Market research is most expensive in the USA, according to a new report from ESOMAR.

The 2003 Research Prices Study found that America and second-placed Japan were over 30% more pricey than the UK, France or Germany.

ESOMAR surveyed 407 research companies, requesting quotes for six types of project: a national usage and attitude survey; a tracking study on washing powders; a computer-assisted advertising pre-test; four group discussions; a customer satisfaction survey using the web; and a business-to-business telephone survey.

The results were then indexed and 29 countries ranked. The ten most expensive (with index scores in brackets) were:

1. USA (242)
2. Japan (230)
3. Sweden (180)
4. UK (170)
5. Australia (166)
6. France (158)
7. South Africa (157)
8. Germany (152)
9. Belgium (138)
10. Netherlands (137)

Bringing up the rear were Bulgaria (29) and India (37). The study also collected data on how much each firm would charge for work by staff with different levels of experience.

ESOMAR added that even in mature research markets such as the US and Germany, prices could vary dramatically between agencies depending on how frequently they tended to conduct the requested project. Said the organisation: “This further emphasises the need for research buyers to make sure that any supplier they plan to use for a particular type of research is experienced in carrying out projects of that type.”

Data sourced from: ESOMAR; additional content by WARC staff