What Is a Consumer Survey? [+ Types & Sample Questions]

Consumer survey concept

Consumer surveys are a great way to tap into the general market of consumers in order to find out more information about your business.

From a simple customer survey to something like concept testing, companies have much they can learn from consumers and their feedback.

Consumer surveys are not just one simple type of survey however.

The truth is, this a broad term that can refer to testing a variety of topics such as:

  • Unaided awareness
  • Aided awareness
  • Perception
  • Price
  • Purchase history

In this blog post, our market research company will dive into the details of this methodology. We will review the definition, process, sample questions, and a case study for consumer research surveys.

If you are looking to conduct a consumer survey with a market research company, Drive Research is ready to help. Contact our team by emailing [email protected] or fill out the form, here.

What Exactly Is a Consumer Survey?

A consumer research survey refers to a study that gathers feedback and information from the desired audience. 

An essential piece to consumer research surveys is defining the goals and objectives of the study.

Before discussing the survey audience, price, or methodology, a research team needs to know the survey goals and how the results will be used.

In addition to defining the goals and objectives, specifying the desired audience plays a crucial role in consumer research surveys.

Ultimately, the goals and objectives steer the direction of choosing a general or more targeted survey audience.

What Are Consumer Surveys Used For?

Surveying broader audiences 

For some studies, the audience is broad. For example, the target survey audience could be defined as consumers who are 18 or older and live anywhere in the U.S. 

Typically, quotas are set up to ensure the surveyed audience mimics the population demographics gathered from the U.S. Census

Some advantages to choosing a broader audience are that it’s typically less expensive and gets you an accurate baseline measure of KPIs (like awareness and perception) from general consumers. 

Surveying specific audiences 

For other studies, the audience is more specific. For example, the target survey audience could be consumers aged 25 to 36, who share or primarily make household decisions, eat plant-based, and exercise 3 times or more per week. 

Again, quotas can be set up to ensure other demographics mixes (like gender and age) are met. 

The benefit of choosing a more specific audience is that the audience is likely more knowledgeable about the survey topic and likely mimics a target customer.

Learn more about the importance of sampling in market research.

Concept Testing For Products and Services

These surveys can be used to do concept testing where companies look for feedback on a new product or service. Getting data on new ideas before launching to market is always a great idea.

Making these key business decisions backed by data is one of the things we preach at Drive Research.

Having a launch fail can be costly both in terms of time and money. A consumer survey can help save businesses a ton while also helping them tweak their launch to create a project with more potential than before.

Brand Research

For more broader audiences, brand research is one of the best ways to utilize consumer surveys. Surveys can be used for all types of brand research including brand health, brand equity, brand tracking, and more.

These are all helpful to find potential issues for a brand, see the level of customer engagement, and even improve upon products.

All of the information can always be helpful in changing a brand’s strategy, marketing, or messaging in order to improve perception.

The Process of Conducting Consumer Surveys

When consumer research surveys for our clients, Drive Research follows these 5 steps!

Step #1: Discover Your Goals

During this step the goals and objectives of the research are defined, the process is outlined, and the project details are fine-tuned. This is the most important step, since your goals will determine how successful the project can be. By using your goals, it’s possible to formulate the best project for business success.

Step #2: Finding Your Audience

Finding your audience is the next crucial step in a consumer survey. Since they can be used for both specific and broad audiences, there is a lot of potential. 

Typically, your audience will align with your survey goals. If your goal is to get feedback on a product, you’ll likely be looking for a more general audience. However, if you’re wanting employee feedback, that’s a lot more of a specific audience.

As long as you have access to the audience, you’ll be able to target them without worry. At Drive Research, we have access to thousands of audiences and know how to target them specifically.

Step #3: Survey design and testing

Here is when the consumer survey is drafted and fine-tuned. Writing questions for your audience is a big deal and should not be rushed. It also can be a great idea to leave this step to market research pros.

You’ll want to write questions that aren’t leading, have no bias, are short and sweet, and keep your respondents engaged.

After that you’ll need to design the survey. Different surveys require different designs. Some use complex logic while others only use simple programming. Once the survey is finalized, it is programmed into survey software and tested.

Step #4: Fieldwork

When the consumer research survey is ready to launch, the team begins fieldwork. This is where our data cleaning process shines. We make sure we maintain high quality data that can be used reliably.

The research team will keep an eye to make sure questions are being understood as intended and the survey audience sampling plan is on track.

Step #5: Analysis and reporting

Once fieldwork is completed, analysis and reporting begin. We always aim to give some of the highest level insights for the project. With expert insights, using the information for business decisions becomes much easier.

Depending on the type of report, a topline summary can be completed within 24 hours while a comprehensive market research report takes roughly 2 weeks to complete.

Learn more about the difference between a topline and a comprehensive market research report.

Example Consumer Survey Questions

As a market research company, Drive Research understands the science behind survey writing.

No really, it is a science! It is important each question is written with the objective in mind.

Think to yourself, what type of information am I hoping to learn from asking this question? What will you do with the data?

A third-party consumer research company can help execute a survey from beginning to end. This includes writing professional, unique, and unbiased survey questions.

To help get you started, here are a few example questions for a consumer research survey.

Q1: Which of the following best applies to you? Select one.

  1. I am the primary decision-maker for [insert industry/topic] in my household.
  2. I share decision-making responsibility for [insert industry/topic] in my household.
  3. I do not make decisions for [insert industry/topic] in my household. [Disqualify]

Q2: When thinking about [example industry], what brand comes to mind first? Enter your response below.

open text box

Q3: Which of the following [example industry] retailers are you aware of? Select all that apply.

  1. Example 1
  2. Example 2
  3. Example 3
  4. Other (Please specify)

Q4 [Show brands aware of]: Which of the following [example industry] retailers would you be willing to purchase from in the future? Select one. 

  1. Example 1
  2. Example 2
  3. Example 3
  4. Other (Please specify)

Q5 [Show brands aware of]: What is your perception of the following [example industry] retailers? Select one for each.

consumer research survey question

Q6: Explain why your perception of Example 1 is [insert selection]? Enter your response below.

open text box

Consumer Survey Case Study

Objectives of the Consumer Survey

Drive Research was hired to conduct a consumer omnibus survey. The market research focused on identifying those who made or shared business decision-making and whether fear had played a role in starting something new.

The results of the omnibus survey helped fuel the next steps in operations, marketing, and strategy.

Consumer Survey Questions

The first question asked respondents to identify whether they were a business decision-maker, shared business decision-making responsibility, or not a business decision-maker. 

The second question set asked respondents to rank their level of fear about starting something new (i.e., a new hobby, a new job/career) in the past three months and 2020 overall.

For this question set, respondents used a scale of 1 to 5, where “1” was not at all fearful, and “5” was very fearful.

Consumer Survey Results

The survey took less than one minute to complete and included two questions. The survey received 1,000 responses.

Quotas were created to ensure respondent demographic information mimicked U.S. Census demographics. 

With a probabilistic sample, a total of 1,000 responses at the 95% confidence level offers a 3.1% margin of error.

If the survey were conducted with another random pool of 1,000 consumers, results would yield within +3.1% or -3.1% of the stated totals in the reports. 

In addition to the PDF and raw data file attached, an online report link was included. The online report link is interactive.

Here’s an example online report!

Example Headlines Created from a Consumer Survey

Oftentimes, the results of a consumer or PR survey are used to create an eye-catching headline.

Here are a few example headlines:

  • In the past three months, [insert survey result] business decision-makers in the U.S. had some level of fear about starting something new (i.e., a new hobby, a new job/career), while [insert survey result] were very fearful.
  • In 2020, [insert survey result] business decision-makers in the U.S. had some level of fear about starting something new (i.e., a new hobby, a new job/career), while [insert survey result] were very fearful.
  • In 2020, [insert survey result] of business decision-makers in the U.S. were very fearful about starting something new. Furthermore, [insert survey result] of business decision-makers in the U.S. were very fearful about starting something new in the past three months

Contact Drive Research to Conduct a Consumer Survey

Drive Research is a consumer market research company. Our experts work with a variety of organizations across the country to deliver insights, action items, and ROI on their survey efforts.

Are you interested in learning more about our market research services? Reach out through any of the four ways below.

  1. Message us on our website
  2. Email us at [email protected]
  3. Call us at 888-725-DATA
  4. Text us at 315-303-2040

emily taylor about the author

Emily Taylor

As Director of Operations, Emily does more than wrangle data. Her work includes executing company OKRs, company-wide project management, training/onboarding, team culture initiatives, and more!

Learn more about Emily, here.

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