Esomar: Global Market Research Report


The (traditionally defined) market research community enjoyed another year of growth in net (2.2%) and absolute (3.5%) terms in 2015 according to the Global Market Research report (ESOMAR, 2016). This year’s report takes into account revenues generated by the data analytics sector, adding an estimated 4.6 bn USD to the global turnover, bringing it to a total of 44.3 bn USD in 2015.

Having said this, due to the renewed strength of the US dollar in 2015, exchanging numerous markets’ turnovers into the dollar at first glance appears to contradict many reported growth rates around the globe. For instance, the reported 2014 global turnover sits at 46.2 bn USD and yet when examining the 2015 turnovers in their local currencies, the reported growth of 3.5% becomes all the more apparent due to fluctuating exchange rates.

Additionally, data from ESOMAR’s collaboration with Outsell Inc. illustrates that the insights industry as a whole could be as large as almost 68 bn USD, if expanded to include emerging sectors.


North America remains the largest region in 2015, and becomes the fastest growing region too! Similarly, the US maintains its top position as the largest single market in the world, showing a growth of 3% following inflation.

Europe, as well as its three major markets, the UK, Germany and France, demonstrated modest but important growth in 2015. Bulgaria became the region’s fastest growing single market with an enormous 46.4% following inflation.

Previously the fastest growing market in 2014, the Middle East’s growth slowed to 1.7% in 2015. Meanwhile, Africa slid into decline of 0.5% in 2015, despite a growth of 16.4% following inflation in Kenya.

China maintained its position as the largest market in the Asia Pacific region and the fifth largest market globally, with a growth of 2.5% following inflation. Myanmar also became the fastest growing market in the region in 2015.

In terms of spend on research, online quantitative methods and automated digital/electronic continue to play an important role. Group discussions/focus groups generated the biggest qualitative method spends. Meanwhile, clients from the food, beverages and confectionary sectors spent the most on commissioning research.

68% of countries expect further growth in 2016, compared to just 12% who predict declines.

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