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market research

market research, organized use of sample surveys, polls, focus groups, and other techniques to study market characteristics (e.g., ages and incomes of consumers; consumer attitudes) and improve the efficiency of sales and distribution. Development of new products, opening of new markets, measurement of advertising effectiveness, and knowledge of business competitors are among its basic aims. Developed in the United States in the early 20th cent., the field expanded rapidly after World War II, spreading to Europe and Japan.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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