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MR Industry Growth at Highest Level Since 2010

September 22 2017

Last year saw the MR industry experience its highest level of growth since 2010, according to the latest study by international association ESOMAR.

ESOMAR publishes its Global Market Research report 2016The annual Global Market Research report (GMR) measures the turnover of the industry at national, regional and global levels, and this year's report includes turnover generated from the data analytics sector for the years 2015 and 2016, where available. In 2016, global traditional MR turnover increased 2.3% to $44.5bn; and when combined with the 'new' research methodologies hit $71.5bn. During the year, 18% of the global research industry's turnover was earned from international clients, up from 15% the previous year. Two of the fastest growing areas have been social media monitoring and online analytics, with spend up 5% and 8% respectively.


By Region

Africa was the world's fastest growing region, posting a net growth rate of 22.7% from the previous year. Asia-Pacific experienced net growth of 7.8% after accounting for inflation; and Latin America (excluding Venezuela), moved from a net decline of -7.8% in 2015, to growth of 1.6%.

However, the largest markets saw some decline in growth: in the North American continent (which accounts for 44% of the global market), growth was just under 1%, down from 3.1% the previous year; and in Europe, net growth was down from 2.8% to 1.6%.

The five largest markets were:

Market Turnover (US $ m)
% of Global Market
USA 19,487 44
UK 6,642 15
Germany 2,767 6
France 2,334 5
Japan 1,891 4



Top 10 Companies

According to the report, the top 10 companies continued to represent 47% of the total market in 2016. Total revenue for the top 50 companies was $10,552.7m, with a real growth rate (after an adjustment for inflation) of 4.6%.

Ranking Company
Turnover (US $ m)
1 The Nielsen Company 6,309
2 QuintilesIMS 3,301
3 Kantar 3,255
4 Gartner Inc. 2,445
5 Ipsos SA 1,783
6 GfK 1,500
7 IRI 1,027
8 Westat 512
9 dunnhumby 429
10 INTAGE 417


Spending by Client Segment

In the US, the largest client segment of research was media and entertainment (25%), followed by pharmaceuticals (21%) and consumer non-durables (13%). In the UK, the largest was consumer non-durables (30%), followed by government and non-profit (14%) and telecommunications and ICT (10%).

Globally, the largest client segment of research overall continued to be consumer non-durables at 20% of the total research spending; slightly down from the 23% of 2015. The share for media and entertainment went up - to 17% from the previous year's 15%; as did research on pharma, up from 13% in 2015 to 14% in 2016; and government and non-profit, also with a 1-point share gain.


The Future

Two-thirds of the countries contributing to this year's report said they believe that growth will continue. One key prediction is that the increasing role now played by legislation - such as the European GDPR and Do Not Call Lists in the US and UK, will have an impact on how research is conducted in the future.


Web site: www.esomar.org .
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