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The Insight Generator: Market Research Industry

Ricardo Pitton

March, 14, 2024

15 min. reading

The Market Research industry is crucial in informing decision-making across sectors by offering insights into consumer behavior, market trends, and innovation opportunities. This dynamic field comprises Market Research Companies, Tech-Driven Analysis Firms, and Platforms for User-Engaged Market Research Tasks, each providing unique perspectives and methodologies.

The U.S. market research industry was valued at $23.7 billion in February 2021, showcasing its significant contribution to the global market research landscape. The online survey software market, valued at US$8.077 billion in 2021, is poised for significant growth. 

What are the opportunities that this industry offers for both companies and digital workers? How to join this trend from anywhere in the world. 

In this article, we will delve into the intricacies of the industry and present some of the most compelling insights. Market research plays a pivotal role in shaping informed decision-making across diverse sectors by offering invaluable insights into consumer behavior, market trends, and opportunities for innovation.

The Rapid Expansion of the Market Research Industry

This significant growth highlights the rising need for dynamic and efficient tools specifically designed for the collection of insightful information, which is crucial for informed decision-making across diverse industries such as retail, healthcare, automotive, and others.

Online survey software serves as a tool for businesses seeking to understand consumer sentiments, brand perception, and product preferences in a rapidly evolving market landscape. The internet penetration worldwide has significantly facilitated the adoption of online marketing strategies, with online surveys becoming an integral component. These digital platforms enable firms to tap into a vast pool of potential respondents, ensuring a diverse and comprehensive understanding of market demands and consumer preferences.

The rise of social media users further amplifies the potential for online surveys, offering companies innovative avenues to engage with both existing and niche customer segments. Market development initiatives, such as product launches, are poised to benefit immensely from the insights gathered through online survey tools, propelling market growth.

North America’s Dominance in Online Survey Software: Trends and Implications

North America emerged as a leading market for online survey software, attributed to the region’s early technology adoption and state-of-the-art infrastructure. The high awareness and presence of major market players bolster the demand for online survey software, driven by substantial internet penetration and the cost-effectiveness of conducting web surveys.

The retail sector, in particular, is poised for significant growth within the online survey market, driven by the incessant demand for consumer data to inform stocking decisions, product preferences, and overall market strategies.

The e-commerce sector further underscores the critical role of online survey software in capturing and analyzing consumer behavior, with e-commerce sales in the U.S. reaching $222.5 billion in the second quarter of 2021 alone.

Mapping the Global Landscape: Market Research Community Insights

The market research community is globally distributed, with significant activity and growth observed in various regions around the world. The United States, in particular, has been identified as a booming market for market research services, with a projected increase in demand across various industries, including retail, healthcare, automotive, and more.

In addition to the United States, other regions with significant market research activity include Europe and the Asia-Pacific region. The Asia-Pacific region, in particular, is expected to see stable growth, with a slight increase in market research demand by 2025. Latin America is also expected to experience notable growth, particularly in middle-income countries, as digital transformation accelerates.

The Market Research Online Community (MROC) technique has gained popularity for gathering real-time qualitative market research insights. This approach involves creating a closed group of community members who participate in structured discussions around a given topic. MROCs and similar platforms enable market research firms to collect valuable insights from a wide range of participants, contributing to the industry’s growth and innovation.

Overall, the market research industry is thriving, with the United States leading in market share and other regions like Asia-Pacific and Latin America experiencing growth. The industry’s expansion is fueled by the need for businesses to make informed decisions based on comprehensive market insights, driving demand for market research services worldwide

Global Trends and Leading Countries in the Online Surveys Industry

The market research industry’s growth is intrinsically linked to the online survey market, as these surveys represent a key method through which internet users can generate additional income. As the demand for comprehensive market insights escalates, the online survey sector is experiencing a parallel surge, projected to reach $9.2 billion by 2030. This growth is fueled by the industry’s need for agile and diverse data collection methods, with online surveys serving as a convenient and scalable way to gather information from a broad user base. 

This symbiotic relationship underscores the significance of online surveys as both a cornerstone of market research methodologies and a viable avenue for users to engage in the digital economy.

The countries with the highest number of users participating in online surveys are typically those with the largest internet user populations and the most developed market research industries. Here’s a summary of the top countries by users and volume in the online surveys industry:

Top Countries by Online Survey Users:

  1. United States: With one of the highest internet penetration rates and a strong culture of market research, the U.S. has a significant number of users participating in online surveys. The average response rate for web-based surveys in the U.S. is 46%, indicating active participation. United Kingdom: The UK also has a high response rate for online surveys at 36%, reflecting a robust market research sector and a large number of users engaged in online surveys. 
  2. Netherlands: With a response rate of 33% for web-based surveys, the Netherlands is another country with a high level of user participation in online surveys. 

Top Countries by Online Survey Volume:

  1. North America: The region, particularly the United States, is the largest market for online survey services, contributing significantly to global market growth (Rational Stat)
  2. Asia-Pacific: Almost 55% of Internet users live in the Asia Pacific region, which is the fastest-growing region and represents a substantial opportunity for online survey market growth (AI Multiple)
  3. China: As the country with the largest number of internet users, China has a vast potential user base for online surveys. However, the market dynamics may differ due to local regulations and internet usage patterns.
  4. India: With a rapidly growing number of internet users, India is another key country contributing to the volume of online surveys, driven by its large population and increasing digital penetration.

The online survey software market is expected to reach $9.2 billion by 2030, with North America estimated to contribute 30% of the global market growth between 2023 and 2030. This growth is indicative of the increasing demand for efficient and flexible means of data collection through online surveys across various industries.

It’s important to note that while these countries have high volumes of online survey users, participation rates can vary widely based on factors such as internet access, cultural attitudes towards surveys, and the prevalence of market research practices within each country.

Regional Growth Projections to 2028:

  • North America: The U.S. market research industry has undergone strong growth, supported by an increase in research and development (R&D) and internet advertising expenditure. The industry for business intelligence, market research, and opinion polling is expected to reach $24.96 billion by 2029
  • Europe: The market research industry in Europe is expected to experience a deceleration in growth, with projections indicating a slowdown in the growth rate for advanced economies in the region.
  • Asia-Pacific: This region is anticipated to see stable growth, with a slight increase in market research demand by 2025, although variations may occur from one country to another. 

Latin America: The growth of the market research industry in Latin America is expected to be notable, particularly in middle-income countries, as the adoption of cloud-based technologies and digital transformation accelerates. 

Understanding the different types of Market Research

The work done by market researchers can be categorized based on the type of market research being conducted: qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods research. Each type involves specific methodologies and tasks.

Qualitative Research

Qualitative research aims to understand the underlying reasons, opinions, and motivations behind consumer behavior. It provides insights into the problem or helps to develop ideas or hypotheses for potential quantitative research.

Key Tasks and Methodologies:

  • Focus Groups: Moderators lead discussions with a small group of participants to explore their perceptions, opinions, beliefs, and attitudes towards a product, service, or concept. The moderator’s role is crucial in guiding the conversation and ensuring all voices are heard.
  • In-depth Interviews: One-on-one interviews are conducted to delve deeply into a participant’s personal experiences, opinions, or ideas. Researchers prepare open-ended questions to facilitate a detailed exploration of the subject matter.
  • Observational Research: Researchers observe the behavior of participants in a natural or controlled setting without interference. Observations can be conducted in-person or via video recordings, focusing on how consumers interact with products or services.
  • Ethnographic Studies: This involves immersing in the participants’ environment to understand the cultural, social, and operational factors influencing their behavior. Researchers might spend extended periods in the field gathering data.

Quantitative Research

Quantitative research involves the statistical, mathematical, or numerical analysis of data collected through polls, questionnaires, and surveys, or by manipulating pre-existing statistical data using computational techniques.

Key Tasks and Methodologies:

  • Survey Research: Designing, distributing, and analyzing surveys that contain structured questions. Surveys can be conducted online, over the phone, or in person. The analysis involves statistical methods to identify patterns, correlations, and insights.
  • Experimental Research: Conducting experiments to test hypotheses under controlled conditions. This involves manipulating one or more variables (independent variables) and observing the effect on other variables (dependent variables). Statistical analysis is used to interpret the results.
  • Statistical Analysis: Using statistical software and methods to analyze data sets. This includes descriptive statistics, inferential statistics, regression analysis, and multivariate analysis. The goal is to identify trends, correlations, and causations in the data.

Mixed Methods Research

Mixed methods research combines qualitative and quantitative research techniques, methods, and approaches to provide a more comprehensive understanding of the research problem.

Key Tasks and Methodologies:

  • Sequential Explanatory Strategy: Starting with quantitative data collection and analysis, followed by qualitative research to explore certain findings in more depth.
  • Sequential Exploratory Strategy: Beginning with qualitative research to explore a phenomenon, followed by quantitative research to measure the qualitative insights on a larger scale.
  • Concurrent Triangulation: Conducting qualitative and quantitative research simultaneously to cross-validate findings and provide a more complete picture of the research problem.

Interactions and Competition Among Market Research Companies

The market research industry is characterized by a diverse range of companies, each specializing in different aspects of market research, from traditional data gathering and analysis to tech-driven analysis and user-engaged platforms. This diversity leads to a complex web of interactions and competition among firms.

Types of Research Companies

Traditional Market Research Companies

Kantar, Nielsen, and Ipsos are examples of leading market research companies that have established themselves as authorities in data gathering, analysis, and interpretation on a global scale. These companies have a long history in the industry and are known for their comprehensive research services, including consumer insights, media measurement, and market intelligence. They serve a wide range of industries and have a global presence, which allows them to conduct large-scale studies and provide insights that inform strategic business decisions.

Company Name Brief Description Country Location Clients Intermediary
Kantar Global data, insights, and consulting company. United Kingdom -Unilever

-PepsiCo

-Amazon

Toluna (Kantar Marketplace)
Nielsen Provides market research, insights & data about what people watch, listen to & buy. United States -Coca-Cola

-Sony, Procter & Gamble

SurveyMonkey
GfK Data and analytics provider for the consumer goods industry. Germany -Samsung

-BMW

-Vodafone

Ipsos
Ipsos Global market research and a consulting firm with worldwide reach. France Microsoft

Audi

McDonalds’s

Dynata, Ipsos Say
Frost & Sullivan Provides market research and analysis, growth strategy consulting, and corporate training. United States Huawei 

General Electric

Siemens

Qualtrics

Tech-Driven Analysis Firms

Tech-Driven Analysis Firms like InBrain AI and ayeT-Studios utilize survey/offer walls as innovative tools to connect users with market research opportunities, enabling them to access and complete surveys in exchange for rewards. These platforms serve as intermediaries between companies seeking consumer insights and internet users looking to earn extra income. By integrating survey/offer walls into their services, InBrain AI and ayeT-Studios offer a variety of tasks, including app installations, game testing, and survey completions, which users can select based on their preferences and availability.

The process is straightforward: users opt-in to launch the offer wall, where they can choose from a diverse array of offer types. The user interface is designed to be intuitive, allowing participants to easily navigate through available offers and select those that match their interests. Upon completing the required actions, such as installing an app or filling out a survey, users are credited with rewards, which can vary from virtual currency to direct financial compensation35. This system not only benefits users by providing them with flexible earning opportunities but also enables companies to gather valuable data and insights from a wide and engaged audience.

Platforms for User-Engaged Market Research Tasks

Platforms like Surveoo and Timebucks democratize the data collection process by enabling individuals to participate in market research activities. Timebucks, for instance, offers a variety of tasks, including surveys and watching videos, for users to earn money. This approach broadens the scope and applicability of gathered data by tapping into a wide and diverse participant base. Such platforms introduce a new dimension to the market research industry by leveraging the crowd’s power for data collection, which can complement or compete with traditional data collection methods.

 

Platform Name Short Description Payout Methods
Surveoo A new survey site with specific panels for many countries. Offers payment via bank transfer, PayPal, or gift cards. PayPal, Bank Transfer, Gift Cards
Timebucks A GPT site offering a variety of earning methods including surveys, social media tasks, and more. Bitcoin, Skrill, AirTM, Payeer, Bank Transfer, Neteller
ySense Offers worldwide surveys and tasks with payment options. PayPal, Skrill, Payoneer, Gift Cards, Airtm
Suveytime Offers paid surveys in all countries with a flat rate of $1 per survey. PayPal
Honeygain Allows earning by sharing unused internet bandwidth. PayPal, JMPT
Triaba A simple survey site with panels in around 90 countries. PayPal, Gift Cards
Superpay.me Provides various earning options worldwide with a low payout threshold. PayPal, Bitcoin, Skrill, Amazon Gift Cards
Surveyeah Offers paid surveys for nearly any country. PayPal, Gift Cards, Western Union
Rewards1 Offers multiple ways to earn worldwide, with a flexible selection of rewards. PayPal, Gift Cards, Custom Rewards
FeaturePoints A GPT and survey site/app with various earning methods. PayPal, Bitcoin, Gift Cards
Swagbucks A well-known GPT site with varied earning opportunities and rewards. PayPal, Gift Cards, Airtm
InstaGC Offers earning options like surveys, micro-tasks, and more, with a very low payout threshold. PayPal, Gift Cards, Bitcoin
PriceRebel A favorite survey and GPT site with a low payout threshold. PayPal, Gift Cards
Earnably Allows earning by taking surveys, offers, and watching videos, with a low payout threshold. PayPal, Gift Cards
RewardXP Focuses on earning through gaming, surveys, and offers. PayPal, Bitcoin, Gift Cards
WowApp Offers a variety of earning methods including surveys, games, and shopping cashback. PayPal, Bank Transfer, Mobile Credit, Charity Donations
Cinchbucks A survey, and GPT site where you can earn through surveys, offers, and videos. PayPal, Bitcoin, Gift Card

Competition and Collaboration

The competition among these different types of market research companies primarily revolves around the methodologies, technologies, and insights they offer. Traditional firms compete based on their established reputation, comprehensive services, and global reach. In contrast, tech-driven firms and user-engaged platforms compete by offering innovative solutions, faster insights, and potentially lower costs due to technological efficiencies.However, there’s also potential for collaboration among these entities. Traditional market research firms may partner with tech-driven companies to enhance their analytical capabilities or with user-engaged platforms to diversify their data collection methods. Such collaborations can lead to more comprehensive market research offerings that combine the strengths of traditional research methodologies with innovative technologies and participatory data collection.

Business Model of The Market Research Industry

The market research industry provides actionable insights to clients by gathering and analyzing consumer data. These insights help companies tailor their products, services, and marketing strategies to specific consumer segments and make strategic decisions effectively.

Integrated Market Research Ecosystem: From Client Inquiry to User-Engaged Data Collection

In market research, when a client approaches a firm like Kantar for analysis, it involves several steps:

  1. Client Request: The client requests research on consumer behavior, brand performance, or new product concepts.
  2. Research Design: Kantar designs the methodology, considering research type, sample size, target audience, and questionnaire.
  3. Collaboration: Kantar may collaborate with tech-driven firms like InBrain AI for advanced insights.
  4. Data Collection: Methods like online surveys or focus groups are used, sometimes with platforms like Freecash.
  5. Analysis: Data is analyzed using statistical tools, sometimes with input from tech-driven firms.
  6. Reporting: Findings are presented to the client, aiding strategic decisions.

This involves traditional firms, tech-driven companies, and user-engaged platforms, enriching market understanding.

However, large corporations are increasingly adopting strategies to internalize their market research efforts to reduce costs and increase efficiency. A notable example is the global consumer goods corporation P&G, which has reduced its agency relationships by 60% over the past seven years, achieving significant savings of $750 million. 

Reports, such as one from SurveyMonkey, indicate that more than half of market researchers anticipate a decrease in the use of full-service research vendors, with 70% leaning towards a transition to do-it-yourself (DIY) tools in the coming year.

As traditional research methods become less common, Tech-Driven Analysis Firms and Platforms for User-Engaged Market Research Tasks gain momentum, offering innovative solutions that cater to the evolving needs of market research. These platforms enable brands to directly engage with their audiences, yielding more immediate and relevant insights.

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