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Skip to 0 minutes and 14 seconds Secondary research is using information that already exists. It’s been collected at a previous point in time by some other person for a different purpose. But it has a lot of benefits to us as an online entrepreneur. Firstly, it’s easy to access. Secondly, it’s normally free. And third, it has a lot of relevance to the information that we’re trying to find out. There are a number of different sources of secondary data research that you can use. For example, you could use government census data that’s available online or any other government reports that you can access. Industry associations have great resources on their websites and reports about the markets and the customers that they would sell to.

Skip to 0 minutes and 55 seconds You can also get a lot of other information freely online just by conducting a search on what you’re interested in.

Secondary Research

Secondary market research involves using information that has already been gathered, usually by government agencies, industries or trade associations.

These facts and figures and broad data about your industry may be useful to build a profile of your market. For example it can help answer questions like these:

  • “How much did customers spend on products like mine last year?”
  • “How many 18-25 year old males live in my target location?”
  • “What was the value of imports of my type of product last year?”

The benefit of secondary market research is that it’s often easy to find and can be accessed for free or at very little cost. The downside is that it’s not customised to your needs, so it won’t help you ‘get inside your customer’s head’ in the same way that primary research can. For example, secondary data will tell you how many tourists visited your town last year, but not why they chose a particular hotel or how much they were prepared to spend per night.

Secondary data is usually the first place marketers look when they have a research question to answer. Depending on what you want to know, data sources include:

  • Government agencies and departments
  • Industry associations
  • Conferences and seminars
  • Libraries
  • Business magazines
  • Newspapers
  • Year books
  • Directories
  • Trade journals
  • Professional associations and research organisations

Secondary research can complement your primary research in identifying who you should target when profiling customers and consumers.


Using the Primary and Secondary Sources of Market Research template in the Downloads section, identify the information you need to research and what methods you intend to use.

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This video is from the free online course:

Online Business: Customer Profiling for Success

RMIT University