As budgets get cut, market research nose-dives during COVID

by | Oct 19, 2020 | Public Relations

Just as with business interests across the board, COVID-19 has had a dramatic effect on market research activity worldwide, both in terms of extent and how data is being collected, according to a new study released by Dooblo, a provider of survey software for the research industry.

The firm’s new study, The Global COVID-19 Effect on Market Research Data Collection, reported that more than four-fifths of respondents indicated that market research activity has decreased, primarily because of reduced marketing budgets. Moreover, shutdowns, social distancing and wearing masks have clearly impacted data collection, as 76 percent of respondents reported making changes to data collection methods. This includes more than half that increased either web-based (CAWI) or phone-based (CATI) methods.

“As state and business leaders around the world are forced to make tough, life-changing decisions with increased uncertainty, the need for clear, accurate and unbiased data has become even more critical. The research industry became a key player in fighting COVID-19, and so we created the survey to better understand how the pandemic has affected our community”, said Guy Solomon, CEO of Dooblo, in a news release. “Much can be learned from market research firms’ reactions to COVID-19. While we found that activity has clearly dropped because of the pandemic, we also discovered that firms that helped their customers better understand the rapidly changing environment were more successful than others.”

Additional highlights include:

Growth during these times can be achieved

Some respondents reported a rise in activity because of increased demands for new research projects as a result of the pandemic and recurring projects that require more frequent data.

Levels of activity vary by both location and industry

In North America, 34 percent of respondents reported that their activity remained the same or increased, compared to Africa, where that number was only 13 percent. Similarly, the rate of decreased activity varied by industries, with the highest rate (96 percent) among companies that perform market research in the retail industry.

Respondents are optimistic about the future

Three-quarters of respondents predicted that after COVID-19, their market research activity would either remain at the same level or increase, and 34 percent believed that they would return to normal activity between four to eight months.

“This is the time for leaders to step up and let their entrepreneurial and creative spirit shine and find new ways to provide value to their customers during COVID-19. If there’s one important takeaway from this survey, it’s that flexibility is key.”

Download the full report here.

The survey gathered insights from 1,657 market research professionals in 138 different countries. Respondents worked in organizations that conducted anywhere from several hundred to tens of millions of surveys annually. The companies were primarily commercial market research firms, but also included government agencies, academia, fieldwork services firms and nonprofits. They served a wide range of industries, including government, automotive, retail, financial services and healthcare.

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Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 12 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richardc@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter

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