Conducting Marketing Research


Finding information about a consumer is one of the most difficult aspects of marketing research. The best resources are professional market research reports that companies contract when doing any analysis. These reports can be quite pricey. Alternatives include contacting trade associations as well as statistics resources.

gold triangePopulation Demographics

gold triangeConsumer Spending and Purchasing Power

gold triangeConsumer Lifestyles and Attitudes

gold triangeCensus/Business

gold triangeTrends

gold triangeDatabase Search Terms

gold triangeCatalog Search Terms

Population Demographics

On the U.S. Census site:

  •  Census 2010
  • Used as a distribution source for Internet materials from the Census Bureau, this homepage contains population, business, and economic data in a variety of formats.
  • American Community Survey (ACS)
    Replacing the Census Long Form, this survey samples the American population on an ongoing , rotating basis. Data from the ACS is available via Factfinder.
  • American Factfinder
    American FactFinder provides access to data about the United States, Puerto Rico and the Island Areas. The data in American FactFinder come from several censuses and surveys.

  • Locallabs
    Use the search box to look up and study any zip code, city, county, and state in the United States. You'll find hundreds of recent data points for any location covered in this database. Examples of data include income breakdown by race or age.

  • Population and Household Economic Topics
    This site offers links to statistics on topics such as population projections, children, computer ownership and use, disability, grandparents, health insurance, language use, school costs, working at home, and numerous other population characteristics.
  • County and City Databook
    The most comprehensive source of information about the individual counties and cities in the United States. Files contain a collection of data from the U.S. Census Bureau and other federal statistical bureaus, governmental administrative and regulatory agencies, and private research bodies.
  • State and Metropolitan Area Databook 2006
    Features more than 1,500 data items for the United States and individual states, counties and metropolitan areas from a variety of sources. Files contain a collection of data from the U.S. Census Bureau and other federal statistical bureaus, governmental administrative and regulatory agencies, private research bodies, trade associations, insurance companies, health associations, educational associations, and philanthropic foundations
  • U.S. Counties in Profile
    Allows you to compare U.S. counties, or to retrieve data on population, housing, income, labor, employment, wages, or earnings by individual counties or states. It also has a "Peer Finder" function that allows you to find counties similar population or per capita income to the county you have chosen. Data is available for all 50 states and their counties. Web site created by Stats Indiana.

Consumer Spending and Purchasing Power

Free web sitesBuying Power of Black America
This annual report provides a detailed look at African-American earning, including explanations of the varied definitions and types of income and city-by-city data on black income.

Free web sitesConsumer Expenditure Survey
The Consumer Expenditure Survey (CE)program consists of two surveys, the quarterly Interview Survey and the Diary Survey, that provide information on the buying habits of American consumers, including data on their expenditures, income, and consumer unit (families and single consumers) characteristics. The survey data are collected for the Bureau of Labor Statistics by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Free web sites ETI Drill Down Tool Kits
Find purchasing power statistics by Census Tract at this site by the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Employment and Training Institute. Dates are not current, but good structure to follow when trying to replicate this kind of information.

Consumer Lifestyles and Attitudes

Free web sitesCLR
Provides detailed demographic and economic information, population figures, and other statistical data on regions by ZIP code around the U.S. Covers virtually all zip codes, and quickly returns a great number of details, all neatly organized. For example, a ZIP code search retrieves data on population, crime, weather, race, income, households, education, occupations, assets, debt, and more. The data is also displayed so you can compare your selected region to benchmark data for state and country as a whole, which helps make sense of the raw data.

Free web sitesAmerican Time Use Survey
The American Time Use Survey (ATUS) features the amount of time people spend doing various activities, such as paid work, childcare, volunteering, commuting, and socializing. Estimates show the kinds of activities people do and the time spent doing them by sex, age, educational attainment, labor force status, and other characteristics, as well as by weekday and weekend day. Produced by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Free web sitesCurrent Population Survey
The Current Population Survey (CPS) is a monthly survey of about 50,000 households conducted by the Bureau of the Census for the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The CPS is the primary source of information on the labor force characteristics of the U.S. population. Published data focus on those household members ages 16 and over. The sample provides estimates for the nation, states and other geographic areas. Estimates include employment, unemployment, earnings, hours of work, and other indicators. These are cross-referenced with demographic characteristics like age, sex, race, marital status, educational attainment, occupation, industry, and class of worker. Supplemental questions on topics including school enrollment, income, previous work experience, health, employee benefits, and work schedules are sometimes also included.

Free web sitesMarketing Charts
MarketingCharts and its partners keep tabs on a broad set of metrics in the marketing, advertising and publishing world - from the top 10 online retailers to ad spending by medium. This site features charts, with source data available in Excel format as well. Most datasets are updated at least once a month.

Free web sitesRadio Advertising Bureau Research Publications
The Radio Advertising Bureau collects all manner of information on the radio industry. Access in-depth reports like the "Marketing Guide and Fact Book" or "Media Facts" from this site.

Free web sitesStateMaster
Ranks and compares US states in an almost limitless variety of categories. The keyword-searchable site features data organized by subject; individual state profiles with accompanying facts and figures, including economic, industry, and labor stats; flags and maps; a discussion forum; and regularly updated features like "Stats in the News" and "Top Stats."

Free web sites Tapestry Segmentation
Esri divides U.S. residential areas into 65 distinctive segments based on socioeconomic and demographic characteristics to provide an accurate,  detailed description of U.S. neighborhoods.

Esri’s Tapestry Segmentation divides US residential areas into 65 distinctive
segments based on socioeconomic and demographic characteristics to

Free web sitesYou Are Where You Live
Enter a 5-digit ZIP Code to find the top lifestyle groups for that neighborhood. Clusters describe segments of the population by predominant demographic and lifestyle features.

TIP: From the main page, click the Zip Code Look-Up tab at the top of page.



On the U.S. Census site:


Free web sitesCounty Business Patterns
County Business Patterns is an annual series that provides county-level economic data by industry. Businesses use the data for analyzing market potential, measuring the effectiveness of sales and advertising programs, setting sales quotas, and analyzing competition. Among items available are total establishments, employment, annual payroll, first quarter payroll, and number of establishments by employment size.

Free web sitesDismal Scientist
This is a subscription service produced by international experts at Moody's Providing a multitude of information, they offer a free 14-day trial. Sign up right before you plan to work on an assignment. Search by zip code to retrieve labor, demographic, income, and real estate statistical profiles.

Free web sites Industry Snapshots
Provides the results of the last two U.S. Economic Censuses (2002 and 2007) in simple-to-read graphs and tables. Data collected includes total receipts, payroll, total employment, and number of establishments, categorized by two- and three-digit NAICS (North American Industry Classification System) industry codes. Contains mountains of business, financial, and industry- related information available from the Bureau of the Census. This site is particularly appealing because it contains very current data, including results from the newest 2007 Economic Census; it’s also so simple to use and to view results.

Free web sitesSite Selection
This is "the magazine of corporate real estate strategy and area economic development." It features demographics, articles, and case studies on site selection & development. Free registration is required for access to some resources.

Free web
This site provides market analysis reports of industries and companies by metro area and state.



Advertising Age
Monthly magazine that provides analysis of trends, issues and events that shape consumer markets. Merged with American Demographics in 2004. Available in full text from:
Business Source Premier
Lexis/Nexis Academic
AB/Inform Complete

Free web sitesCensus Scope
CensusScope is an easy-to-use tool for investigating U.S. demographic trends, brought to you by the Social Science Data Analysis Network (SSDAN) at the University of Michigan. Includes eye-catching graphics and exportable trend data.

Free web sitesDemo Memo
This blog is great for the trendwatcher or anyone who wants to learn about the latest demographic trends and data. The author is the editorial director of New Strategist Publications, and the former editor-in-chief of American Demographics magazine and The Boomer Report.

BookSeasons of Business: The Marketer's Guide to Consumer Behavior
In this entertaining and useful guide to seasonal marketing, Waldrop (research editor, American demographics magazine) examines, for every month, the primary marketing events, participation in sports and leisure activities, health-care issues, and personal attitudes. She explains which demographic groups are the principal players and which consumer concerns are most pressing.


top ten global consumer trends for 2015 White paper on consumer behavior and buying habits produced by Euromonitor International.



Database Search Terms

Try using some of these search terms in the Business Databases:

Brand Loyalty

Brand Preferences

Consumer Attitudes

Consumer Behavior

Consumer Spending


Customer Feedback

Customer Satisfaction


Elasticity of Demand

Market Segmentation

Market Segments

Niche Marketing

Product acceptance

Product choice

Propensity to consume

Purchasing Power

Social Conditions and Trends

Target Markets

Conduct the search as follows:

Start with the company or industry or product or brand

Then, combine with any of the search terms in the previous chart:

  • Pepsi AND (consumer attitudes OR consumer behavior)

  • (Athletic footwear OR Athletic Shoes OR Sneakers) AND (product choice OR product acceptance)

affluent market

African American market

Asian American market

Baby Boom market


Ethnic market

Gay & Lesbian market

Generation X market

Generation Y

Green market

Hispanic market

Mature market

Men's market

Minority market

Women's market

Youth market

Click on the "AND" box

Catalog Search Terms

Try any of the following subject headings in your search of the Baker University Library Catalog:


Consumer Behavior - United States

Consumer Preferences

Consumers - Attitudes

Consumers - United States - Statistics

Demographic Surveys

Market Surveys - United States - Statistics

Public Opinion - United States

Social Surveys