Market Research Methodology in China
When starting a project, the crucial first step is to
search for any available information that is applicable to the
Secondary data may be a study, a group of articles on a topic, or
demographic or statistical data, and our internal research that incorporates
a research project's previous findings. A secondary research review can help to provide
preliminary answers to questions about the scope of the research, previous
attempts to address the problem, who the probable target audience is, who
the "competition" is and information about the potential market.
secondary research is usually the least expensive type of research and may
have the easiest access, it may be less reliable than primary research as
the information obtained was not developed with any particular problem or
specific market in mind. Therefore, primary research is the key stage in
China market research. We will carry out various methods according to our
clients’ requirements, purpose of market research and characteristics of the
selected market object.
There are mainly two kind of research method:
qualitative market research and quantitative market research.
Qualitative Market Research
1. Focus group
A focus group consists of about 6 to 10 people who strongly represents the
target audience are selected to be monitored in a room which will be fitted
with a unidirectional mirror. Under an experienced coordinator’s direction,
the subjects will discuss issues about consumers’ needs and demands. The
coordinator would observe and evaluate the psychology and behaviour of the
test subjects. This will help us to understand consumption pattern and hence
set the foundation for future quantitative research.
Conducting focus groups is a good way to uncover new information that cannot be
obtained through other research methods, we speak the language, understand
the culture and have the communication modus operandi for optimum results
for you. Furthermore we will be able to find out how to market your product
in China by uncovering consumers’ preferences, understanding their brand
awareness and their perspective towards the usefulness of your product.
2. In-depth interview
An un-structured interview allows the researcher (or executive interviewer) to
explore issues in detailed. In the process, an experienced interviewer will
develop a deep understanding of the subjects through certain questions. By
observing their facial expressions and body languages, the interviewer would
be able evaluate the responses given. In-depth interviews are often an
initial part of the China market research process as they allow the
researcher to have a deeper understanding of their target audience before
planning any marketing strategies.
In this method, we will constantly seek experts’ opinions through objective
analysis. Initially, we will invite and seek the different opinions of
industries’ experts. Thereafter, we will present the feedback to our team of
expert for evaluation. This process will be repeated until constructive
opinion has been obtained. According to different demand of different
topics, the Delphi technique will be applied for about 3-4 turns.
4. Projection technique
As projection technique method is more indirect and unstructured, respondents
may feel more comfortable in the process. This method does not entail the
interviewee to explain their consumption pattern but the behavior of other
consumers. By responding towards other consumers’ behavior, the subjects
will be giving out their own response. This includes the association
technique, the completion technique, the structure technique and the
Quantitative Market Research
Telephone is the main medium which data are collected. Interviewers carry out
their work in a fixed time atone location. Phone survey is only suitable for
simple surveys where the session will not last more than 10mins. Carrying
out a long survey on the phone would bore the respondents and thus resulting
in a low response rate. Phone surveys do not require high operating costs
and they reduce discomfort when interviewees are facing unfamiliar places
There are basically two types of phone surveys: the traditional and the
Traditional phone survey
The traditional phone survey method would only require the use of a normal
telephone, a printer and a pen. A well trained surveyor will use a dialing
method, a questionnaire and some filters to select their targeted
interviewees. Thereafter, the answers to the questionnaire will be recorded
Computer aided phone
Computer aided phone survey requires the use of an electronically designed
questionnaire. The interviewee will be asked in a procedure fixed by the
computer. With the aid of a computer, the surveyor would take down the
responses by using codes to represent certain responses. For eg. ‘Y’
indicates yes and “N” to indicate negative response.
2. Face to face interview
Face to face interview requires the surveyor to have direct
interaction with his subject. This will include door to door, interception
and the mysterious type.
* Door to door
After selecting their target audience, field workers will carry out the surveys
by going door to door to their interviewee’s residence. Thus, the
interviewees and field workers are in direct contact with one another.
Although this method is random in nature, the surveyor will still have a set
of rules to follow. With this direct contact, surveyors can observe the
attitudes and facial expressions when the subject answers the questions.
This stringent sampling method can also ensure the sample representation to
be more accurate and hence obtaining a more effective response rate. The
surveyor will have to attempt to clarify with the interviewees at the point
in time if the answers do not tally with the questions. The surveyor can
also get the answers to open-ended questions.
* Interception method
There are basically two ways in which this can be carried out. (i) The surveyor
will stay in a designated area and according to certain procedures; they
have to gain the interviewee's consent before proceeding with the survey.
(ii) The surveyor will rent a place with heavy pedestrian flow i.e. shopping
malls, and based on the research requirements; they may even have to place
certain products for the interviewees to feel and see the product. After
gaining the interviewee's consent, they can proceed with the interview. The
advantage of this method in China market research lies in its efficiency,
accuracy and quality of the survey which can be controlled by the surveyor
and it saves on sampling time and expenses.
The mystery customer technique is an observational methodology where the
field researcher would assume the role of a customer unbeknownst to customer
service staff in order to collect data on the "customer experience".
Customer service personnel would not be aware that their behaviour is being
monitored. The data collected would be error-free compared to those that
occur in self-report or traditional surveys as they are unable to observe
behaviour as directly or rely on secondary accounts and self report. Mystery
customer surveys are common in service industries such as fast food
franchises, hotels and airlines as a staff training and performance
3. Mail survey
In a mail survey, the questions will be mailed to prospective respondents. The
respondents would have to fill them out on their own and returned to the
field workers by mail. There are basically two ways in which this could be
done: the retained questionnaire survey and fixed sampling survey.
* Returned questionnaire survey
The surveyor will go door to door and give a brief explanation of their
purpose. They will then leave the questionnaire with the interviewees and
collect the questionnaire back either by on a pre-agreed date or providing
them with postal envelopes. By facing the interviewees directly, the
interviewees can clarify any doubts when presented with the questionnaire by
the fieldworker. This will result in a high return rate as there is
sufficient time for participants to ponder over the questions and not be
influenced by the surveyors.
* Fixed sampling survey
In this method, an area or the whole nation will be sampled. After getting the
consent from the participating household, the company will arrange for the
questionnaire to be mailed to them regularly. In order to prevent the sample
from getting outdated, constant adjustments to the samplings will have to be
made. As the scope or area covered will be sufficiently large, the sampling
will not be limited by the area and the sample size will be larger compared
to other research methods. Thus for China market research, this would be an