Market Research in 2016: A Look Ahead

By the Editors

Mobile, wearables, real-time data. The predictions for how technology will impact and change the market research industry are ever growing, but what trends will come to fruition in the New Year? Here’s what some of the industry’s most respected thought leaders had to say.

It’s Time for the Year of Mobile

“One year will definitely be ‘The Year of Mobile Research’ but it wasn’t 2015,” said Jeffrey Henning, president of Researchscape. Mobile has remained a hot topic in the market research industry for the last few years, but still many are slow to adopt and embrace the technology, as evidenced by the fact that well over 50 percent of all surveys are not mobile optimized, according to the latest GRIT report. Henning elaborated, saying, “I think mobile research is still a niche that needs active promotion and experimentation if it is to see higher adoption.”

The lack of mobile optimization impacted not only the method of survey taking, but the survey quality as well. It meant that “the majority of surveys were still too long, boring and above all not insightful enough,” according to Managing Partner for InSites Consulting Tom De Ruyck. The need for shorter surveys was a hot topic in the industry during 2015, as evidenced by The Future Place Managing Director Ray Poynter’s Vision Critical blog post declaring, “The long market research survey (anything that takes over 20 minutes to finish) is a dead man walking.”

While some were let down by the slow adoption of mobile, others are hopeful for the New Year. Doug Schorr, chief insight officer and founder of Schorr Creative Solutions, thinks that the mobile buzz and focus will continue in 2016. “Smart phones are everywhere now, giving us researchers access into the lifestyle and habits of our targeted respondents wherever and whenever they happen to be,” he said. “We no longer need to wait for them to tell us what they recall about their experience, we can listen and view in the moment.”

Big Data: What Does It Really Mean for Market Research?

A buzzword for 2015—and the past few years—was “big data,” and Poynter predicts: “Big data will make a comeback in 2016.” The latest GRIT Report backs this prediction up, with the majority of respondents indicating that they are considering incorporating big data analytics. While market research and big data have a contentious relationship, as highlighted in this Greenbook post from March, big data and market research can complement and blend with each other rather than be at odds.

Schorr sees the benefits in blending big data with other research methods. As he puts it, “Big data has been around a long time, but companies and consultants are just now developing new and better analytical tools to be able to access and make sense of it all.”

He adds, “Just because it now makes sense, that doesn’t mean it will kill off all other data input points, like consumer research.”