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US Research Bounces Back - Honomichl

June 15 2011

After two years of revenue declines, income from the purchase of marketing, advertising and public opinion research services in the US was up 4.7% from 2009 to 2010, according to industry authority Jack Honomichl's 38th annual report.

Jack HonomichlResearch industry revenues dropped by 2.2% in 2008 and 3.3% in 2009: but in 2010, Honomichl says the sector enjoyed a 'significant turnaround' with an 8.7% increase in full-time employees.

While this did not offset the estimated 11.1% staff cuts made during 2008 and 2009, the report refers to anecdotal evidence which suggests that recruitment has 'continued apace' into 2011.

As usual, findings are based on input from the 50 largest US-based research organizations, which submitted market research-only revenues from operations in the US for the year 2009-2010.

As in previous years, CASRO (the Council of American Survey Research Organizations) provided supplementary data for those of its member firms not included in the Top 50 list, and total revenue for this group was $755m - up 3.3% from 2009.

Adding these figures to Top 50 revenues of $8.5 billion (an increase of 4.9%), the 2010 analysis is based on 199 firms, with revenues of $9.2 billion in the US.

This year's list includes seven new players: ICF International appears because it acquired Macro International (an ORC International unit). Vision Critical comes in at number 27 this year, while Market Force Information now takes 21st place as a result of a three-firm merger.

Meanwhile OTX - which was ranked number 20 last year does not appear on this year's list following its acquisition by Ipsos (currently in 7th place). A further six firms - CMI, Savitz Research, RDA Group, StrategyOne, Bellomy Research and The Link Group - have dropped off this year's list because of revenue declines.

Public Opinion Strategies LLC jumped 14 positions on the list to 35th place, following a 135.9% rise in US research revenues to $27.6m, while multi-screen measurement specialist Rentrak (which remained in the 43rd slot) reported a 45.8% hike in US revenue to $ 21.3m during the period. Morpace rose from 36th to 31st place, reporting a 46.4% increase in US revenue to $32.5m.

Two major companies do not release details on subsidiaries and their revenues have been estimated: Kantar (which retained second place) and J.D. Power and Associates (which fell to the 12th slot from the 10th last year because of a 10.4% drop in US research revenue).

2010 2009 Organization US research revenue
($ millions)
% change
from 2009
Non US research revenue
($ millions)
No. of
full time
1 1 Nielsen 2,407.0 4.5 2,551.0 9,566
2 2 Kantar 914.7 7.5 2,268.9 4,135
3 3 IMS Health 801.0 *NC 1,410.5 1,560
4 5 SymphonyIRI 457.0 2.4 240.0 1,198
5 4 Westat Inc. 455.3 -9.4 / 1,964
6 6 Arbitron 390.4 2.8 5.0 951
7 7 Ipsos 379.6 9.0 1,133.2 1,246
8 8 GfK 290.9 0.6 1,471.1 877
9 9 Synovate 235.8 9.9 649.0 762
10 11 The NPD Group 173.7 4.8 66.4 815

*IMS Health was taken private in 2010, so its revenue total is estimated

The Honomichl Top 50 is compiled by Jack Honomichl and his associate Larry Gold, and published by the American Marketing Association magazine, Marketing News.
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