The Market Research Industry in India – Part I

Ganesha: Market research in India

As Asia’s third-largest economy and with consistent annual growth of around 9-10% expected for the near future, India is undeniably an emerging force on the world business stage.

As both local and international companies look to reap the rewards of this burgeoning market, effective research will become an ever-more crucial tool for organisations looking to expand in India.

In the first of a two-part post, we look in more detail at the challenges of conducting market research in India, as well as the operational and technological developments that can be expected in the industry there in the years to come:

With all the movement and action, Indian research has well and truly arrived on the global scene..

The potential is tremendous and there is a major growth and standardisation wave. India now figures more and more in the global research radar. Well, one billion makes a difference, doesn’t it!

There is a growing client-side demand for research and the trust-level of Indian researchers is increasing. The current business model is of low-cost, high-volume but this is changing with the advent of MRO (Market Research Outsourcing) and KPO (Knowledge Process Outsourcing). The research environment is growing as research needs grow – those new to commissioning research realise that “Some information is better than nothingâ€?. As per the ESOMAR report, India is among the lowest in the world in terms of low prices charged to clients. This of course, is due to change in the next five years.

Internationalisation of Market Research: Rise of the foreign-Indian researcher

The Indian economy is booming, growth is prevalent and this has brought in an “Internationalisation” of research. Is there a truly Indian research company now? With ongoing Mergers and Acquisitions (Nielsen –> Org-Marg; Kantar –> IMRB; TNS –> NFO –> MBL) and the establishment of offshore partner/captive centres, there is a lot of consolidation, which brings in certain advantages.

Virtual captive centres and offshore partnerships drive the low- and high-end of research in India: from coding and data entry, through to Data Analytics and Business Intelligence. This has contributed to the standardisation wave when companies can now work on a common platform with set processes.

There is a definite organisation structure evolving – professionalizing Indian market research. Gone are the days when a researcher was an all-rounder doing everything from thinking, execution, client management and commercials. The focus is on specific divisions for specific research, leading to in-depth knowledge (walk the talk).

This article originally appeared in the Oct/Nov issue of BIG times

If you would like to know more about conducting research in emerging markets such as India or China, please contact our dedicated Asian office – Further details of which can be found at

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