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JOUR 3400: Strategic Communication Theory and Research

Resources to build consumer profiles

Where to Go and What to Search

Secondary Sources on Consumers

With so many data sources and ways of defining and describing a consumer group, I find it helpful to think about secondary research in terms of a starting point. This list suggests place to look for data based on your starting point. 

For example, if you're focused on a consumer group that consists of parents, start with the resources suggested under Family Status below. 

  • Age
    • Mintel has data and analysis of consumer groups by age group (ex: Baby Boomers, Millennials, Kids) 
    • Check the Pew Research Center for research on Americans by age group; they often compare attitudes and behaviors across groups 
    • American Fact Finder has population estimates by age, race and gender as well as lots of other demographic information for the US as a whole and for specific geographies in the US 
    • Simmons has consumer data; you can cross-tab consumer behavior by age and other demographic groups and even create custom groups for a specific demographic profile (ex: 18-24 year olds who own a home) 
    • The Bureau of Labor Statistics data includes employment data for youth
  • Location
    • Use SimplyMap variables and view information down to the census tract or zip code. Variables include: census data, consumer expenditures, market segments (age/wealth/family status), consumer behavior (products purchased) and daily activities 
    • The American Fact Finder website gives you access to census and American Community Survey data. Choose a location to find information on age groups, education, housing, income, race and Hispanic origin, and veteran status. 
  • Income, employment & occupations 
    • The Bureau of Labor Statistics has data on wages and employment by occupation, state and metropolitan area, college/high school status, gender, age (youth aged 16-24) and more 
    • Mediamark/MRI’s data includes media use information by household income.  
  • Family Status
    • The Bureau of Labor Statistics has information on employment by people in families (parents, mothers, etc) 
    • Use the American Fact Finder for demographic information and family status of groups around the US 
    • Simmons will give you media use and use of consumer products by household status and family composition 
  • Beliefs 
    • Statista pulls in some opinion data that is available on the open web 
    • Research articles sometimes have data about public opinion, perceptions of brands, topics and major issues 
    • The Pew Research Center conducts research on what people think about a wide range of social and political issues 
  • Products & Industries 
    • Simmons data can give you demographic information and media use for people who use particular products or engage in specific consumer behaviors
    • SimplyMap can tell you where you are more likely to find people who use a particular product.
    • Mintel’s sector reports offer information on the expected consumers for different types of products.
    • Statista is a search engine for data that is available on the open web. They often data on product usage that they pull in from industry websites. Try searching for brands or types of products.
    • Passport GMID has analysis and statistics of different industries. Try searching for your product or a likely company. Often the analysis will include relevant information about consumer trends that will affect the market outcomes.
    • IBIS World is very focused on industry information, but does include information on factors that would influence the outlook for that industry. This sometimes includes information about relevant consumer trends.
  • Media Use
    • Statista has a whole category on media and advertising, with a focus on books and publishing, music, radio, TV, film, video games and general media usage trends.
    • Check the Pew Research Center for data on social media usage, especially their Internet and American Life project
    • Sometimes research articles will have information about how people approach media consumption.
    • Simmons includes variables about media usage 
Subjects: Journalism