In today's rapidly changing world, it is crucial for companies to understand potential markets. This is done through market research, which helps companies understand customer preferences and identify new markets so that they can tailor advertisements and products to interested customers.
In the past, market research was done through surveys and focus groups. Those methods no longer keep pace with the speed of business. Changes in technology, how customers interact with that technology, and the quantity of data collected by technology all require that market research techniques must change as well. In the past 20 years, one focus for companies has been the collection of transaction data. By looking at which items tend to be purchased together, companies can determine their more popular products, identify any related seasonality, or compare store-to-store purchases. This field of analysis is called market basket analysis.
Although market basket analysis was initially applied to tangible products, it is now expanding into other domains. Internet use has grown tremendously over the past 20 years and is a growing area for market research. In December 2016, for example, Facebook boasted over 1.86 billion users (Yadav & Rahman, 2017). Marketers have been trying to determine how best to leverage these online platforms, but their ability to make informed decisions about the effectiveness of these activities is still limited (Yadav & Rahman, 2017).