8 Free Market Research Sources
To Help You Stay Competitive

Sources of free market research can be easily found on the Internet today. Choose carefully and you'll be rewarded with useful information. Scope out your competition, get market info for a business case, stay up to date on trends and on top of what’s going on in your industry.

Below, are some of my favorite sites. These are wonderful sources of primary and secondary research as well as news that you should use on a regular basis.

We all know the importance of market research. But, how often do you take the time to actually do research? Most of us wait until we’re ready to offer a new product or service before diving in. Or when a competitor smacks between the eyes with an unexpected announcement.

Instead, make it a regular habit of checking out what others in your industry are doing and saying. Reading the views of others that have their finger on the pulse of your market segment can be invaluable. These include competitors, investors, reporters, as well as research analysts.

And the best part is that there are great free online market research resources available. From getting inside your customer’s minds and getting new ideas, to validating a new marketing strategy, free market research is the way to go.

Try These Free Market Research Reports

There are many ways to ‘listen’ to industry insiders without paying thousands of dollars for research services and reports. In fact, there’s such an amazing amount of valuable free market research and information out there, that the smallest business will be empowered.

The variety of useful resources is wide ranging - industry and business newsletters, summaries of expensive reports, directories, secondary research highlights, and free market research reports from the government.

These are the free online market research tools I use most often:

  • What's the first thing you try? Google of course. Here's an overlooked twist, called Google Alerts, that you can use to track topics of interest, snippets of valuable information from newly published reports in news releases, as well as competitors. Use the filters to get the best results;
  • The eMarketer is great resource for research and trend analysis on digital marketing and media. I have a subscription to The eMarketer Daily Newsletter which is free and very handy. eMarketer aggregates and analyzes information from thousands of sources – their paid service allows search of their comprehensive database of e-business and online marketing statistics;
  • SmartBrief publishes summaries of the day's most important headlines in over 100 industry newsletters. The industry briefings are handpicked from hundreds of media publications, trade associations, and professional societies. Subscriptions are free. There are simply too many of their briefings to list, but aside from your industry, check out one of my favorites, the SmartBrief on Entrepreneurs newsletter. Others include SmartBrief on ExecTech, SmartBrief on Leadership, SmartBrief on Social Media, CEA SmartBrief (Consumer Electronics Association), and CTAM SmartBrief (Cable & Telecommunications Association. Check out the complete list and signup here.
  • Forrester Research is a major player in proprietary market research for the IT and technology industry – and their prices reflect it. However, I have a free Forrester subscription that gives me access to select research reports and newsletters featuring their analyst insights. Great stuff!
  • The U.S. government collects a wealth of data about businesses and industries, as well as business and consumer demographics. The main Census Bureau website is a good place to start. Related sites include State & County QuickFacts, The Statistical Abstract, and the Statistics of U.S. Businesses. Another government site that gathers data across over 100 agencies as well as industry sources is FedStats

The importance of market research is obvious. Stay on top of your game with these sites - there’s no excuse!

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