Indonesia’s the Place

It is no longer a secret that Indonesia is the place to be if you’re in market research.

Ranked the 6th largest among developing countries, Indonesia is one of the fastest growing economies in the world at around 6% GDP growth. Mostly shielded by the turmoil of the global financial crisis, Indonesia\’s economic growth is driven by domestic demand and with sixty percent of Indonesians being in the productive age of 15 to 50 years, the country has a lot to look forward to.

Despite the prevailing problems of poverty, corruption, and poor infrastructure, there is significant foreign direct investment into Indonesia and with it demand for market research, thought to be growing by up to 30% per annum.

In parallel to survey of market research buyers in Singapore, Asia Research conducted its most extensive survey of market research buyers in Indonesia during Q2, 2012. With 100 interviews completed with clients mainly in the FMCG, financial services, ICT, and healthcare sector, the frequency of corporations in Indonesia commissioning research has almost doubled from an average of 6 a year, to 11 a year.

This has caused a goldrush with many new research agencies entering Indonesia, or breaking away from the larger agencies already in the market. But buyers of research have become more sophisticated and as the market starts to mature, more rely on personal contacts in the industry to source their agencies with a fall in those finding agencies through Internet searches or referring to directories.

But as a result of the booming industry, it is a suppliers’ market, since only 8% of research buyers have been ‘sold to’ in 2012 (i.e. agencies approaching them as opposed to clients approaching agencies), down from 33% in 2011.

And the prospects are good – 65% of clients expect their market research budgets in the next 12 months to increase compared to only 6% stating decreasing (the remainder unsure or state no change). Note that this compares to 24% of clients in Singapore reporting budget increase versus 19% stating decline.


So what do you have to do to succeed in this market? Like most markets, you certainly need to start with talented people on the ground, experienced in the market. Based on the Asia research survey, what is high in claimed importance from clients but less differentiating between agencies is the quality of data collection, user-friendly reporting, having strong teams, and having good analytical techniques. For people who know the Indonesian market, these are far from ‘hygiene factors’, and suggests that agencies that operate in the market are just as bad as each other in these aspects!

But the ‘Key Drivers’, being both high in stated and derived importance is an agency able to deliver projects cheaper and faster, the researcher having the personal rapport with the client, preferably having already worked clientside, and providing exclusivity to the account.

Hence, the route to the Indonesian market – hire researchers from a range of Indonesian client companies, to work exclusively within those verticals and find some way to conduct these surveys quickly and cheaply – online panels anyone?