Traditionally defined market research is growing at a slower pace than data analytics and insights, according to the annual ESOMAR Global Market Research report.

At just over $47bn in 2018, the traditional sector has grown only slightly from 2017’s figure of $46bn, but while the rate of growth has fallen in the traditionally defined industry, the data analytics and insights counterpart is growing at a faster rate than global GDP, at around 10%, the report said.

With both sides combined the annual global turnover for research and insight in 2018 was $80bn, (compared to $76 bn in 2017).

All regions showed negative growth in the traditionally defined industry, except for Asia Pacific (+3.7%), where growth was largely driven by China (+11.9%).

North America remained stable at +0.1%, while the Middle East dropped at -9.2%, followed by Latin America at -2.7%. Africa, the highest-growing region in 2017, maintained its position in 2018 in absolute terms, but high levels of inflation in some of its markets reduced the positive trend to -1.2% in net terms.

The relative positions of the top five countries remained unchanged, with the US by far the largest single market worth $20.75bn (44% of the global market), followed by the UK on $6.78bn (14%), Germany on $2.79bn (6%), France on $2.47bn (5%) and China on $2.42bn (5%).

Quantitative research methods accounted for 78% of spending in 2018, while qualitative research took 14%.

Just three sectors – consumer non-durables, media and entertainment, and pharmaceuticals – accounted for half of all spending.

Consumer non-durables accounted for 19% while media and entertainment together with pharmaceutical accounted for 16% of market research spending, although the share of spending per client type varies in each region.

“Despite forecasts that the research profession is in decline, this year’s Global Market Research report shows that our industry continued to grow in 2018, albeit a little more slowly,” said Finn Raben, Director General of ESOMAR.

“Promisingly, we see growth both from within the traditionally defined research sector, but also from the newer, expanded definition of our industry – continued evidence that the demand for actionable, evidence-based data and insight remains strong,” he added.

Sourced from ESOMAR