Global Pricing Trends in Market Research

At the ESOMAR Congress in New Orleans today, Ray Poynter shared the results of the most recent wave of ESOMAR research on the size of the global market research industry. One area he discussed in detail was pricing.

“When I teach market research classes, I always say, ‘If you find something really interesting in the data, it is probably an error!’” He then counsels, “Double-check it first!” When Ray saw the initial data and it showed that prices were falling globally, he and ESOMAR double-checked the data. In fact, prices are falling for many different types of research globally and in key markets. (See the report for exact details.)

Now, since the overall market is reported in dollars, Ray wondered if some of the changes were due to currency fluctuations. He looked at the top three markets in their native currencies and still saw declines.

United States United Kingdom Germany
B2B online surveys -4% -3% N/A
Consumer online surveys -47% -27% -23%
Consumer online tracking surveys -33% -2% +18%
Focus groups +15% -20% 4%

There are some exceptions to the general trend of price declines:

  • CATI (Computer-Assisted Telephone Interviewing) surveys are holding their price better than online surveys.
  • Online focus groups are holding their price better than face-to-face focus groups.
  • Solutions to complex problems hold their price.
  • Some countries show increases to their prices.

“Research is getting cheaper,” Ray said. “The big message from buyers – ‘if you are giving me the same stuff, I want to pay less; if you want me to pay the same amount, you have to give me more.’”

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