The Definitive Guide to Secondary Market Research Sources

Starting your search for research and data to support your business plan, product research, customer segmentation or data for your next presentation to investors,

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Building Customer-Focused Products: An Insider’s Guide to Market Research, is a series compiled by product owners with decades of experience in creating and launching successful subscription products.  The series is full of specific tips, checklists, examples and tools as well as best practices and foundational knowledge that will help you select the suppliers that are the right fit for your business.

While the full series is written with the beginner in mind, this particular article is for any-level of market researcher.

The Definitive Guide to Secondary Market Research Sources

Starting your search for research and data to support your business plan, product research, customer segmentation or data for your next presentation to investors, employees or conference?

Beyond any primary research you will be doing, you will need access to third party data for segmentation, validation and an understanding of your market.

Check out literally hundreds of data sets for your research. Our definitive list includes business, consumer and government data. Use it for marketing, competitive research, market data and more. It includes easy-to-use data and not so easy-to-use data accessible via APIs.  Much of it is free, but not all.

  1. ALEXA:  With Alexa, you can find basic free competitive and search-related information on any website (if you scroll to the bottom of the homepage to find the search box.)
  2. APP ANNIE: App Annie provides quite a lot of free market data including app rankings, app market data and more. While there is a lot of free information, they do a great job of trying to update visitors of their free resources to their premium products.  If you need that data ongoing, it’s probably worth it.
  3. ARCGIC OPEN DATA: Check out ArcGIC if you’re looking for data pertaining to schools, park services, local businesses, and streets, check out this collection of datasets from municipal governments throughout the U.S. If you’re looking to find an optimal location for a brick-and-mortar storefront or learn about a particular metropolitan area, this resource will help you find what you need.
  4. AWS Public Data:  Amazon Web Services hosts a number of public datasets that anyone can access for free. This is a huge resource of public data, including the 1000 Genome Project, an attempt to build the most comprehensive database of human genetic information and NASA ‘s database of satellite imagery of Earth. Other examples of popular public data sets include NASA NEX and web crawl data.  If you’re using any of these datasets, make sure to check each individual source’s terms and conditions.
  5. CRUNCHBASE: Crunchbase is a database of “innovation” companies with lists and profiles of companies, executives, funding and other information.
  6. CIA WORLD FACTBOOK  The CIA World Factbook offers information on history, population, economy, government, infrastructure and military of 267 countries
  7. DATAHUB:  Powered by the Open Knowledge Foundation, DATAHUB is well … a hub … for data sources from all over the world. From open archaeology to medicine usage data, you’ll be able to find a random collection of information. Keep in mind, however, that the site is challenging to browse and that many of the dataset descriptions are obscure. Limit your search to a very specific set of information.
  8. DUN & BRADSTREET: D&B is a paid source for additional business data, including business linkage, to quickly gather more information about your B2B markets. They also own Hoovers and Netprospex, we suggest you research these products as well.  You will be able to find basic information on companies prior to buying a service.
  9. EMARKETER: Emarketer is a a data and research hub for everything digital related with nearly 40,000 articles.
  10. EUROPEAN UNION OPEN DATA PORTAL: The European Union Open Data Portal has data from European Union institutions.
  11. FACTUAL (Location-based Data): With data from more than 65 million places worldwide, Factual “enriches mobile location signals.” Basically, what you get is a really, really big data set that provides information about places. You can use this data to supplement your product development, research, or ad campaigns. While Factual’s data is a paid product, potential users can request a free API key. You can use this data to do research on locations that might be related to your business.
  12. GITHUB: You can use this GITHUB data to learn what type of content is popular in the worldwide startup community. Current data goes through Q1 2015. Entrepreneurs can use this resource to determine PR opportunities and to analyze types of content that have been popular.
  13. GOOGLE: Think with Google: If you need some benchmarks for a presentation or are looking to analyze trends in the ad industry, check out this compilation of research articles and tools from Google. This information can help you figure out how consumers are behaving online and where to spend your branding dollars.  It’s a great resource and one that could provide key information for any recurring revenue business. You can even use Google’s tools to create your own infographics for a presentation. The articles are rich with information and you should explore the many topics.  The research tools include:
  14. GOOGLE: Finance: Leverage Google Finance to understand 40 years’ worth of stock market data, updated in real time.
  15. GOOGLE: Google Public Data Explorer: If you’re looking for data related to worldwide population trends, start your search with Google’s Public Data Explorer. You can browse through world development indicators and economic data from sources like Eurostat, Destatis, the Central Statistics Office of Ireland, and The World Bank. This resource is helpful for anyone seeking country-level data.
  16. HEALTHCARE.GOV: contains 125 years of US healthcare data including claim-level Medicare data, epidemiology and population statistics.
  17. HIGHBEAM RESEARCH: Explore 30 years of magazines, newspapers and press releases with HighBeam Researcha database of over 4000 titles.  Search and search results are free, but you will need a subscription for full access.
  18. HUBSPOT: Want to see how website traffic varies by industry, or how effective advertising is in different regions around the world? HubSpot Research has got you covered. In addition to checking out their free research reports, you can use HubSpot Research’s  presentation-builder tool to easily compile stats and charts into a customized slide deck.
  19. ICPSR: The Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR)houses political and social research data from more than 760 universities, government agencies, and other institutions. There are more than 8,000 research studies in the database-but make sure to double check the licensing terms to make sure that the datasets are available for commercial use. To access ICPSR’s data, you’ll need to be a member of one of the participating institutions. Contact your college’s alumni office to confirm whether you’re eligible.
  20. INTERNET ARCHIVE: Need to understand what a website looked like in the past? Need to find information on a competitor or product?  How about validating a potential employee’s story that they were an executive at a company?  There are lots and lots of uses for the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine.
  21. LENDING CLUB: Loan marketplace LendingClub maintains a collection of public datasets. You can browse through declined loan applications and in-progress loan applications to learn what types of loans people are requesting and why. This data could be helpful for general industry research or even content marketing.
  22. MARKET RESEARCH.COM: is a portal with in-depth how-do guides, white papers and other materials, much of it paid.
  23. MONETATE: Monetate is a testing and personalization platform.  They have a resource center with pipeline and close-rate assumptions.  Check out their eCommerce Quarterly.
  24. NEW YORK TIMES ARCHIVE: If you’re looking for data related to content, The New York Times has an API with access to articles dating back from 1851. You can retrieve information related to books, campaign finance, community comments, geography, and even event listings. This data is especially useful for content-based research.
  25. NIELSEN: Nielsen’s MyBestSegments provides researchers with tools to understand an area’s demographic information and lifestyle habits. You can find out which areas would be most receptive to a campaign or launch, which competitors are located nearby, and trends in the area that have shifted.
  26. PEW CENTER: For years, the Pew Center-a thinktank-has been conducting and publishing surveys related to politics, health, income, social values, social media, and online consumer behavior. Consult these reports and datasets when you’re looking to pinpoint macro-level trends-surrounding changes in the digital divide, for instance. This information will give you a macro-level look into sociological trends for U.S. consumer behavior.
  27. PROGRAMMABLE WEB: Looking for an API? Look no further than Programmable Web, a directory of APIs for almost every use case. From travel to social media, sports, gambling, food, finances, and music, you can find the API that you need by browsing this site. Keep in mind, however, that you’ll need to check each listing with the API provider. For one, the API listing on Programmable Web might be outdated. Secondly, you’ll likely only have limited accessibility with a free license. If you want advanced capabilities, you may need to request paid access. This resource will help entrepreneurs find APIs that could save them time in accomplishing business initiatives faster.
  28. QUANDL: QUANDL offers free and premium data related to a variety of topics ranging from bitcoin adoption to commodities, markets, currencies, gasoline and metals. While many datasets are available for free, the company monetizes by providing paid access to niche sources.
  29. QUANTCAST: Get basic website traffic data, trends, demographic data and rankings at Quantcast.There is information available for free with an upsell to more detailed information and data.
  30. REDDIT: If you’re looking for an eclectic collection of research, check out Reddit’s community nominated collection of data. You can short datasets based on what’s new, hot, rising, or controversial. Examples include alcoholic drinks in Australia, water data for Texas, and open web crawls. Use this resource to monitor and discover datasets that might be related to your business.
  31. SIMILAR WEB:  SImilarWeb provides data on websites, mobile apps and more. Great for competitive research and market analysis. You can see a lot of data for free, however for a compelte data view you will have to buy the pro version.
  32. SOCIAL MENTION Social Mention is a real-time social media search engine that can help you understand what your prospective customers are buzzing about online. Search for a keyword, and Social Mention will show you recent social posts that contain that keyword, along with a list of related keywords and other insights.
  33. SOCRATA:  Socrata is another interesting place to explore government-related data, with some visualisation tools built-in.
  34. STATISTA:  Statista uses more than 18,000 sources to provide an amazing amount of data for research. This is very easy to use and has free and paid options available.
  35. UBER SUGGEST: Ubersuggest is a simple tool for doing keyword and content research. You can input a phrase, and it’ll spit out a long, alphabetized list of additional keywords.
  36. US GOVERNMENT DATA –  DATA.GOV: If you’re looking for U.S. government data, start here at The platform is home to hundreds of thousands of datasets in a variety of formats. You can browse topics related to consumer, health, business, climate, manufacturing and even agriculture. Businesses can use this data source for general industry research.
  37. US GOVERNMENT DATA – FED STATS:  If you want data but don’t know which agency maintains or produces it, head on over to This no-frills data-driven site provides access to a full range of official statistical information produced by the federal government without having to know in advance which federal agency produces which particular statistic. Data is available on wide-ranging topics, including economic and population trends, crime, education, health care, aviation safety, energy use, and farm production.
  38. US GOVERNMENT DATA – U.S. CENSUS BUREAU: The U.S. Census Bureau ( maintains a vast repository of information that is quick and easy to navigate, thanks to a variety of over 35 Data Access Tools, including a neat interactive map that shows a mash-up of economic and demographic statistics for any town, city, or state in America. Here is the list:
    • 2010 Census Interactive Population Map: Use this tool to explore 2010 Census statistics down to the block level, compare your community with others, and embed charts on your web site.
    • Access Tools at Other Sites: Integrated Public Use Microdata Series iPUMS [University of Minnesota].
    • American FactFinder: This interactive application provides statistics from the Economic Census, the American Community Survey, and the 2010 Census, among others.
    • American Housing Survey Table Creator: The AHS Table Creator gives you the ability to create customized tables from the American Housing Survey without having to use the Public Use File (microdata).
    • Business Dynamics Statistics: This tool shows tabulations on establishments, firms, and employment with unique information on firm age and firm size.
    • CPS Table Creator The CPS Table Creator gives you the ability to create customized tables from the Current Population Survey’s Annual Social and Economic Supplement (CPS ASEC).
    • Censtats: Applications available include: Census Tract Street Locator, County Business Patterns, Zip Business Patterns, International Trade Data, and more.
    • Census 2000 EEO Data Tool: Select levels of geography based on residence or workplace. The estimates present information for various occupation groupings by race and ethnicity and sex.
    • Census Business Builder: Census Business Builder offers small business owners selected Census Bureau & other statistics to guide their research for opening or expanding their business.
    • Census Explorer: Make new discoveries about your neighborhood through the power of statistics with the U.S. Census Bureau’s newest mapping tool.
    • Census Flows Mapper: The Census Flows Mapper is a web mapping application intended to provide users with a simple interface to view, save and print migration flows maps.
    • DataFerrett: This tool is the analytical interface to TheDataWeb and allows users to create custom tables and data visualizatons, such as graphs and thematic maps.
    • Direct File Access: Census 2010 datasets Download datasets.
    • Direct File Access: Census OUTGOING File Directory (HTTP) Pickup files from Census Employees.
    • Economic Database Search and Trend Charts Easy access to Economic Statistics using drop-down menus. Create tables in ASCII text and spreadsheet format. Display customizable dynamic charts.
    • Glossary Simple definitions of key Census Bureau terms.
    • HIV/AIDS Surveillance Database Access data from various sources on HIV/AIDS prevalence and incidence for countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Oceania.
    • Health Insurance Interactive Data Tool An interactive application for exploring data from the Small Area Health Insurance Estimates program.
    • Income and Poverty Interactive Data Tool An interactive application for exploring data from the Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates program.
    • Industry Snapshots These interactive pages present key statistics from the Economic Census with per capita ratios using data from Population Estimates for a selected industry.
    • International Database Find demographic indicators, population pyramids, and source information for countries and areas of the world with a population of 5,000 or more.
    • International Map Viewer The International Map Viewer web application offers demographic indicators for the world’s countries. Values based on the International Data Base.
    • Language Use Mapper A web-based interactive map application built to display language data from the American Community Survey.
    • Local Employment Dynamics This partnership offers a variety of data tools.
    • Metropolitan/Micropolitan Population Map Viewer A web-based interactive map application built to display Demographic data at the Census 2010 tract level.
    • My Congressional District Access selected statistics about your Congressional district collected through the American Community Survey (ACS) and County Business Patterns (CBP).
    • OnTheMap An online mapping & reporting application showing where workers are employed & where they live with companion reports on worker characteristics.
    • OnTheMap for Emergency Management A public data tool for accessing U.S. population and workforce statistics, for areas being affected by natural disasters.
    • Online Mapping Tools Using TIGER and the American FactFinder.
    • QWI Explorer Provides detailed demographics; geographic (state, county, and metro/micro areas); ownership information; industry information, and recent and historical data.
    • QuickFacts QuickFacts provides frequently requested Census Bureau information at the national, state, county, and city level.
    • U.S. and World Population Clock See U.S. population by date, region, age and sex, and the top 10 areas by people and density. The world view has basic facts, trade, and projections by country.
    • US Gazetteer Place name, and ZIP code search engine.
    • USA Trade Online USA Trade Online is a free and dynamic online tool, where users can access current and historical U.S. export and import data.
    • Widgets Web widgets that are intended for use on (embedding in) third-party websites.
  39. US GOVERNMENT DATA – SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION ADVOCACY: Interested in statistics about how small business is doing? The SBA Office of Advocacy conducts and publishes its own research on topics such as the small business economy, “The arrival of the immigrant Entrepreneur”, regulatory alerts, data on small business, and small business profiles. (Not to be confused with the long list of resources from the SBA below.)
  40. US GOVERNMENT DATA – SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION:  The SBA provides free access to information about business and economic conditions and indicators collected by the U.S. government. Whether you sell to businesses or consumers, these sites include data and statistics on income, employment, trade, and manufacturing, and plenty more. Check out the’s Business Data and Statistics for access to over 88 data sets and tools. Here is a sampling:
  41. WEBSCRAPER.IO: isn’t a dataset, per se. Rather, it’s a web scraper tool that you can use to crawl websites and create your own datasets. Using a free Chrome extension, you can scrape data to be exported via CSV. Use this resource before collecting any data manually.
  42. YAHOO LABS: Yahoo Labs maintains a library of “scientifically useful” datasets for non-commercial use. You can research information related to languages, social media behavior, computing systems, and images. All datasets have been reviewed to conform to Yahoo!’s data protection standards, including strict controls on privacy. Use this data for your own learning, but don’t use it commercially.
  43. ZOOMINFOZoom Information is a database of businesses and people.  While much is behind a paywall, you can utilize their business search to understand sizing of business segments.  If you sign-up for their free version, you will get access to their full database which is very powerful for keyword searching business segments, businesses and people. We suggest you sign-up with an email that you do not use on a regular basis as when you sign-up, you will be agreeing to “share” contact data in your email client.

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