The rapid rate of technical development and the continual widening of choice necessitate methods of product development which can be constantly geared to changing market trends. In the previous mechanism of the Hungarian economy, the products of various manufacturing branches reached the consumers through centralised distribution. After the abolition of centralised quotas, however, many manufacturers and consumers failed to recognise in time the practical interconnections between market research and planning. Thus it came about that a product was not manufactured because demand for it was lacking, and demand was lacking because the product could not be obtained. Market research will help to supply reliable data for measuring the profitability of product development.