Global market research grows… but only just

ESOMAR, the world organization for enabling better research into markets, consumers and societies, confirmed this week a slowdown in market research revenues worldwide.  Although global market research revenues grew by 4.5% in 2008 to reach US$32 billion, this only equates to a net 0.4% increase when inflation is taken into account.  According to the latest ESOMAR Global Market Research Report, market research revenues in 10 of the top 25 market research markets showed a decline after inflation.

While the growth rate has undoubted been affected over the past year because of the economic downturn, according to ESOMAR President Gunilla Broadbent, “the sustained growth in some emerging markets, particularly Latin America, is encouraging.”

North America, which is responsible for almost one third of all global marketing research revenue, was affected by the downturn with both the USA and Canada posting small declines (of negative 2.1 and 2.2% respectively) after adjustment for inflation.

While Europe as a whole showed little growth (slowing to 4.7%, or 0.9% after inflation), both the UK and German market research industries bucked the trend by each posting 2.5% net growth.

The strongest performing region was Latin America where market research revenues grew by 5.6% after inflation (13.4% actual).  Market research in Argentina, Peru and Panama was particularly strong.

Asia-Pacific, which has boasted strong growth in recent years, slowed a little.  However, with 6.3% year-to-year growth (2.1% after inflation), Asia-Pacific still fared better than most other regions.

The annual ESOMAR Global Market Research Report also revealed some interesting statistics about the market research industry in general.  In terms of research methodologies, quantitative research methods account for 80% of global research spend.  Qualitative research methods account for a further 14%, with desk and secondary research taking the remaining 6%.  Online research and online traffic/audience measurement now account for at least 10% of overall research spend in 22 countries (74 countries are covered by ESOMAR’s report), increasing from 18 countries in 2007.

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