Investment into market research has rapidly declined since Covid hit, but are marketers missing out?
According to data from the IPA, market research has been suffering from a long-term decline in investment over the past 5 years, with that decline accelerating over the past 18 months.
Marketers have been consistently deciding to decrease their market research spend since the second quarter of 2015, when a net balance of just 0.6% said they would increase investment.
We’re having to work far harder to understand this rapidly shifting consumer marketplace, but I definitely do not believe that face-to-face research is dead. There are many instances where that will continue to be a critical part of the toolkit.
But although planned investment has been on a downward curve, the trend has significantly worsened since the second quarter of 2019, when an at the time record net balance of 16.9% of marketers said they planned to reduce spend. In the first quarter of 2020, a net balance of 21% of marketers said they planned to cut spend, plummeting to 42.2% in the second quarter.
Although investment has rebounded slightly, this is likely to be a long-term situation as many within the industry use online technology as a framework for future research, especially since face-to-face interactions have become so difficult due to Covid. But is this sudden shift to digital as straightforward as it seems?
Vice-president of insight and analytics at PepsiCo, Tim Warner, readily believes a total shift to digital would mean losing out on that crucial human touch.
“My personal view is that this isn’t a time to slow down, it’s a time to speed up,” Warner explains. “We’re having to work far harder to understand this rapidly shifting consumer marketplace, but I definitely do not believe that face-to-face research is dead. There are many instances where that will continue to be a critical part of the toolkit.”
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