This guide is provided by the British Library's Business Information Service. This is the largest collection of business information in Europe, if not the world. It contains over 10,000 business publications, 53m patents and answers over 25,000 unique enquiries each year.
Information on consumer markets may be found in market research reports and opinion surveys.
Market research reports
Market research reports are the principal source of information on consumer markets and are a useful starting point for any research project. They are a combination of statistical data (from official and unofficial sources), interpretation and analysis. They will include some, or all, of the following information:
Definition and size of the market
Market segmentation and market share
Current issues affecting the market
Profiles of key players
Profiles of consumer groups
Datamonitor: produces reports on the following consumer market sectors: food and drink, personal care, financial services and healthcare. Many provide international coverage. Datamonitor's website offers free access to press releases that provide useful summaries.
Euromonitor: produces over 400 titles each year covering sectors such as alcoholic drinks, clothing, consumer lifestyles, domestic electrical appliances, healthcare, leisure, travel and tourism. Many of their reports look at international markets. Euromonitor's website offers free access to press releases that provide useful summaries.
Key Note: produces over 300 titles covering a wide range of market sectors, including clothing and personal goods, drinks and tobacco, food and catering, financial services, healthcare, household goods, leisure, lifestyle, retailing, and travel and tourism. The reports provide a general overview of the UK market with a useful list of other information sources such as trade associations. They are updated every 12-18 months. Key Note's website provides free executive summaries.
Market Assessment: Part of the same publishing group as Key Note, Market Assessment produces over 50 in-depth reports on key UK markets, including clothing, financial services, food and drink, home improvements, lifestyles and tourism. They are updated every 12-18 months. Market Assessment's website provides free executive summaries.
Mintel: publishes over 200 reports each year on consumer markets in the UK. There are five report series:
Market Intelligence reports cover food and drink, and other fast-moving consumer goods
Leisure Intelligence reports cover catering, leisure pursuits and travel
Retail Intelligence reports cover specific consumer markets from a retail perspective
Finance Intelligence reports cover issues affecting the provision of financial services as well as specific financial products
Special Reports cover various topics such as lifestyles and home shopping
Other series cover selected consumer markets in Ireland, France, Germany, Italy and Spain. Mintel's website provides free access to the introductions of reports if you register. These provide definitions of the market and explain the foci of a report.
Corporate Intelligence Group: comprises three businesses, two of which publish market research reports:
Retail Intelligence – analyses retail markets in the UK and Europe. The reports provide comparisons across countries and markets. Retail sectors covered include clothing, electrical goods and grocery. The Retail Intelligence website offers free access to 'key findings' and press releases that provide useful summaries
Travel & Tourism Intelligence – covers the international travel and tourism market. Market segments include airlines, hotels, and travel agents. The Travel & Tourism Intelligence website offers free access to 'industry trends' and press releases that provide useful summaries
Jupiter Media Metrics: analyses internet commerce. Their research studies focus on the major players, technologies and trends in internet services. Consumer topics include healthcare and online shopping. Jupiter's website provides free access to press releases that provide useful summaries. Verdict: produces four sets of reports each looking at various aspects of retailing in the UK from the retail perspective:
Sector reports – These look at the market dynamics, products and leading players in sectors such as books, clothing, footwear, furniture, and music and video
Location reports – These look at different retail locations such as the High Street, out-of-town and home shopping
Consumer reports – These look at how, why and where British consumers shop. Sectors covered include clothing, DIY, electrical goods, personal care, gifts and housewares
Forecast reports – These provide forecasts of trading activities across major retail sectors such as food and groceries, clothing and footwear, furniture and floor coverings
A further set of reports looks at strategic issues affecting retailing in the UK and Europe. For more details visit Verdict's website.
Opinion surveys are a source of statistical data, and provide useful insights into consumer attitudes and lifestyles. Two of the largest research agencies that publish information are:
MORI (Market & Opinion Research International): provides free summaries of papers on social trends on its website under 'published information'. Topics covered include national identity, culture, media and leisure.
NOP Research Group: provides free summaries of survey results on its website. Three areas are of potential interest to those researching consumer markets – public opinion surveys, financial surveys and internet surveys.