how to do market research for a startup in 2023

About the Author: Loaloa Riad

I am Dr. Loaloa Riad, an esteemed business university lecturer and a recognized authority in the world of business strategy and market research. Holding a Master's degree in Organizational Behavior and a Ph.D. in Strategic Management, my academic credentials are a testament to my deep-rooted understanding of the business landscape. As the visionary founder and owner of Globemonitor, I have consistently demonstrated my ability to transform intricate market data into invaluable strategic insights, a skill that has positioned numerous businesses for success in competitive markets.

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