Contrary to market research from its earlier days — when data was scarce and expensive — information nowadays has never been easier to collect. That led to shifting focus from “how to collect data and information” to “how to analyze data more efficiently.”
Market research trends are continuously evolving and adapting due to customer behavioral and global changes. That’s been especially notable in these times of uncertainty where the need for efficient, time-saving, and smarter research techniques is expanding.
By observing the current state of the global market, we made a list of market research trends we believe will stay and rise in the following year.
Mobile ethnography is a qualitative research technique that observes respondents in their natural environment, rather than in a lab. The main goal of this market research technique is to explain different patterns of behavior, beliefs, and values that are common among a group of people.
Having in mind that almost half of the world’s population owns a smartphone, it’s no wonder that this technique has definitely grown over the last few decades and thus made it more accessible to conduct.
Due to the current pandemic and social distancing limitations, many companies shifted to remote work, which opened more possibilities for digital solutions like this. According to the GRIT report, ethnography has noted a significant increase in interest among insight professionals, compared to previous years.
Since the interaction is on a real-time basis, it is easy to adjust research goals and receive immediate insight. It’s an easy, money, and time-saving market research trend that will definitely stay for the next few years.
Automation is another market research trend that can help you do more with a limited budget, in a smaller time frame. Studies show that automation made market research more accessible by allowing teams to do 25% more work with 25% less staff and infrastructure. Considering the amount of data market researchers have to deal with, shifting to automation is inevitable if they want to keep up with the rapid changes in the market.
A continuous search for faster, cheaper, and easier solutions, helped the rise of the DIY market research trend. It is now easier than ever to select samples, type of reporting, and analyze the results all from one source. In-house research is getting more popular not only due to the automation benefits but also due to the current global crisis which reduced many marketing budgets. A study showed that 70% of market research professionals said they are likely to transition to more DIY tools in the following year.
AI (Artificial Intelligence)
Even though AI (Artificial Intelligence) is still a growing topic in market research, due to the new global situation, some professionals shifted their focus to making newer and faster research. However, two AI branches continued to spark interest among industry experts — Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Text analytics.
Natural Language Processing is a technology that allows machines to understand and interpret human language. NLP already makes our lives easier with speech recognition (e.g. Siri), machine translation (e.g. Google Translate), spell checking (e.g. Grammarly), and many more.
Without a doubt, it is expected to see in the following years smarter virtual assistants that can make proper conversations with humans, along with faster chatbots as the understanding of the human language will evolve. With a help of pattern recognition and advanced interpretation, machine learning will be able to perform the role of a data scientist.
AI will mostly help with data cleaning and statistical analysis in the future, but also with finding more insights from the open-ended responses — just like the researcher would do.
The pandemic outbreak has impacted the economy in a way that no one could expect. Just like in every global crisis, some companies find the situation devastating for their business, while others turn it into an opportunity. To find themselves in the latter position, companies are more and more leaning towards an agile approach.
Agile market research is not a new term, but it remains one of the top topics among market researchers. It is a method based on using the data known at the time of decision making which makes it more flexible compared to traditional research.
The focus is not on the flawless results from the first round, as the projects are viewed as continuously improving work. They are separated into smaller steps where each decision implies the next step of the process. Therefore, products and services are constantly being evaluated until the outcome, which results in providing the results faster.
Faster time to market, error reduction, and cost reduction are only a few of the benefits the agile approach can bring to the table. However, as many market researchers emphasize, it’s important not to focus too much on the speed at the expense of quality as the core of this approach should be its flexibility. Above all, there is no doubt that this market research trend will only continue to innovate on the path of becoming even more efficient.
The global pandemic made an impact not only on market research but on all industries in general. This caused market researchers to temporarily think less about long-term strategies and more about quick solutions to pressing questions until they regain stability. Insight professionals started thinking more about newer and faster solutions to adapt quickly.
Interestingly, there was noted a slight decrease in interest among some market research trends, such as AI (in general) and Automation, while Ethnography and NLP seem to be more popular. Even so, we have listed all market research trends, despite the temporary neglect of some, as we are yet to witness what these trends will bring to the market research industry.