The British Market Research Association revealed Friday that MR expenditure in the UK grew 2.6% to an aggregated £1.1 billion ($1.73bn; €1.58bn) during 2002. Overseas expansion at 3.5% was more robust than indigenous growth of 2.3%, returning respective revenues of £292 million and £884m.

But as BMRA chairman Peter Jackling pointed out: “Although this growth level is still slightly higher than inflation, this is the first evidence we have seen that market research growth is starting to slow down, in line with other marketing disciplines.” He compared 2002 growth with that of 2001 when the industry enjoyed a revenue surge of 7.1%.

But, observed Jackling: “Market research has been one of the least affected elements of the marketing mix. Advertising has had a couple of bad years as expenditure has slowed as a result of the economic downturn. We know that advertising spend fell by 3% last year as TV ad revenues dried up, and the public relations industry also suffered a decline of up to 11 per cent.”

As to forward prospects: [These] suggest an ongoing plateau before we can expect to see renewed growth. We expect to benefit from an upturn in turnover perhaps later on this year, or in 2004.’

The estimates are based on returns received from BMRA members, between them accounting for around 65% of the association’s turnover.

Data sourced from: Daily Research News Online; additional content by WARC staff