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The terms market research and consumer research are used almost interchangeably. While this may be right to some extent, there is a difference between the term definitions and practice.

Market Research

Britannica defines market research as the study of the requirements of various markets, the acceptability of products, and methods of developing or exploiting new markets. Market research investigates and analyzes a target market. Researchers use market research to collect consumer data within a marketplace. It deals with the collection, analysis, and use of market data and market statistics.

Market research allows a company to discover the target market and get opinions and other feedback from consumers about their interest in a product or service.

Researchers use market research to gauge the marketplace’s wants, needs, attitudes, purchase behaviors, and other characteristics. It helps them understand and compare their products and services with their competitors’, industry standards, and thoughts about newly launched products and services. It is also used to explore fresh markets and understand consumers’ needs in the marketplace – both existing and new.

Consumer Research

Consumer research is actually a part of market research. It answers the ‘why’ – identifying the motivation and purchase behavior of targeted customers. Consumer research helps companies and brands understand customer psychology, create detailed purchasing behavior profiles, and provide systematic information about customer needs.

Another way to look at it is that consumer insights extend and enumerate the information gathered during market research to make relevant, specific, and actionable conclusions and predict audience reactions to a company’s brand, product, or service.

Using consumer research information, brands can make changes in their products and services, making them more customer-centric, thereby increasing customer satisfaction.

How They Compare

Market Research is an all-purpose term referring to the practice of collecting and analyzing data to answer discrete business questions, while consumer research is the practice of studying consumer behaviour to derive broader business insights for effective business decision-making.

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Tony Oduor, GeoPoll’s Research Manager, summarizes it as thus: market research studies the entire market or a broad segment of the market while consumer research narrows down to a specific brand or product. For example, for a beverage company, market research will show the size of the soft beverage market and the gaps that need to be filled, and consumer insights will point out the most preferred beverage flavor.

Used together, market research and consumer research help brands understand where their business currently stands in the market, as well as what actions they can take to improve their position among consumers.


Conduct Market and Consumer Research with GeoPoll

GeoPoll conducts research for global fast-moving consumer goods brands, media houses, consulting firms, financial institutions, and technology companies. Our team includes researchers experienced in creating innovative solutions for tracking essential metrics such as brand health, testing new concepts, measuring advertisement effectiveness, and more. See our market research solutions and contact our team if you have questions regarding our capabilities.