Secondary research is the easiest and the cheapest way to collect information that already exists. For example, valuable information can obtained from a study, articles, statistical data that was already gathered by somebody else. If the car producer is considering introducing the new model to market, the demographic data about the car owners in the particular region can be enough. The most widespread secondary research activities include review of existing data available from magazines, books, and other publications, evaluation of competitors, social, economic and political factors can be taken into account as well. There is no specific method to collect secondary information because it already exists. The major effort is dedicated to location and gathering of the information about the market from reliable sources.
The secondary information can be gathered from the following resources (Birn, 2002, p. ...
Even though someone still has to invest time to do the screening of the existing data, the total time is still less. The money is saved because of five reasons (Patzer, 1995, p. 4-5):
Multiple buyers (associated costs are shared among all users)
Government subsidies (taxes from revenue sources underwrite the generating of government sponsored information)
Association dues (membership dues underwrite trade association information)
Market sources (provides of information compete with each other to provide the best price)
The cost is lower due to experience factors and economies of scale associated with performing larger quantities of research.
However, there are three disadvantages as well: recency, relevance and accuracy. When introducing the new product it is desired to have recent, relevant and accurate information while with the secondary research it is hard to reach this objective. Individuals who gather secondary information lack control over the data. For example, when Guinness Brewing Company was considering entering the new market (Hong Kong) the major information was collected through secondary research - they benefited because all necessary information was easy to locate, but they confronted the detriments of using secondary data because it appeared that most of the collected information was not accurate (Patzer, 1995, p. 32). The company was looking for the answers to the following questions: how much beer is consumed in total, what brand is preferred, what are the market shares of different brands and so on.
It happens that the information the company is looking for is not present anywhere - Internet, library,