The Market Research Industry in 2017


Happy New Year readers – may it be a good one for you. As we start the New Year it seems appropriate to think ahead as to what we might expect in the market research industry.

Let’s begin with the prospects for the industry itself. In the business to business side of the market research industry, the one in which we are steeped, we expect demand will vary by geography in 2017. Following the Brexit vote, demand stalled for business to business research in the UK. It is unlikely to race ahead in 2017. Elsewhere in the world we are more optimistic. The market for business to business market research in the US was resilient in 2016 and will continue to be strong in 2017. The same can be said for Germany and Northern Europe. Interest in market research in Asian markets is becoming more specialised. The fascination with China has lost some of its glitter but it is still a large market with huge potential. Western companies are digging deeper to find those opportunities.

Moving on to the trends we expect in the type of research that will be carried out in 2017, we know that branding, segmentation and customer experience surveys will remain popular. These studies have a high payback and are a must for any profit-seeking B2B company. Companies that are experienced users of business to business market research will, in addition to these classical studies, commission more specialised projects, striving to optimise prices with conjoint research or carry out new product development studies using ethnography.

The market research industry has always relied on numbers. After all, businesses focus on revenue and profit and a dozen other vital metrics. Businesses run on numbers. Business to business researchers are analysts. They know how to crunch numbers and have learned how to bring together different datasets to give clearer insights. However, decisions are made on emotions and the research industry has become very well tuned to assessing these. Business to business researchers have developed gamification questions, laddering questions, word association questions and the like, all to test our fast and slow thinking and how it affects our decision-making. Expect to see more of this in 2017.

The world in 2016 saw twists and turns that had long odds. This is the future. Expect more change, and expect it from unexpected directions. Use the highly attuned market research industry to give you the best possible fix on outcomes. Welcome 2017, bring it on.

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