The 3rd-party purchaser as 2nd-class citizen?

Strange, but true: if you buy market data from a third party aggregator, almost all publishers will refuse to answer any queries you may have on their data you have bought.  However, if you buy data direct from the publisher, the publishers will then be happy to answer any questions you have about the data and will often let you speak to the report author too.

Why?  I spoke to Frost & Sullivan, a major player in the market research sector.

The short answer is: total loss of customer-interaction.  They don’t get to know who is buying their material.

The aggregator pays the publisher an upfront fee for permission to sell their data (and takes a percentage of this).  The publisher doesn’t like this lack of visibility.   Contrarily, you might think that the publishers are missing a trick here – why not then encourage these “remote purchasing” customers to ask questions as a neat way of finding out who has bought their data?

Well, no, it seems that the dislike of third-party purchase goes deeper.  In fact, ideally the publisher would rather you couldn’t buy any of their data through a third party.  It is seen as “detrimental to our whole interaction”.

So they turn their backs on you and sulk.  Or maybe they do have a case.  Let’s be balanced here.  Frost & Sullivan pointed out that you may well miss out on special offers and discounts that they could offer, suggestions of alternative reports, as well as advice and further explanation of the content.  As is so often said in the world of search skills (and it’s all too easily forgotten): there’s nothing like actually speaking to someone who knows.

Maybe the role of the third party aggregator will gradually change into being more of a search portal, from which the user then jumps direct to the publisher for purchases.   I’d certainly recommend that if you want to purchase a complete report, go direct to the publisher and get that after-sales advice…oh, and a discount of course!

Here are some market research publishers that allow you to buy their reports by-the-slice direct from them.  This isn’t an exhaustive list, and many other publishers are open to selling sections if you ask nicely.

Business Communications Company: Coverage: multi-sector

Freedonia: Coverage: multi-sector

Global Industry Analysts: Coverage: multi-sector

Kalorama: Coverage: multi-sector, but especially healthcare. Only older reports are available to buy by section.

Packaged Facts: Coverage: consumer markets

SBI Reports: Coverage: food service equipment industry

Aggregators:,,, and Profound
MarketResearch’s database contains summaries and tables of contents and a “search inside the report” option with some of the reports. They bought Profound back in June 2007.
Mindbranch and ResearchandMarkets are two other major aggregators. The content on all three will overlap, but cross-searching can still usefully reveal different reports. seems to be the newest kid on the block and (I absolutely love these urls!) just sneaks my Market Reports Website Naming Competition prize, can’t you just hear them? “Oh for heavens sake, I give up let’s just call it…”

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