Study of the requirements of specific markets, the acceptability of products, and methods of developing and exploiting new markets. Various strategies are used for market research: past sales may be projected forward; surveys may be made of consumer attitudes and product preferences; and new or altered products may be introduced experimentally into designated test-market areas. Formal market research dates back to the 1920s in Germany and the 1930s in Sweden and France. After World War II, U.S. firms led in the use and refinement of market-research techniques, which spread throughout much of Western Europe and Japan.
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