68 market research questions to ask (and how to ask them)

No two market research projects are alike, but happily there are some tried-and-tested questions you can use for inspiration to get the consumer insights you’re looking for.

It’s all about asking questions that are most relevant to the goals of your research. Every so often the best questions are actually quite straightforward, like asking consumers where they do their grocery shopping.

If you’re creating a customer profile, you’ll ask different questions than when you’re running creative testing with your target audience, or getting insights on key consumer trends in your market.

The right market research questions are the ones that will lead you to actionable insights, and give you a competitive advantage in your target market.

Let’s kick this off and get straight into some questions, shall we?

Example market research questions

Where do we even begin with this?! There are so many types of research and we’ll get into which questions work for each below, but here are some classic example market research questions to get you started.

These particular questions are good for surveys that you might run when you’re running some essential consumer profiling research.

  1. Which of these products have you purchased in the last 3 months?
  2. Which of the following types of >INSERT YOUR PRODUCT/SERVICE CATEGORY< do you buy at least once a month?
  3. Approximately, how much would you say you spend on >INSERT YOUR PRODUCT/SERVICE CATEGORY< per month?
  4. What is stopping you from buying more of >INSERT YOUR PRODUCT/SERVICE CATEGORY<?
  5. When was the last time you tried a new >INSERT YOUR PRODUCT/SERVICE CATEGORY<?
  6. Please rank the following on how important or unimportant they are when deciding which >INSERT PRODUCT CATEGORY< to buy?
  7. Which of these brands are you aware of?
  8. Which of these brands have you purchased from in the last 3 months?
  9. How do you prefer to shop for >INSERT YOUR PRODUCT/SERVICE CATEGORY<?
  10. Why do you prefer to shop online?
  11. Why do you prefer to shop in-store?
  12. Thinking about the following, how often do you use/listen/watch each of these media?
  13. Where do you go to keep up to date with the news?
  14. Which social media platforms do you use daily?
  15. What mobile phone do you currently own?

Market research questions to ask customers

Surely you want to talk to your current customers to understand why they buy from you and what they think about your products?

Correct! But your consumer research should definitely not end with current customers!

Potential customer in a supermarket

Here’s why you should think about broadening your research to include other groups and different market research methods:

  • Current customers: This is a must! Running research to your current customers will help you understand how you can make your product or service better. These are the people who’ve spent their hard-earned cash on your products so they have a unique perspective on what kind of value you offer. In addition, understanding why your existing customer base chose your brand over others can help you create messaging that resonates with people who are still on the fence.
  • Previous customers: People who used to buy your products but don’t anymore can give you valuable insight into areas you might need to improve. Perhaps your brand perception has shifted making some customers buy elsewhere, or maybe your competitors offer customers better value for money than you currently do. These are the kinds of areas you can learn about by running research to previous customers.
  • Non-customers: You should also ask people who haven’t bought your products why they haven’t. That way you’ll learn what you need to improve to bring new customers in. You should ideally ask the same kinds of questions, so that you can learn about what product features you need to work on but also things like the messaging you should be putting out there to win people over.

Here are some questions that are perfect for competitive market analysis research. Some of these questions might sound similar to some from our previous section on consumer profiling—that’s because there’s often some crossover between these types of research. Consumer profiling often refers to a more general type of research that covers similar ground to market analysis. If you’re wondering how to calculate market size, questions like these would be a great starting point.

  1. How often do you usually purchase >INSERT YOUR PRODUCT/SERVICE CATEGORY<?
  3. What types of >INSERT YOUR PRODUCT/SERVICE CATEGORY< do you buy?
  4. How often do you buy the following types of >INSERT YOUR PRODUCT/SERVICE CATEGORY<?
  5. Where do you buy your >INSERT YOUR PRODUCT/SERVICE CATEGORY<?
  6. Where do you find out about >INSERT YOUR PRODUCT/SERVICE CATEGORY<?
  7. Which of these brands are you aware of?
  8. Which of these brands have your purchased in the last 12 months?
  9. How would you feel if you could no longer buy >INSERT YOUR PRODUCT/SERVICE CATEGORY<?
  10. How important or unimportant do you find the following topics? (e.g. sustainability, diversity and inclusion, ethical supply chain)
  11. What could be improved about the products you currently use?
Group of people taking part in market research

Market research questions for product development

By involving consumers in the product development process, you can make sure that your products are designed to meet—and ideally exceed—their needs.

Product market research can be done at several points in the product development process, by asking potential customers in your target market questions about existing products (yours or competitors’), prototypes, or just your own early-stage product ideas.

You can dive into the customer experience, specific product features or simply find out if the product quality matches the value proposition you’re putting out there.

Sometimes you even get a surprising answer to the question: how does our product or service help people?

You might learn from the survey responses that customers are using your product in a different way than you intended, opening you up to new target markets and different product types in the future.

Asking these questions also allows you to get feedback on your designs, so that you can make necessary changes before the product is released. Here’s some inspiration for when you’re conducting product market research.

There are different types of new product development research. A key type is Jobs to be done research. This research digs into the practical reasons people buy products—the jobs they need to get done with a specific product. You use these insights to help you create products that will genuinely help consumers, and that they’ll ultimately want to buy.

  1. How many times have you carried out [INSERT ACTIVITY] in the last 12 months?
  2. How much time would you typically spend on this [INSERT ACTIVITY]?
  3. How important or unimportant is carrying out this [INSERT ACTIVITY]?
  4. How satisfied or unsatisfied do you feel when carrying out this [INSERT ACTIVITY]?
  5. What is the best thing about carrying out [INSERT ACTIVITY]?
  6. How does carrying out [INSERT ACTIVITY] make you feel? Please select all that apply
  7. What particular problems or challenges do you run into while carrying out [INSERT ACTIVITY]?

When you’re cooking up your brand’s next product, you’ll want to go through a concept testing phase. This is where you ask consumers what they think about your idea and find out whether it’s likely to be a success. Here are some of the questions you could ask in your concept testing research.

  1. To what extent do you like or dislike this idea/product? [ATTACH IMAGE]
  2. What do you like about this idea/product?
  3. What do you dislike about this idea/product?
  4. Based on the image and description, to what extent do you agree or disagree with the following. This idea/product: [ATTACH IMAGE]
    • Is easy to use
    • Sounds tasty
    • Is good quality
    • Is Innovative
    • Is different from others
  5. How likely or unlikely would you be to do any of the following? [ATTACH IMAGE]
    • Purchase this product
    • Replace the product I currently own with this
  6. What other products this idea/product reminds you of? Please provide as much detail as possible including the product name.
  7. What feature(s), if any, do you feel are missing from this product?
  8. How would you improve this idea/product? Be as descriptive as possible!
  9. What issues do you solve through the use of this product?
  10. When can you see yourself using this product? Please select all that apply.
  11. The price for this product is $25.00 per item. How likely or unlikely would you be to buy this product at this price?

Get inspired with NPD survey templates

Our in-house research experts have created New Product Development (NPD) survey templates to give you the perfect starting point for your product research!

See NPD templates

Market research questions for brand tracking

Does the perspective of new customers change over time? How do you compare to other brands, and how do you become the preferred brand in your market and increase that market share?

Brand perception and brand awareness are super important metrics to track. These insights can be used to improve customer experience and satisfaction on a higher level than just product: the relationship you have with your customers.

This research can also help you understand how to reach the holy grail of branding: turning loyal customers into brand ambassadors.

You should also remember to ask marketing research questions about your brand to existing and potential customers.

Existing customers might have a different view after having interacted with your team and products, and you can use that to manage the expectations of your target customers down the line. And potential customers can help you understand what’s holding them back from joining your customer base.

Top tip: it’s completely fine (and super beneficial!) to run brand tracking into your competitors’ brands as well as your own. Replicating research for different brands will give you a tailored benchmark for your category and position.

Here are some key questions to ask in your brand tracking research.

  1. Which of the following, if any, have you purchased in the past 12 months?
  2. Thinking about >INSERT YOUR CATEGORY<, what brands, if any, are you aware of? Please type in all that you can think of.
  3. Which of these brands of facial wipes, if any, are you aware of?
  4. Which of these facial wipe brands, if any, have you ever purchased?
  5. Which of these facial wipe brands, if any, would you consider purchasing in the next 6 months?
  6. Which of these statements do you associate with each brand?
    • e.g. Innovative
    • Trusted
    • Easy to use
    • Friendly
    • Traditional
    • Different
  7. We’d now like to ask you some specific questions about >INSERT YOUR BRAND<.
  8. When did you last use >INSERT YOUR BRAND<?
  9. What do you like most about >INSERT YOUR BRAND<?
  10. What do you like least about >INSERT YOUR BRAND<?
  11. How likely would you be to recommend >INSERT YOUR BRAND< to a friend, family or colleague?
  12. Why did you give that score? Include as much detail as possible
  13. Have you seen/heard about >INSERT YOUR BRAND< in any of the following ways?
    • e.g. On TV
    • In newspapers/magazines
    • On Instagram
    • On Facebook
    • On Twitter
    • On YouTube
    • On the radio
    • Through friends/family/colleagues
    • Other
  14. When did you last use >INSERT MAIN COMPETITOR BRAND<?
  15. How likely would you be to recommend >INSERT MAIN COMPETITOR BRAND< to a friend, family or colleague?

Kick off your brand tracking with templates

Track your brand to spot—and act on!—how your brand’s perception and awareness affects how people buy. Our survey templates give you the ideal starting point!

Start tracking your brand

Pricing survey questions for market research

When it comes to pricing your product, there’s no need to wing it—a pricing survey can give you the insights you need to arrive at the perfect price point.

By asking customers questions about their willingness to pay for your product, you can get a realistic sense of what price point will be most attractive to them and, not unimportant, why.

Top tip: good pricing research can be tough to get right. Asking how much people would theoretically be willing to pay for a product is very different from them actually choosing it in a shop, on a shelf next to competitors’ products, and with a whole load of other economic context that you can’t possibly test for. Price testing is useful, but should sometimes be taken with a pinch of salt.

Here are some questions you could use in your pricing research.

  1. Which of the following product categories have you bought in the last 12 months?
  2. How often do you currently purchase >INSERT YOUR CATEGORY<?
  3. At what price would you consider this >INSERT PRODUCT CATEGORY< to be so expensive that you would not consider buying it? (Too expensive)
  4. At what price would you consider this >INSERT PRODUCT CATEGORY< to be starting to get expensive, so that it is not out of the question, but you have to give some thought to buying it? (e.g. Expensive)
  5. At what price would you consider this >INSERT PRODUCT CATEGORY< to be a bargain—a great buy for the money? (e.g. cheap)
  6. At what price would you consider this >INSERT PRODUCT CATEGORY< to be priced so low that you would feel the quality couldn’t be very good? (Too cheap)
  7. How much do you currently pay for >INSERT PRODUCT CATEGORY<? Please type in below
  8. Thinking about this product, please rank the following aspects based on how much value they add, where 1 = adds the most value 10 = adds the least value.
  9. Thinking about the product category as a whole, please rank the following brands in order of value, where 1 is the most expensive and 10 is the least.

How to write your own market research questions

Formulating market research questions can be tricky. On the one hand, you want to be specific enough that you can get tangible, useful answers. But on the other hand, you don’t want to ask questions that are so difficult or unclear that respondents will get frustrated and give up halfway through.

Think about what answers you need and what actions you are hoping to take based on those answers.

We’ll help you get started with a list of steps to take when formulating your own market research questions, and putting them together in a survey that makes sense.

Before you can write great market research questions, you need to know what you want to learn from your research.

What are your goals? What do you want to find out? Once you have a clear understanding of your goals, you can start brainstorming questions that will help you achieve them.

2. Know your target market and the language they use

Who are you conducting market research for? It’s important to know your audience before you start writing questions, as this will help you determine the best way to phrase them.

For example, if you’re conducting market research for a new product aimed at teenagers, you’ll want to use different language than if you were conducting research for a new financial planning service aimed at retirees.

3. Keep it simple, and break things into smaller pieces

Don’t make your questions too complicated. Stick to simple, straightforward questions that can be easily understood by your target audience.

The more complex your questions are, the more likely it is that respondents will get confused and provide inaccurate answers.

If you feel a question is too difficult, see if you can break it up into smaller pieces and add follow-up questions on top.

And don’t ever load two questions into one! This falls into Consumer Research 101, but it’s amazing how often it happens. Instead of ‘What’s your favorite chocolate bar, and why?’ ask two questions: ‘What’s your favorite chocolate bar?’ and ‘Why is this your favorite chocolate bar?’

4. Be super specific

Make sure your questions are specific enough to get the information you need. Vague questions will only lead to vague answers.

For example, instead of asking ‘What do you think of this product?’, ask ‘What did you think of the taste of this product?’ or ‘What did you think of the packaging of this product?’.

5. Avoid leading questions

Leading questions are those that suggest a particular answer or course of action. For example, instead of asking ‘Do you like our new product?’, which suggests that the respondent should like the product, try asking ‘What are your thoughts on this product?

This question is neutral and allows the respondent to answer freely without feeling pressured in any particular direction. It’s also brand-neutral: people answering this question will have no idea who’s asking, and their opinion won’t be biased as a result.

6. Make sure your question is clear

It’s important that your question is clear and concise so that respondents understand exactly what they’re being asked. If there is any ambiguity in your question, respondents may interpret it in different ways and provide inaccurate answers.

Always test your questions on a few people before sending them to a larger group to make sure they understand what they’re being asked.

7. Avoid loaded words

Loaded words are those with positive or negative connotations that could influence the way respondents answer the question. For example, instead of asking ‘Do you love this product?’, which has a positive connotation, try asking ‘What are your thoughts on this product?’

This question is neutral and allows the respondent to answer freely without feeling pressured in any particular direction

8. Make sure the question is answerable

Before you include a question in your market research survey, make sure it’s actually answerable. There’s no point in asking a question if there’s no way for respondents to answer it properly. If a question isn’t answerable, either revise the question or remove it from your survey altogether.

9. Use an appropriate question type

When designing your market research survey, be sure to use an appropriate question type for each question you include. Using the wrong question type can lead to inaccurate or unusable results, so it’s important to choose wisely. Some common question types used in market research surveys include multiple choice, rating scale, and open-ended questions.

10. Pay attention to question order

The order of the questions in your survey can also impact the results you get from your research. In general, it’s best to start with more general questions and then move on to more specific ones later on in the survey. This will help ensure that respondents are properly warmed up and able to provide detailed answers by the time they reach the end of the survey.

Make smart decisions with the reliable insights

To make sure you make smart decisions that have real impact on your business, get consumer insights you can rely on. Here’s our rundown of the top market research tools.

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1. What are market research survey questions?

Survey questions for market research are designed to collect information about a target market or audience. They can be used to gather data about consumer preferences, opinions, and behavior. Some common types of market research survey questions include demographic questions, behavioral questions and attitudinal questions.

2. What are examples of research questions?

There are many different types of market research questions that companies can use to gather information about consumer preferences and buying habits. They can be divided into different categories, like a competitive analysis, customer satisfaction or market trends, after which you can make them more specific and turn them into survey questions. These are some of the things your research questions can help you answer:
– What is the target market for our product?
– Who is our competition?
– What do consumers think of our product?
– How often do consumers purchase our product?
– What is the typical customer profile for our product?
– What motivates consumers to purchase our product?

3. How do you write a market research survey?

When conducting market research, surveys are an invaluable tool for gathering insights about your target audience. But how do you write a market research questionnaire that will get you the information you need? First, determine the purpose of your survey and who your target respondents are. This will help you to write questions that are relevant and targeted. Next, craft clear and concise questions that can be easily understood. Be sure to avoid ambiguity, leading questions and loaded language. Finally, pilot your survey with a small group of people to make sure that it is effective. With these tips in mind, you can write a market research survey that will help you to gather the crucial insights you need.

Elliot Barnard

Customer Research Lead 

Elliot joined Attest in 2019 and has dedicated his career to working with brands carrying out market research. At Attest Elliot takes a leading role in the Customer Research Team, to support customers as they uncover insights and new areas for growth.

See all articles by Elliot