The planet’s leading twenty-five research firms are “hardly growing”, according to the 2003 Honomichl Global 25 report, compiled by research doyen Jack Honomichl.

The report, published recently in the American Marketing Association’s Marketing News, shows these research leaders marking time in 2002, with growth declining year-on-year from 6.3% in 2000 to 4.1% in 2001 and a meager 0.7% in 2002.

This stagnation is attributed to the war on Iraq, SARS and “other short term depressors”; while Honomichl's data, which covers the market, media and public opinion research sectors, allows for acquisitions and inflation.

Heading the list for the second year running is Dutch information giant VNU, owner of ACNielsen, Nielsen Media Research among others. The group accounts for 27% of all Top 25 revenues.

The positions of the next three highest-ranking firms – respectively IMS Health (USA), The Kantar Group (UK), and Taylor Nelson Sofres (UK) – are unchanged from last year.

The report predicts that TNS will leap into second position this year following its acquisition of Interpublic’s NFO WorldGroup (ranked number nine in 2002). Between them the top four firms command almost 57% of the Top 25 marketplace

Thirteen of the elite are based stateside, although they account in aggregate for only 35% of Top 25 revenues. This figure has declined steadily in recent years and with the acquisition of NFO by TNS, Honomichl believes it will sink below 29%.

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