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7 Types of Consumer Research

Consumer research is a systematic investigation into consumer behavior, needs and perceptions. The following are common types of consumer research.

Secondary Research

Secondary research is an analysis of existing knowledge in an area from previous studies. This is usually a starting point for primary research that develops unique knowledge.


Interviewing consumers using techniques such as ladder interviews or focus groups.


Surveys can be used to measure consumer opinions but this doesn't always map to consumer behavior or needs.

Natural Experiment

A natural experiment is a situation that is beyond the control of researchers that resembles an experiment. For example, a shortage of a good that causes a price increase as a natural experiment for consumer price sensitivity and behavior in seeking substitutes for a particular good.

Exploratory Research

Research that creates questions as opposed to answers. For example, consumer interviews that use consumer ideas to propose theories that are untested. This may have value as a direction for future research.

Constructive Research

Constructive research designs a solution to a problem and tests it. For example, an experiment that commits to customers that data used to improve advertising is deleted within 7 days to test how this impacts perceptions of privacy.

Field Experiments

Observing consumer behavior using a controlled or partially controlled experiment in the field. For example, testing consumer reactions to an unfriendly security message in a retail environment that warns customers they are being monitored. This may be measured in terms of customer surveys conducted on exit with similar stores being used as controls.


The term consumer research is used for general research that is broadly applicable to economics, design and marketing. The term customer research is used for more specific evaluations in support of an industry, company, brand or marketing initiative. Another difference between these two terms is that customer research may look at business customers as opposed to consumers.
Overview: Consumer Research
A systematic investigation and evaluation of consumer behavior.
Related Concepts

Consumer Behavior

This is the complete list of articles we have written about consumer behavior.
Adverse Selection
Attention Economics
Buying Behavior
Conservation Of Effort
Conspicuous Conservation
Conspicuous Consumption
Consumer Attitudes
Consumer Culture
Consumer Economics
Consumer Education
Consumer Research
Consumer Society
Curiosity Drive
Customer Motivation
Customer Needs
Customer Perceptions
Customer Persona
Customer Preferences
Fear Of Missing Out
Impulse Buying
Marketing Analysis
Middle Class
Peak Experiences
Perceived Risk
Price Sensitivity
Problem Recognition
Product Involvement
Snob Effect
Status Seeking
User Intent
Willingness To Pay
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Market Research

A systematic investigation of market conditions including customers and the competition.

Market Share Analysis

A guide to market share analysis with examples.

Target Customers

The definition of target customers with examples.


The common types of research.

Observational Study

The definition of observational study with examples.

Customer Research

An overview of customer research with examples.

Competitive Factors

A list of common competitive factors.

Culture Factors

A list of common culture factors.

Market Factors

A list of common market factors.

Consumer Behavior

A list of consumer behaviors.

Consumer Culture

The definition of consumer culture with examples.

Status Seeking

The definition of status seeking with examples.

Customer Behavior

The definition of customer behavior with examples.

Consumer Discretionary

The definition of consumer discretionary with examples.


The definition of consumerism with examples.


The definition of materialism with examples.

Consumer Society

The definition of consumer society with examples.


The definition of prosumer with examples.
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