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The Market Research Industry’s Journey Towards Expansion

Santiago Coates & Julia Canalini

March, 21, 2024

6 min. reading

The market research industry is experiencing significant growth, closely linked to the expansion of the online survey market, which offers internet users a means to generate additional income. Moreover, there is a substantial demand for data and market insights from companies worldwide.

Valued at US$8.077 billion in 2021, this sector is projected to reach US$32.626 billion by 2028, boasting a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 22.07%. This remarkable growth underscores the increasing necessity for dynamic and efficient tools tailored for the collection of valuable information, essential for informed decision-making across various sectors including retail, healthcare, automotive, and more.

Notably, the surge in the online survey market is paralleled by the trend of working digitally and earning income remotely from any part of the globe. This convergence of trends embodies the rising gig economy and B2B payments. Two significant factors contribute to this synergy: firstly, the freelancer market is expected to expand from USD 1.721 trillion to USD 5.5 trillion by 2030, and secondly, the B2B digital payment market is projected to reach 8.2 billion by 2028 (source: Markets and Markets). 

Both of these emerging trends are driving a growing demand for cross-border transactions, opening up new opportunities for collaboration and global expansion. Businesses are increasingly engaging with users worldwide, while individuals are embracing a bankless lifestyle in diverse countries. However, there remains a significant opportunity in a specific region: the Global South. There is a vast workforce eager to work remotely, a resource that the market research industry has yet to fully tap into.

In this article, we are going to demonstrate how companies in the market research industry are expanding into new markets, analyzing the industry and the opportunities it represents. We will delve into the communities and workforce currently active in the field, shedding light on the rising demand for cross-border transactions and the untapped potential in regions like the global south. We aim to provide clarity on the specific pain points faced by industry stakeholders, we’ll offer a precise analysis of the industry’s landscape and the areas where improvement is needed.

Opportunities for new users in Emerging Markets

Where is the Market Research community globally distributed? 

The market research industry’s expansion is intricately tied to the online survey market, offering internet users a lucrative opportunity to generate additional income. As the demand for comprehensive market insights continues to rise, the online survey sector is witnessing a parallel surge, poised to reach an impressive $9.2 billion by 2030. 

This growth is propelled by the industry’s imperative for agile and diverse data collection methods, with online surveys emerging as a convenient and scalable avenue to gather information from a wide spectrum of users. Top players contributing to this growth in the Market research industry include companies such as Kantar, Nielsen, Ipsos, Toluna and Dynata among others. 

Within the online survey landscape, The United States region stands out as a major contributor to market volume and number of panelists. 

In the Asia-Pacific region, home to nearly 55% of global internet users, there exists a fertile ground for online survey market growth. China, boasting the world’s largest internet user base, presents a vast potential for online surveys, albeit influenced by local regulations and internet usage patterns. Similarly, India, with its rapidly growing number of internet users, plays a pivotal role in driving online survey volume, propelled by its sizable population and increasing digital penetration.

Growth Projections for Market Research in Latin America and Asia-Pacific

Latin America stands on the brink of significant growth within the market research industry and makes up around 5.54% of the market, especially in middle-income countries. 

This growth trajectory is fueled by the rapid adoption of cloud-based technologies and the accelerating pace of digital transformation across the region. 

According to a report by the World Bank, Latin America has encountered various challenges, including rising inflation, global economic uncertainty, and escalating debt. Alarmingly, poverty rates have surged above pre-pandemic levels, reaching 30.3 percent. In light of these economic adversities, users in these areas are increasingly seeking new opportunities globally. They are motivated to generate income in foreign currencies as a means to mitigate the risks posed by economic challenges.

The main drivers of growth in the market research industry in Latin America include economic expansion, the demand for consumer insights, and the need for market intelligence. These factors contribute to the region’s projected faster growth compared to mature markets like North America and Europe. Additionally, market research in Latin America provides unique benefits such as quantifying market opportunities, benchmarking competitively, tailoring marketing approaches, optimizing investments, monitoring regulatory environments, testing concepts, and unlocking innovation opportunities

Meanwhile, the Asia-Pacific region is poised for stable growth, with a slight upsurge in market research demand anticipated by 2025. Nevertheless, the growth trajectories across different countries within the region may vary, influenced by a myriad of factors.

Challenges in both sides

The primary objective revolves around how companies in the market research industry will tap into these new markets. However, accessing these markets poses a significant challenge for companies due to the myriad difficulties users face. These challenges could range from technological barriers to cultural differences. Additionally, players in the Market Research industry often grapple with the lack of suitable payment solutions, hindering their ability to expand effectively.

Companies in the market research industry encounter several challenges with payments. They struggle with constraints like high fees when paying many people, dealing with payments across different countries with different rules and exchange rates, and making sure they follow laws about money. Also, they need to prevent fraud like fake accounts and bots, which makes things even harder. Getting payments to people on time can be tough too, especially when using different payment methods or if there are delays with banks. Balancing the need to save money on transactions while also making sure people get paid fairly can be tricky.

However, for market industry platforms, the primary challenges are experienced by users. These users are the ones who work on these platforms and need to withdraw their earnings in their local currency.

Challenges for Users Affecting Market Research Platforms

Users receiving payments from online survey websites encounter numerous challenges. Firstly, they often face the requirement to reach a minimum earnings threshold before they can cash out, which can be a daunting task and lead to frustration. Additionally, users may encounter limitations in their preferred payment methods, particularly in less developed regions, adding further hurdles to accessing their earnings. Moreover, transaction fees can eat into their earnings, diminishing the amount they ultimately receive, and delays in payment processing can exacerbate the frustration, eroding trust in the survey platform.

Furthermore, users residing in countries other than the survey company may incur additional fees and experience currency exchange rate fluctuations when converting their earnings, resulting in reduced payouts. The necessity to undergo account verification procedures can also prolong the payment process, adding to user inconvenience. Concerns about data privacy may further compound users’ apprehension when providing their payment details to these platforms. 

Yet, there exists a convergence point where addressing users’ challenges not only enhances user experience but also opens doors to new market opportunities for companies. By providing solutions that alleviate user difficulties, companies can simultaneously gain access to untapped markets, fostering growth and expansion.

Addressing the main problems

Addressing the main challenges encountered by companies in the market research industry requires a multifaceted approach focusing on two key pain points: optimizing payment processes and expanding panelist acquisition efforts. 

Firstly, streamlining payment procedures and reducing associated fees can significantly enhance the appeal of participating in market research platforms. By offering a more cost-effective and efficient cash incentive system to panelists, companies can increase user satisfaction and participation rates. Simultaneously, targeted marketing strategies and tailored incentives can be employed to attract a diverse pool of panelists. By investing in the acquisition of panelists through strategic marketing campaigns, market research firms can ensure a steady influx of participants, thereby mitigating the challenges associated with user recruitment and retention.

Furthermore, to broaden their user base and access new markets, companies can explore collaborative ventures with local entities in target countries. By forging partnerships with established firms, market research companies can leverage existing networks and gain credibility within the local market. Collaborations can involve joint marketing initiatives, promotional activities, community collaborations, and incentive programs designed to resonate with the preferences of users in specific regions. Leveraging the expertise and resources of local partners, companies can effectively navigate cultural nuances and regulatory requirements, thereby enhancing their market penetration efforts. Through strategic collaborations and mutually beneficial agreements, market research firms can not only expand their reach and engagement but also foster sustainable growth in new markets.

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