Turning the super tanker – the migration from a postal to online methodology

Mark Van Walwyk and Catherine Garland
GfK Research Panels, United Kingdom


The Home Audit panel was originally set up in 1963 to track household purchases of non-FMCG goods via postal questionnaires. Recently rebranded ConsumerScope, the panel now monitors over 50 different product areas, ranging from consumer electronics and telecoms to bicycles and health, and thus must be both reliable and flexible. There are now over 20,000 household panellists actively taking part on a regular basis.

Over the 40 years of the panel, data collection and processing systems were developed to process the large amounts of information it generated. The predominant data collection method was postal and systems were based around the logistics of posting questionnaires out to the panellists and managing the processing of the returned questionnaires. Whilst these systems were efficient they were relatively slow at producing information in a format for clients to action. We needed to find a way to get the information to the clients more quickly.