Secondary research offers several advantages for research gathering including:
Ease of Access
In years past accessing good secondary data required marketers to visit libraries or wait until a report was shipped by mail. When online access initially became an option marketers needed training to learn different rules and procedures for each data source. However, the Internet has changed how secondary research is accessed by offering convenience (e.g., online access from many locations) and generally standardized usage methods for all data sources.
Low Cost to Acquire
Researchers are often attracted to secondary data because getting this information is much less expensive than if the researchers had to carry out the research themselves.
May Help Clarify Research Question
Secondary research is often used prior to larger scale primary research to help clarify what is to be learned (Step 2). For instance, a researcher doing competitor analysis, but who is not familiar with competitors in a market, could access secondary sources to locate a list of potential competitors.
May Answer Research Question
As noted, secondary data collection is often used to help set the stage for primary research. In the course of doing so researchers may find that the exact information they were looking for is available via secondary sources thus eliminating the need and expense to carrying out their own primary research.
May Show Difficulties in Conducting Primary Research
The originators of secondary research often provide details on how the information was collected. This may include discussion of difficulties encountered. For instance, the secondary research may be a research report written by a large market research company. These types of reports often include a section discussing the procedures used to collect the data and within this may disclose problems in obtaining the data, such as a high percentage of people declining to take part in the research. After reading this the marketer may decide the potential information that may be obtained is not worth the potential difficulties in conducting the research.