A MAD day in Oslo!

By Ray Poynter

Global market research is homogenising around online research, but online costs are dropping to levels that may require new models of doing business. This is one of the findings from this year’s ESOMAR Global Prices Study.

The Prices Study – an invaluable resource

Every two years, for the last 25 years, ESOMAR conducts a Global Prices Study, to benchmark the cost of research around the world. This year’s report is based on 636 responses, from 116 countries, representing over one-third of global market research, in terms of value. In this article we highlight some of the key findings from the report.

The falling cost of research

From 2014 to 2016 the cost of research declined in most countries for most modes (i.e. online, CATI, and face-to-face). In 2018, some of those declines have been halted and even reversed – but only for CATI and face-to-face. The price of online research continues to decline in most markets.

In 2010, the global median price of a simple online U&A study (e.g. simple study with no presentation), was (US)$14,000. In 2018 the global median price is just (US)$8,000. This change reflects raw prices, it does not take inflation and currency changes into account.

The Global Prices Study publishes a key markets’ figure, based on USA, UK, Germany, France and Japan (five developed markets that account for about three-quarters of all the research spend globally). In 2010, the key markets median price for this simple online U&A project was $27,000, in 2018 the median price for these five markets is just $9,000. This enormous change has some key implications, including:

  • The price difference between the key markets and the rest of the world for online, simple projects is disappearing. This might make life harder for markets where low wages might have created advantages in the past.
  • In high-wage economies, for example the key markets, these low prices are only viable with high levels of automation and standardisation. If prices fall much further it will imply almost no human input – and a very different business model.

If you’re an ESOMAR member you can read the full article in MyESOMAR in the digital copy of Research World. You can also download the full report here. If you’re not a member of ESOMAR you can join and receive a free copy of Research World 6 times a year or alternatively you can sign up for a subscription of the magazine in our publications store.