8 Free Market Research Tools

Market research can be expensive, but these free tools can help you gather the data you need.

Whether you’re starting or growing your business, good market research can help you with everything from new product development to choosing a location to developing the ideal customer profile. However, it can also be expensive.

The good news is that the internet has brought small businesses a wealth of market research tools, and many of them are free.

These six powerful platforms and websites can deliver the intel you need to succeed:

  • Hoover’s Free Edition: While in-depth reports and contact information from this division of Dun & Bradstreet are subscription-only, the website offers basic information on more than 85 million companies in 900 market segments. Find out basic financial data, key personnel, and key competitors, as well as an overview of companies and primary markets.
  • Google Databoard for Research Insights: The Databoard delivers reports on everything from the impact of digital on consumer buying behavior to why people buy in the first place. It’s like having high-cost market research reports prepared just for you.
  • BizStats: The free version of this service lets you measure your business’s financial performance against similar businesses so you can see whether you’re keeping pace with the competition. Other benchmarks on costs such as rent, cost of goods sold, and others, help you decide where to invest more or scale back to grow your business.
  • SurveyMonkey: SurveyMonkey’s free version allows you to create polls and surveys to get customer opinions and feedback, which you can use to make adjustments in your business and offerings.
  • U.S. Census: This bureau has enormous amounts of data on communities, changing demographics, population trends, and other important information. Most of the data is free, but there may be fees for in-depth reports. The Census’s American Fact Finder has data on hundreds of communities, including population and average labor costs.
  • ZoomProspector: ZoomProspector helps you evaluate market characteristics, demographics, competition, and other factors to select exactly the right spot for your next location.