The 2014 Asia research Buyer Survey – Indonesia

Asia Research completed its annual survey of market research buyers in Indonesia in April 2014. This is a parallel survey to that undertaken in Singapore to track buying behaviour, agency usage and ratings among corporations who use external vendors for their market research.

Based on a total of 115 interviews conducted by telephone, the survey demonstrates that the Indonesian research industry has become more mature in the last few years, with the number of clients holding “research specific” job titles (e.g. Market Research Manager or Insight Manager) now at 60%.

Research budgets in Indonesia are still increasing, with 45% of clients reporting larger budgets for research compared to 2013 and just 9% reporting a decline. However, this also shows that the rate of increase has slowed somewhat, with over 60% in 2012 and 2013 reporting an increase.

With only 25% of clients in Indonesia receiving sales calls from agencies (compared to about half in Singapore), it can be argued that Indonesia is a relatively undersupplied market, and only about 30 different suppliers were encountered in the survey, compared to 60 in Singapore.

Through their networking activity, however, Indonesian clients are expanding their repertoire of agencies, and an average of 4.3 different suppliers of research are now being used compared to just 2.8 in 2012. The key beneficiaries of this have been local agencies, which are now being used by 84% of clients compared to 68% a year ago. The use of multinational agencies, which has been almost universal, has dropped back slightly to 94%.

Notably, with more client organisations having dedicated research functions, they are internalising research more, with 29% undertaking DIY research. This reflects a trend seen in Singapore, although with more access to panels the take up of DIY research is more dramatic – now common among half of clients in Singapore. However, there has been an increase in the use of online panel companies in Indonesia (about one-in-six clients now engage them directly) and even the emergence of community panels (proprietary consumer panels built from clients’ own customer databases).

Despite more “shopping around” for agencies, clients in Singapore still have many complaints about their agencies. Most of this dissatisfaction relates to the quality of analysis and reporting, but also to some client servicing and fieldwork quality issues.

Evidence suggests that there is still little differentiation between research suppliers in Indonesia, with very few of the current differentiators deemed significant. Compared to Singapore, Indonesia has been a market often ignored by foreign agencies, and the market is well primed to receive new entrants.