If you are going to start a business in Tucson or are looking for areas of growth for your existing business, market research is a must! Consumer expenditures, or how much money is currently being spent on a product or service, should be identified so you can make reasonable assumptions of how much of the market you might reach. You will also want to know the number of potential customers within your target market so you can identify how well you convert your target audience into customers.
business planning guide that covers many aspects to completing a comprehensive market research report. Here are four free resources that I recommend if you are looking for tools that have easy to understand built-in data visualizations to help you find individual consumer markets. (If you are looking to understand business to business markets, we'll be writing another blog post about that soon and will link to it here once it's posted.)The Small Business Administration has a
- Bureau of Economic Analysis: The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis has national, international, regional, and industry data available for your consumption in interactive tables and maps. Look at the National data for GDP & Personal Income, then select Section 2 to find information on Personal Income and Outlays, i.e., how much money is being spent on different products and services by consumers in the U.S. There are many tables for you to look at there, so spend some time exploring. I'd also recommend that you look at Section 6 to see Income and Employment by Industry to see compensation of employees, as well as how many people may be self-employed in each industry. They've tracked this data for a long time, so be sure to click on the latest table D to see the most recent data.
Census Business Builder: This tool provides access to local data. All you need to enter is your industry and your geographic location. You'll then be able to view a preformatted map or report telling you about your customers, competitors, consumer spending and more. Tip 1: Choose the broadest geographic area to get more relevant data in your report. If you put in a zip code, you will only get data in your report related specifically to that zip code. Tip 2: Make sure to manipulate your maps with the many variables and filters available to you along the top of the map.
- SizeUp on the SBA's website: The U.S. Small Business Administration has a license to use SizeUp's business data to generate information in easy reports and maps to help you build your business. To find consumer expenditure data, simply input your industry and city, then select the "Competition" option to see a map of your competitors, customers, and suppliers. You can add consumer expenditure data to this map by using the "Consumer Spending" drop down menu.
- ReferenceUSA*: Use the U.S. Consumers / Lifestyles Database to find the size of the market if you are looking for consumers. When you use the Lifestyles search field, you can get a list of names, addresses, and more information on people with high levels of interest in one or more of the 96 different categories such as fitness, gourmet food & wine, stylish men or women's apparel, travel enthusiasts and more. Adding more targeted customer profile data in the Consumer Snapshot menu will remove personally identifiable information, but you can use this tool to show the size of your market with your target customer clearly defined by things such as age, ethnicity, family makeup, and more.
*This is a tool that you can only access with a Pima County Public Library card and PIN or use if you are a resident of Arizona. You may get help using this tool by: